Some cranes, like a truck-mounted mobile crane, show up on site ready to work. Other crane types require a bit more effort concerning assembly. Unlike putting together your Ikea flunkenkankenstrop desk, you will actually need to follow the instructions when piecing together parts of your crane. Improper assembly of a crane can lead to inefficiency, or even fatal accidents and injury. We are going to outline the process of transporting crane parts, piecing them together, and properly rigging a crane for your specific job.
The first step to crane assembly is actually transporting pieces of the crane from the rental company to your work site. Large cranes, such as tower cranes, will need anywhere from 10 to 12 tractor trailer rigs to get them from point A to B. Clearly, this process itself takes a lot of coordination, so make sure to communicate clearly with the crane rental company, and have a designated area of your job site ready for the crane parts to arrive. This area should be level and solid. Soft or uneven ground can lead to equipment sinking or falling over which we can tell you from the get-go is something you never want to deal with. An unlevel crane can also affect lift capacity, which is another measurement you should never mess with. Accidents with cranes can be costly, dangerous, and time consuming to fix, so it is best to set up and use your crane by the book.
Your crane rental company can probably assist you with putting together your crane, or if you want to use an in-house team, make sure your crew is familiar with the specific make and model of crane. A competent team can usually assemble a crane in a day, but this process should not be rushed as you will be working with heavy equipment. Mobile cranes will be used to pick up parts of the larger crane and put them together. Your team should have a plan regarding who will operate the mobile cranes, who will be providing directive gestures, and who will be on the ground supervising. It is likely that you will need at least 13 employees to oversee this process safely, and we strongly suggest that you do not skimp on safety when working with cranes!
Once the majority of your crane is assembled, it will need to be properly rigged. This means that the appropriate lifting equipment must be attached to the crane based on what you will be lifting and how heavy it is. Different projects can require vastly different attachments, so your crane operator will need to plan in advance how to rig the crane based on what you will be lifting. Rigging attachments include hooks, shackles, eyebolts, hoist rings, winches, and more. We will delve deeper into picking the right accessories later on.
Your crane operator should be well-versed in the fundamentals of crane rigging such as which equipment to use when raising objects at various angles, or how lifting capacity affects the accessories you attach. The operator should be familiar with your crane’s lifting capacities, how the crane functions, and a number of other factors before beginning the rigging process. In addition to having confidence in your operator’s abilities, you should also feel confident in your crane’s conditions. Make sure that you are only using reputable crane rental companies, and don’t feel shy asking to view maintenance records or have the crane inspected before use.
Choosing The Right Attachments
As noted earlier, there are a number of different accessories that can be used with your crane depending on what you are lifting, how heavy the materials are, and at what angle or height you need to lift to.
Hooks are a necessary tool when lifting heavy objects. A quality hook will be made from steel and designed to avoid slippage. There are a plethora of sizes and shapes when it comes to hooks that are made to lift different objects. You should pick a hook for your job that has an adequate opening, or throat, to fit your load. We would hate for you to rig your crane just to find out that the hook throat opening is too narrow to attach to your material.
Shackles are essentially links that enable you to connect various rigging components such as ropes, slings, cables, and more. A good rule of thumb is to use shackles when lifting materials over 6000 pounds to properly secure your loads. A quality built shackle should have cast, forged, or stamped markings on the body that display the name or trademark of the manufacturer, size of the shackle, and load capacity. If you cannot find this information on the shackle, we suggest that you do not use it.
Eyebolts act as anchor points in your rigging set-up to attach ropes or looping cables. Common types of eyebolts are shoulder bolts, which should be used for angular connections, and straight eye bolts, which can be used for straight-line connections. If these types of eyebolts are not appropriate for your needs, there is a whole world of eyebolts you can look into. Try screw eye bolts, U-bolts, and lag eye screw bolts as alternatives to the shoulder or straight bolts. Remember that shoulder bolts are the only eyebolt designed to handle a non-vertical load. All other eyebolt types can bend or break if loaded at an angle, which can lead to accident and injury on the job.
Hoist rings are used to-you guessed it- aid your crane in hoisting equipment. They are very similar to eyebolts, but they have the ability to swivel and pivot in order to compensate for pitch, roll, and sway when lifting heavy or unbalanced loads. They are often designed for angular fitting to resist the kind of stress that would likely break your eyebolts. If you anticipate working in rainy or snowy weather conditions, look for hoist rings that offer some protection against the elements, for example: black-oxide steel rings offer mild resistance to corrosion, nickel-coated steel rings offer moderate resistance, and 316 stainless steel rings offer extreme resistance.
Another useful accessory is a winch. Winches are essentially spools that are used to pull in, let out, or adjust tension in a cable. They are powered electrically to reliably and safely aid you in lifting heavy loads. Crane winches can have load capacities anywhere from half a ton to 60 tons, and can be designed for slow or high speed projects. Slow speed winches are great for accurate positioning, and high speed winches are meant to provide high efficiency. Some winches can actually be custom designed for your project, so don’t be shy getting in touch with a company that specializes in winches to find the perfect equipment for your job.
Hopefully you feel more knowledgeable about crane transport, assembly, and rigging after reading this post. There are a lot of moving parts (no pun intended) when putting together a crane, so it is important to be prepared and confident that your crane will be assembled properly. Good luck!