Everything You Need to Know About Carry Deck Cranes

carry decks crane on construction site

It’s always a good idea to use the right tool for the job. The bigger the job, the more important it is to choose the correct tool. That’s why it’s essential to choose the right crane for your worksite. No two types of cranes are the same, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Learning what makes each machine unique is the first step to choosing the right one for your next project.

Carry deck cranes are a popular style of crane on many job sites. These small, mobile cranes are versatile and neatly handle many situations where larger machines wouldn’t fit. Here’s what you need to know about how these cranes work and when they’re the right choice.

What Is a Carry Deck Crane?

In the world of heavy lifting, there are many options. OSHA defines cranes as “power-operated equipment, when used in construction, that can hoist, lower, and horizontally move a suspended load.” That means that a crane can look like a lot of different things, from a stationary lifting arm to a floating barge with a mounted boom. 

Of the many options, carry deck cranes are some of the smallest lifting machines available. These cranes are wheeled vehicles with a deck, an operator cab, and a central, 360 degree rotating boom. 

There are two defining features of a carry deck crane. First, the fact that they’re wheeled allows them to move around easily. Because they don’t need large clearances or pre-laid tracks, they can drive around job sites like a truck. Compared to other types of cranes, carry deck models are incredibly agile.‌

The other unique aspect of a carry deck crane is its deck, which is the source of its name. A carry deck crane can easily support lifting building materials. More importantly, the deck allows the crane to transport materials around the job site without using another vehicle.

While carry deck cranes don’t have the same capacity as larger models, they’re more versatile. On smaller job sites, a single carry deck crane can replace several other pieces of large equipment. Since they only need one driver, they can also save time and effort.

How Does a Carry Deck Crane Work?

A carry deck crane is more than just a truck with a lifting boom. These machines have specialized components that make them more effective. These parts help the crane both transport and lift the materials you need to use around your job site without getting stuck. Here are the elements that make carry deck cranes stand out.

Self-loading carry decks are a crucial element of a carry deck crane. It’s not enough to just have a place to transport cargo. The crane also needs to be able to put materials on its own deck and remove them elsewhere. Without that feature, it’s not a true carry deck crane.

Fully hydraulic controls make carry deck cranes more precise. Since these cranes are intended for one-person operation, they can’t rely on a second person to guide loads. Hydraulic controls give the operator pinpoint precision in loading and unloading the deck.

Outriggers help keep the crane stable while the boom is in operation. Rubber wheels are excellent for mobility, but they aren’t stable enough when the crane is lifting objects. The outriggers support the machine and let it lift more weight when it’s stationary.

Load capacity for carry deck cranes varies. The lifting capacity for the cranes ranges from 7.5-15 tons, depending on the model. The transport capacity is usually lower, because the weight rests entirely on the wheels. Most cranes can transport between 1-9 tons on their carry decks.

Counterweights are built into carry deck cranes. The engine and counterweights help the crane remain upright while lifting and pivoting. There’s no need to set up the counterweights like there are for other cranes.

The weight of a carry deck crane depends on its size. Since the counterweights are built into the machine, cranes with higher load capacities are heavier. However, carry deck cranes can typically lift more than cranes of similar weights. They typically weigh from 3-30 tons.

What Is a Carry Deck Crane Used For?‌

Carry deck crane rentals are useful in all sorts of situations. They’re a convenient way to transport materials from a delivery point to the right part of the job site. A carry deck crane handles loading, transporting, and unloading on its own, so you don’t need to move things by hand or use multiple pieces of equipment.

These machines are also compact, so they can easily get to locations that couldn’t fit other cranes. If you need to maneuver through a narrow space or drive underneath something, a carry deck crane is useful. 

Since carry deck cranes don’t require work to set up or take down, they’re easier to use. There’s no need to waste time before or after your project. If you’re using a carry deck crane rental, you can drive it onto the site when you need it and return it just as easily. 

In total, carry deck cranes are a great choice for small build sites. They don’t take up too much room and they perform multiple jobs. They are also a great supplement to larger projects, especially if materials need to be moved frequently. You can use a carry deck crane alongside other equipment to keep your project moving. 

The Disadvantages of Carry Deck Cranes‌

Of course, a carry deck crane isn’t always the right tool for every job. Sometimes, you need agility and transport less than you need reach and lifting capacity. Here’s why you might need to choose another option:

Limited capacity: Compared to heavy-duty machines like rough terrain cranes and telescopic cranes, carry deck models have lower lifting capacities. While a carry deck crane can lift up to 30 tons, other cranes can lift much more.

Short booms: A carry deck crane is intended to fit in smaller spaces, so the boom is often relatively short. Many of these cranes have telescopic booms, but they are still shorter than the alternatives. If your project requires significant height, it may be better to look at other crane rentals.

Everything You Need to Know About Carry Deck Cranes
advantages and disadvantages of carry deck cranes

Carry Deck Cranes Over the Years

Carry deck cranes have changed a lot in the past few decades. The first crane that carried its load while moving was the “pick and carry” model. These cranes kept their loads in the air while driving around. They first appeared in the 1980s to help move small loads of materials around. 

The carry deck crane was an evolution of the pick and carry model. Because leaving a load suspended in the air quickly becomes dangerous at higher weights, pick and carry cranes could only transport smaller loads safely. 

Carry deck cranes solved that problem. Instead of keeping a load hanging, the new machines had a specific place to set the materials. Since the load rests on the main body of the crane, the center of gravity is close to the ground. This prevents problems like swinging loads and overbalancing machines. Today, carry deck cranes are much more common than pick and carry cranes for just that reason. 

Carry Deck Crane Training

While carry deck cranes are easier to use than other types of heavy lifting machines, they still require training. OSHA requires all crane operators to take specific, approved training courses to learn how to safely operate a carry deck crane. After the course, operators also need to pass a written and practical exam. 

Crane training covers many topics. It focuses on safety procedures and guidelines for using the machine correctly. Carry deck crane training covers specific information about how to secure loads on the deck and what to do in an emergency. To operate a carry deck crane, you must be certified through these courses.

Renting a Carry Deck Crane

There’s no one set price to rent a carry deck crane. The cost of a crane depends on many factors, including:

Age, size and type of the crane: Newer, larger cranes with higher load capacities will cost more to rent than smaller alternatives.

Length of the rental: Long rental periods are obviously more expensive than shorter ones.

Transportation and set-up costs: Getting a crane to your job site will cost money. Carry deck cranes are typically less expensive, since they don’t need to be set up like a stationary model.

Operator pay: If you don’t have a trained operator on staff, you’ll need to pay for someone to use the crane for you. 

If you’re looking for a crane for your next project, Maxim Crane Works  is here to help. With fleets of modern cranes available, we can help you get the right equipment for your job site. Whether you need something small and agile like a carry deck crane or you want something larger, just get in touch. Our team of experts will help you choose the crane model that best meets your needs.

Disclaimer Statement:

We hope you found this article informative. Our content is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute advice or necessarily reflect the range of services Maxim Crane Works, LP provides. Readers should not act upon this information without first seeking assistance from a qualified industry professional. For crane recommendations for your specific project, consider speaking with one of our sales professionals. Although we attempt to ensure that postings on our blog are complete and accurate, we assume no responsibility for their completeness or accuracy.


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