Tag Archives: Selection of Tower Crane

Selection of Tower Crane – Operational characteristics

The operating characteristics of a Tower Crane are largely determined by its type
of mounting, type of tower and type of jib.

A tower crane with a static base only occupies a limited area but is able to cover, from its fixed position, all points at which loads are to be handled within the maximum slewing radius. They can be set at varying heights up to their maximum free standing height. They can also be extended beyond this limit by tying the crane back to the supporting structure.

Rail-mounted tower cranes have a larger area of coverage as they can travel along their tracks carrying their rated loads. However, the height requirement should not exceed the free standing height as recommended by the manufacturer. On the other hand, the crane service would be disrupted whenever work must be done on or near the track. The advantage of mobile tower cranes lies in great inward reach without the long jib which would normally be required to reach over the top of the structure.

Generally, truck-mounted tower cranes are completely self-contained and can be driven along roads. They are generally capable of comparatively rapid erection and dismantling. They are however generally unable to travel in their fully erected state and cannot handle loads while travelling.

Crawler-mounted tower cranes are required to be transported on a low-loader or towed on special road axles when travelling on public roads. Inside the workplace, some can travel over firm, flat, level ground carrying loads up to a specified proportion of their rated loads. They are also able to travel in a partially erected state but without load over unprepared ground provided it is within certain limits of level and compaction.

With a horizontal trolley jib, the hook is suspended from the trolley and moves in a horizontal direction when the radius is changed. Unless a luffing jib is equipped with a level-luffing device, the hoist motion will have to be simultaneously operated to achieve level travel of the hook when changing radius.

A horizontal trolley jib usually has a smaller minimum operating radius than the equivalent luffing jib and is thus able to handle loads closer to the tower of the crane. For a given height of tower, however, a greater height of lift is available with a luffing jib, and the jib can be raised or lowered to clear obstacles. One advantage of a fixed luff jib is that its extra height at the jib head enables it to clear objects that would obstruct a horizontal trolley jib. The advantage of a rear-pivoted luffing jib is that it has a smaller minimum hook radius than an ordinary luffing jib.

For articulated jibs, some designs are not required to weather vane. In this case, the crane is made to withstand storm winds with the jib drawn into minimum radius; there is then no need for a 360° obstruction-free slewing path. One type of this crane has a hinged jib arranged so that the outer portion remains horizontal. As the jib is folded, the outer portion rises, giving increased height and the ability to pass over obstructions.

The selection of a crane for any job should be made only after a thorough examination of all the factors involved. In general, it is good practice to select a machine which has a working margin in respect of the load capacity and other anticipated requirements.

Selection of Tower Crane – Mounting configurations

Tower Crane are also characterised according to their mounting configuration. They are available as static bases, rail-mounted units and mobile units.

Static bases -There are three main types of static bases.

In-situ base – The crane is mounted on special corner angles, frames or an expendable tower section, cast into the concrete foundation block.
On own base – The crane is mounted on its own base section or chassis which, without wheels and travelling gear, but with ballast, stands on a concrete base.
Climbing base – The crane is supported by the structure which it is being used to construct, and to which it is attached by climbing frames and wedges. The height of the cranes can be extended as the height of the structure increases by means of climbing supports attached to the frames. Climbing support can be metal ladders, rods or tubes. A climbing crane may be mounted initially on a fixed base and its support be later transferred to climbing frames and supports.

Rail-mounted units – The cranes are mounted on a chassis frame which is supported on rail wheels. The wheels are usually double flanged. When all wheels are removed, some tower cranes can be used as static-based cranes

Mobile units – The mobile mounting configuration consists of truck-
mounted, wheel-mounted or crawler-mounted units.

Truck-mounted tower cranes – Tower cranes mounted on truck or lorry chassis are available. It is essential that this type of crane has its outriggers extended. The outriggers should be securely set up and level on its jacks when handling loads.
Wheel-mounted tower cranes – These are not normally self- propelling and may be moved by towing by a suitable vehicle. They are provided with stabilizers or outriggers and jacks which should be set (and the wheels either removed or raised clear of the supporting surfaces) before commencing erection or lifting operations.
Crawler-mounted tower cranes – There are two principal types of crawler bases used on this type of tower cranes. One is a twin- track type which is mounted on one pair of crawler tracks. The crane requires outriggers to be extended and jacks set when handling loads. The other is the straddle-type which is mounted on four widely spaced crawler tracks, each of which can be adjusted to height. Both types of tower cranes should be set firm and level when handling their rated safe working loads. In general, they do not have the same freedom of mobility as for example crawler-mounted mobile cranes. Reference should be made to the crane specification and to the manufacturer regarding conditions under which these machines may travel in their erected state.

Selection of Tower Crane – Jib configurations

The main types of jib used on Tower Crane are horizontal trolley jibs, luffing jibs, fixed-radius jibs, rear-pivoted luffing jibs and articulated jibs.

Horizontal trolley jibs (“A” frame type) – They are held in a horizontal or slightly raised position by tie bars or ropes connected to an “A” frame on the top of the tower crane. The hook is suspended from a trolley which moves along the jib to alter the hook radius. A suitable allowance needs to be made for deflection when calculating the clearance between adjacent cranes

Horizontal trolley jibs (flat top type) – They are connected directly to the tower top and do not require tie bars or ropes connected to an “A” frame. This reduces the overall height of the crane. The hook is suspended from a trolley which moves along the jib to alter the working radius. A suitable allowance needs to be made for deflection when calculating the clearance between adjacent cranes

Luffing jibs – They are pivoted at the jib foot and are supported by luffing cables. The hoist rope which supports the load usually passes over a sheave at the jib head, and the hook radius is altered by changing the angle of inclination of the jib

Fixed-luff jibs – They are also mounted on pivots at the jib foot. Unlike the luffing jibs, these are held by jib-ties at a fixed angle of inclination. On some types, the hook is suspended from the jib head and the hook radius cannot be altered, whereas on others the hook is suspended from a saddle or trolley which travels on the jib

Rear-pivoted luffing jibs – The jib pivot of this type of jib is situated at the top and behind the centre line of the tower and the hook is supported by the hoist rope which passes over a sheave at the jib head

Articulated jibs – The jib has a pivot point somewhere in its middle area. Some models are level-luffing; that is, the hook elevation remains constant as radius changes. It is possible to provide either a trolley or a fixed-location hook or even a concrete pump-discharge line. Articulated jibs are mounted on towers identical to those used with horizontal trolley jibs