What You Need to Know About Renting Boom Trucks
A boom truck is a type of hydraulic crane that is mounted on a commercial truck chassis. There is a range of vehicles that are typically referred to as boom trucks.
They can have winches on the end or a cherry-picker attachment for lifting personnel aloft.
Before renting boom truck services for your job, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with boom trucks and the legal requirements for boom truck operation.
This article is intended to provide a basic rundown of boom trucks and the certification required for their operation. Contact Maxim Crane Works for more information about your state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, along with more detailed information about boom trucks.
What is a Boom Truck and How Does it Work?
There are different types of boom trucks used in various industries, but boom trucks typically contain most or all of these components:
- A boom is the lifting arm that is mounted to the heavy-duty vehicle and adjusts with sliding parts that extend out to lift significant loads, and compress for driving and storing.
- A boom cylinder is used to create the lift for the boom so that it extends out to lift heavy items off the ground.
- A boom head is the end or head of the boom where the cable comes across. The hoist cable comes from the hoist drum up the boom and into the sheaves at the boom head and is attached to either a headache ball or a load block. In the example below a headache ball is shown.
- A hook is used to move heavy or substantially large items and materials on the job site.
- Outriggers are clever devices that ensure stability even on the most uneven surfaces. On a boom truck they are usually located at the base and act like a retractable arm that can be extended from the side to stabilize the vehicle and offset the load. These outriggers are “planted” so the truck cannot move while they’re in use.
- A flatbed on the boom truck is typical for transporting materials to and from job sites or areas within a job sit
What Is a Boom Truck Used For?
Boom trucks are great for lift jobs under 40 tons and are a practical choice for contractors due to their maneuverability. Boom trucks drive like regular trucks, making them more manageable than other types of cranes and they can travel down freeways at reasonable speeds.
The use of boom trucks is widespread in a variety of industries, from building and construction to tree trimming services and utility companies. Some examples of how boom trucks are used in these industries:
- Construction of buildings, roads, and other structures. Construction companies often use boom trucks, whether they own them or use a crane rental company on an as-needed basis. They have a wide range of application in most construction projects, from transporting building materials to lifting workers to access high levels.
- Utility companies. Everyone has probably seen the utility company out in their boom trucks servicing power lines after storms and high winds.
- HVAC companies. Boom trucks are commonly used for lifting massive heating and cooling units to the roof of buildings or lifting technicians to service HVAC units in otherwise hard-to-reach locations.
What Aren’t Boom Trucks Suitable For?
Boom trucks are typically only suitable for use on more even, stable surfaces such as pavement or hard-packed dirt. If a job requires the crane operate in rugged conditions or on uneven, steep surfaces, all-terrain or rough terrain cranes would be the safer, more effective choice.
Operators must have their OSHA-approved certification before operating a boom truck. This training will help determine which type of machine is suitable for each job.
Furthermore, operators should never exceed the maximum capacity of a boom truck or crane.
How Boom Truck Cranes Have Evolved Over the Years
Boom trucks have been an integral part of the US crane industry for decades that boast popularity amongst customers for their robust capabilities and reliability and the high degree of mobility provided by being mounted on a commercial truck chassis that can be taken down freeways.
Over the years, customer demand has driven innovation amongst boom truck companies. Bigger Boom trucks these days have higher weight capacities than earlier models– up to 54 tons – and longer booms, often used by utility companies to reach structures that are 160-180 feet tall or more. The inclusion of more precise controls with greater technical ability gives operators a more robust range of control over the machine.
Director of sales and marketing at Manitex, Randy Robertson, says newer generations of boom trucks have evolved from simple telescopic booms mounted on lightweight truck beds to highly engineered machines that can compete with mid-range class truck cranes. They’re also easier to maintain and quicker to move between jobs.
Despite varying features and designs between manufacturers and technological innovations throughout the years, the different types of boom trucks share the same basic components that differentiate them from other types of cranes. Some of the various types of boom trucks include the items discussed above in addition to:
- A boom mounted on a conventional truck chassis, such as a Freightliner, Peterbilt, or Kenworth commercial truck.
- A boom mounted just behind the cab of truck, with the boom stored towards the rear.
- Tractor mounts are mounted on fifth-wheel tractors.
- Rear mounts are mounted on the rear of the flatbed truck.
- Bigger boom trucks mounted over the rear axle. These larger machines often have open riding seats or enclosed cabs that rotate the operator with the turret to achieve greater precision and operator ease of use.
Biggest Advantages of Boom Trucks
Boom trucks are important machines on many types of job sites. They’re more maneuverable than other types of cranes and are typically faster and better at stacking objects than larger vehicles. They’re invaluable to have on a job site when you need to reach inaccessible locations.
Another advantage to boom trucks is the flatbed that can carry loads like any other flatbed truck. In some cases, the flatbed will have storage added instead of a flatbed, giving operators ample area to store equipment.
Probably the biggest advantage of a boom trucks is their ability to drive like regular trucks at comfortable highway speeds. They can move freely on public roads between jobs and store everything needed for their operation on board.
Are Your Employees in Need of Boom Truck Operator Training?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that crane and boom truck operators become certified as qualified operators before using a crane that is rated to lift more than 2,000 pounds. OSHA requires that operators complete this training via a third party. Both practical and written operator tests are administered to determine operator competency. Operators can achieve different levels of certification based on the boom truck or crane’s weight capacity and type.
The most common way for operators to get their boom truck operator certification is through a nationally accredited crane operator testing organization. Once operators pass their practical and written exams, their certifications are valid for five years.
About Maxim Crane Works
Maxim Crane Works specializes in the rental and sale of lift equipment. Maxim Crane offers a range of boom trucks, hydraulic truck cranes, rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes, tower cranes, and conventional truck cranes.
Maxim Crane Works has more than sixty locations throughout the United States. Each branch has the capability to provide clients with the full range of services, including management, rigging, engineering, and transportation. Maxim Crane provides customers with the resources required to complete projects on time and under budget.
To learn more about our boom truck rental services services and the other equipment Maxim Crane Works offers.
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