How to Choose the Right Crane for Your Project

Virtually all construction projects require the lifting, hauling or transportation of heavy materials which is why cranes play a vital role in the development of your project.

Deciding which crane is right for your objectives can be an overwhelming task, as the range of options available is limitless! There are an enormous variety of cranes ‘ each designed for a specific function or use. 

One example is a tower crane. Tower cranes are commonly used in the construction of tall buildings and are attached at various floors as the building rises. They are unique as they have the ability to climb the building as it rises. 

Tower cranes can add their own tower sections when equipped with a climber section. The climber allows the crane to jack the tower up enough to add 1 section of tower per move.

The climber section also gives the crane the ability to lower its self-back down the side of a building once the building is completed. 

Once it is at a lower elevation a mobile crane can disassemble the crane and load it out until it’s gone as if it was never there.

Selecting the right crane for the job definitely requires preliminary preparation and planning and will help you reduce costs and inefficiency, keeping your project on track, budget and schedule.

3 Factors You Should Consider When Choosing A Crane

3 factors to consider when choosing the right crane: duration of the job & size of the load, equipment transportation needs & conditions of the jobsite
3 factors to consider when choosing the right crane: duration of the job & size of the load, equipment transportation needs & conditions of the jobsite

1. The duration of the job and the size & weight of the material you will be lifting
Cranes have different specifications, capacities and functionalities. Understanding what your project requires from a crane will help you select equipment that can best meet your projects demands and will quickly narrow down your options. 

To fully understand the capabilities of the crane you are interested in renting or purchasing it’s always best to contact your local Maxim crane team for assistance.

There is no charge for this service and they can help you size the crane best suited for your application. Your Maxim representative will help you review various Load charts to understand the cranes capabilities, structural strengths and dimensions.

Load charts will detail the crane’s capacity at certain boom lengths and configurations.

The manufacture’s charts will give you the exact specifications and dimensions of the machine. These graphs will allow you to calculate your maximum lift within any given radius allowing you to understand where the crane can be set up and most efficient for your project. 

2. How will equipment be transported
The question of how the equipment will be transported could be initially overlooked, however, it is a critical consideration and expense.

Broadly speaking, cranes can be classified as either Mobile, Rough Terrain/Crawler or Tower all with different transportation methods. Permitting for City and State laws are all factors in the transportation of cranes and heavy equipment. 

The permit routing may take the crane in what would seem like an indirect route. This is done in order to avoid roads with a low clearance bridge or a roadway with weight restrictions making it illegal for large loads or trailers to use. 

3. The conditions of the construction site
The condition and terrain of the construction site also have a bearing on the type of crane you should rent.

Understanding weather conditions, spatial constraints and the ground conditions of your site, will give you great insight into which equipment will help you meet your objectives with efficiency.

For example, rough terrain cranes are best suited to off-road construction sites as they are best equipped to deal with complicated ground conditions compared to all terrain cranes. 

The degree of mobility you require will also dictate the type of equipment needed. For instance, if your project requires flexibility and precise delivery in tight spaces, a mini-crane may be right for you.

Types of Cranes

A brief overview of commonly used cranes and their functions.

Tower Cranes
Tower cranes are typically used in the construction of tall buildings. As a fixed structure, its stability comes from being bolted to concrete slabs and provides a combination of both awe-provoking height and great lifting capacity, typically between 8 and 35 tons. Tower cranes are great for long term projects!

Due to the sheer size and reach of tower cranes, extra precautions must be taken for safety and specially skilled operators are required to man the machine. Adverse weather conditions can also hamper the schedule.

Potain ‘ MDT 368 ‘ 17 (tonnage)
Terex ‘ CTT182-8 ‘ 9 (tonnage)
Terex Comedil ‘ CTT-561A ‘ 22 (tonnage)
Wolffkran ‘ 700B ‘ 55 (tonnage)

Crawler Cranes
Crawler cranes are mounted on moveable tracks. These tracks are specially designed to be used on multiple ground types including soft terrains. Due to the tracks and excellent counterweight control, crawler cranes are able to lift extremely heavy loads, typically from 80 to 825 tons. 

Additionally, they have the ability to safely transport materials around the construction site with ease. With such vast lifting capacities, they can often be bulky, difficult to transport to location and expensive to assemble and dismantle. Therefore, crawler cranes are best suited for long-term projects.

Manitowoc 2250 ‘ 300 (tonnage)
Manitowoc 18000 ‘ 660 (tonnage)
Link-Belt ‘ LS-138HII ‘ 80 (tonnage)
Manitowoc ‘ 31000 ‘ 2535 (tonnage)

HTC Truck type /All terrain Cranes
These cranes are used for short term jobs where the lift requirements are too large for a boom truck yet are not long enough in duration or heavy enough to justify a crawler crane.

You will see these cranes on a daily basis as they travel the roads and highways just as the daily commuter does on their daily activities. These cranes are best suited for commercial work and in Industrial sites /hospitals/shopping mall HVAC repair or short term bridge construction. 

These machines average in size from 30 ton capacity to over 1000 tons. These cranes on average are the bread and butter of most crane companies business and how most are started initially.

Examples are:
Grove TMS 540 – 40 (tonnage)
Link Belt HTC 8690 – 90 (tonnage)
Grove GMK 7550 – 550 (tonnage)

Boom Trucks
As well as being versatile and reliable, boom trucks are designed to provide important functions that, when combined, are extremely useful for most daily construction sites. 

Boom trucks are fitted with a hydraulic crane and a flat deck hauling area which allows you to lift light to medium size equipment & material. 

They also have the ability to transport light misc. equipment around a job site and to other locations.

JLG ‘ 2250-JBT’ 23 (tonnage)
Manitex ‘ 2284 ‘ 22 (tonnage)
Terex ‘ TC-4485 ‘ 22 (tonnage)

Carefully considering your options when renting or buying a crane can help you avoid choosing the wrong equipment for your project.

Incorrect selection can increase costs, affect your schedule and even jeopardize the safety of your staff and the public. 

In order to make an informed choice, it is always best to consult a crane rental company such as Maxim Crane Works L.P. 

With decades of extensive knowledge of equipment, safety procedures, onsite evaluations and risk assessments, we will be able to recommend the right crane to help you meet the exact objectives of your projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. 

Maxim Crane is a coast-to-coast provider of crane rental and lifting services. As knowledgable professionals within our field, we offer innovative solutions to meet your project’s needs. 

Situated in over 60 locations, each branch is able to provide management services, including transportation, risk management, safety and insurance programs that are unparalleled in the industry.

To learn more, connect with Maxim Crane by calling 877-629-5438, or contact us.

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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