skip to main content
Overhead Crane Equipment 101

Overhead Crane Equipment 101

Having the right equipment, backed with experience and support, can make your job worlds easier and safer. From home construction and power poll repairs to cell phone tower maintenance, workers, tools, and other supplies need to be lifted safely for work to occur.

Every project has different lifting requirements, and there are just as many types of cranes to meet those demands. 

Overhead Crane Equipment 101

Overhead cranes, also commonly referred to as bridge cranes, are pretty standard across industrial environments that require frequently moving heavy loads between set points indoors or out of doors. 

They function similarly to gantry cranes, except that the rails they move on are not located at the base, moving the entire crane structure, but rather the rails are generally incorporated into a building structure overhead of any workers. Hence the name.

While you won’t see overhead cranes on construction sites themselves, they can be an essential component for many construction companies that can use them off-site to pre-build or assemble structures in a controlled environment for later delivery and installation on-site with a mobile boom crane. Pre-building in this way, even for custom projects, can help keep on schedule and on budget.

And since we are all about cranes, we thought it might be helpful to give a quick overview of these specialized cranes.

Overhead Crane Parts and Components

There are a few defining parts of overhead cranes. The two most iconic are the bridge girder and runway beams. Together they comprise the bulk of the structural form of an overhead crane. The runway beams allow for movement along the tracks by the end trucks. 

At the same time, bridge girders span the distance between the parallel runways and translate that movement to the next primary component, the trolley frame. The trolley frame houses all the components of the lifting system and is where the roop, hook, and rigging equipment connects to the structural elements. 

This is, of course, a simple breakdown of what is a complicated and specialized system. Each piece needs to work in unison for safe and efficient lifts. For many installations, overhead cranes do not have a cab or control center for operation but can be radio-controlled, allowing for direct monitoring for precise control. 

However, it is recommended that operators have a location that provides maximum visibility of the entire operating space.

Types of Overhead Cranes

Overhead cranes are used to move heavy objects from one location to another.  These cranes can hoist upwards of 400 tons, and typically, these cranes are installed for permanent use.

  • Single Girder Crane: This type of overhead crane utilizes a single bridge girder that runs directly on the runway beams, typically hung underneath those parallel beams. These are the most likely to allow for manual operation but are limited in their overall lifting capacity and work area. But these limitations are made up for in accessibility and can be very useful for lower lifts or areas tight on space. 
  • Double Girder Crane: Utilizing a dual set of bridge girders, this type of overhead crane increases lifting capacity significantly. In this configuration, to support increased lift capacity, the girders attach to the top of end trucks that run along the runway beams, spreading the load across a greater area. Double girder cranes tend to take up a significantly larger footprint than singles and require electronic systems for precise control.
  • I Beam Crane: Overhead cranes can use two types of girders. The first, more cost-effective type is a standard steel I beam. I beams have a variety of applications throughout many industries and can easily be manufactured for structural most structural requirements.
  • Box Girder Crane: The second type of girder overhead cranes may utilize is a box girder. Instead of a thin web, these are substantially thicker, with a solid box profile. For overhead cranes that need to span longer distances and handle larger lift capacities, box girders are required.

Crane Rental Experts in the Carolinas

No matter the type of crane you operate or where you use it, the best tools for running a crane safely are experience, communication, and proper training of the personnel on-site.

With over 40 years of moving and using cranes, Parker’s Crane Service has the expertise you need for safe, reliable crane operations, no matter the job site or weather.

We pride ourselves on safety and our Zero Accident Philosophy and conduct many detailed safety measures when performing a job to ensure that no project carries unnecessary risk. We perform the following for every single job we take:

  • Pre-Lift Job Assessments
  • Daily Risk Assessments
  • On-Site Hazard Analysis
  • Routine Management Audits

With a fleet of well-maintained hydraulic truck cranes, we offer not only the best equipment but can also help with site installation, maintenance, and operation. Our crew is OSHA and MSHA-compliant to ensure your site and crew safety.

Parker's Crane provides quality crane rental, rigging, and heavy hauling services throughout the Carolinas and the East Coast. Contact us if you would like to discuss your needs and whether or not our services and equipment will work for your construction project. We provide free on-site quotes and evaluations.