Types of Tower Cranes and their applications in the construction industry

In the world of construction and heavy load work, cranes are essential. According to their characteristics, they can be more functional for certain types of jobs, so it is important to know these differentiating aspects. For this reason, we have created this brief guide to know the types of tower cranes that we will classify according to their mobility or according to their pen.

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Cranes According to their Mobility

  • Fixed: they lack rails or other means since their design does not include mechanisms that allow their displacement. Its base is constituted by a stationary structure. The fixed cranes are classified in turn into two subtypes, supported and recessed. The supported cranes have counterweights or ballasts in their base to center the gravity. The built-in cranes center the gravity with a first section anchored to the ground and formwork with concrete or other alternative mechanisms.
  • Mobiles: are tower cranes whose design incorporates lanes or other means of own translation. They are installed in vehicles on wheels, which gives them mobility and their own direction. The larger the wheels of the vehicle, the easier it is to handle. This type of tower cranes is stable regardless of the maximum mounting height. In turn, these cranes can be translational, climbing or telescopic.
  • The tower cranes with translation are those whose displacement depends on rails located in the ground. Climbing mobile cranes are raised with cable systems or zippers and are used in buildings under construction, as it allows the crane to be lifted as the construction progresses. Finally, the telescopic cranes rise on themselves thanks to the action of built-in sections on each other.
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Cranes According to their Pen

  • Horizontal: this type of tower cranes have the ability to rise on themselves, extending along or through hydraulic or mechanical mechanisms. The boom has the ability to back off, which allows horizontal displacement of the load, which makes the process much more efficient.
  • Folding: they are cranes whose mechanism includes rotating support in its base, as well as accessories (cables or pulleys) that allow a rapid folding and deployment of both the crane tower and the boom; the latter is located at the top of the structure.

Applications of Tower Cranes

Tower cranes are often used in construction, the port industry and the metallurgical industry due to their functionalities. Their installation is temporary, they are designed to be assembled and disassembled frequently, they also support transfers in different terrains. Mobile tower cranes are the most common in the construction of residential buildings due to their lifting capacity, and can also be used as a vehicle to move fixed tower cranes.

The main objective of a crane is to lift and move loads that due to their weight, volume or dimensions would be very complicated to move by non-mechanical means. The complexity of the structure will vary according to the type, but in general, they are composed of these parts:

  • Mast: it is composed of lattice modules that are what give the height of the crane.
  • Pen: also known as an arrow, is what gives the crane the radius or range.
  • Contraflecha: is attached to the mast in the opposite area where the pen is attached. It must have between 30 and 35% of the length of the pen.
  • Counterweight: they help to stabilize the crane, both at rest and in movement.
  • Ballast: usually consists of several pieces of concrete that are located at the base of the crane. They help to stabilize the crane in adverse conditions, such as strong winds.
  • Car: is a device that moves along the boom through rails and serves to give maneuverability to the crane.
  • Cables and hooks: allow the lifting and securing of the load. They are the most delicate part of the entire structure and require frequent review. The ones that provide more security are the automatic hooks with remote control system.
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