Crane Service Experts Explain: How Overhead Cranes Work and Their Benefits

Crane Service Experts Explain: How Overhead Cranes Work and Their Benefits

As overhead crane design and crane service experts, we know a lot about cranes. While many of our clients have in-depth knowledge of their production processes and what they need their cranes to DO, they don’t necessarily know the everyday workings of their overhead cranes.

This article is designed to give you an overview of how overhead cranes work, so when you need to service your crane, upgrade your crane systems, or install a new crane, you’ll have the information you need to make knowledgeable decisions.

What is an Overhead Crane?

An overhead crane – or bridge crane – is an essential component of many industrial sites like steelworks, automotive manufacturing, warehousing, printing, and other manufacturing locations. Overhead cranes are powerful tools, able to lift some of the heaviest loads with precision and speed, increasing the productivity of your business.

They’re called overhead cranes because the system is mounted overhead and out of the way, leaving floor space free for your production requirements.

Components of an Overhead Crane

There are three main components to an overhead crane:

  1. Bridge – the main structure of an overhead crane, the bridge consists of one or two beams (girders) that hold the hoist.
  1. Runway – the runway is made of parallel beams that extend the length of the area where the crane is employed. The bridge moves along the runway beams to move loads through your production area.
  1. Hoist – the hoist is one of the most recognizable components of any crane system. The hoist hooks onto loads and moves them up and down. The hoist is typically mounted on a trolley that can move side to side across the bridge, allowing for a full range of movement. Hoists are typically chain or wire rope.

Want to know more from the crane service experts? Dig a little deeper into overhead crane systems in our blog Overhead Crane and Chain or Wire Rope Hoist Systems: Delivering Productivity and Efficiency.

Overhead Crane Operational and Safety Mechanisms

In addition to the key crane parts described above, there are many additional crane components that ensure safe and effective crane operations.

These include the motors, braking systems, sensors and collision avoidance systems, anti-sway control, emergency stop systems, limit systems, lights, warning horns, and overload protection systems.

These systems contribute to the overall productivity and safety of your operations.

How an Overhead Crane Works

When lifting and shifting a load, the hoist operates on a drum or chain sproket system to shift loads up and down. While hoists can be manually operated, lifting power is typically supplied by an electrical system.

Electric motors also drive the trolley and bridge, allowing the crane operator to move the load side to side, and along the runway beams.

While an overhead crane system may seem like a large lumbering machine, with the right systems in place, overhead cranes can be incredibly efficient when delicate, precise lifting is required. As crane service experts, we can provide crane training and help you build in the systems and components you need to maximize your safety and profitability.

Is an Overhead Crane Right for You?

If you’re looking into a lifting solution for your business, an overhead crane with its high lift capacity, and ability for precise movement and positioning of loads could be the ideal choice.

But O’Brien offers many other lifting solutions like jib cranes, gantry cranes, and smaller workstation cranes. Find out more about the advantages of each type of crane in our blog Types of Cranes – Pros and Cons.

O’Brien Lifting Solutions: Overhead Crane and Crane Service Experts for more than 60 Years

An overhead crane is a huge investment. You want to make sure you’re choosing the right crane, and properly maintaining your lifting systems to keep your operations running smoothly and deliver a sound return on your investment. With over 60 years in the business, the crane service experts at O’Brien can help guide you through the process of selecting, installing, upgrading, or repairing your crane systems. We offer customized crane training for your operators to ensure they know how to work safely and effectively. We also carry one of the largest inventories of crane parts in North America, meaning we’ll get you up and running fast, when you need speed and efficiency the most.

Contact O’Brien to discuss your crane system or to get a quote for an overhead crane. Follow O’Brien on Facebook or LinkedIn.