At some point in time, most mill, warehouse, or manufacturing plant owners consider adding an overhead crane system for moving loads ranging from .25 to 400 tons.

So, today we’re examining the different overhead crane and hoist options available.  

  • Bridge cranes
  • Gantry cranes
  • Monorail cranes
  • Jib Cranes
  • Workstation cranes

This information should help you determine the correct crane and hoist configuration your business. If you still have any overhead crane questions:

You can call us direct at: 1-800-713-0103

Or you can email the Hi-Speed Overhead Crane Experts here.


Overhead Crane Components

Before we get into the different types of overhead cranes, it’s important to understand the basic components and what they do.

Bridge – the primary structural component connecting the runways, which allows the hoist to move forward and backward via a trolley. The bridge features a single or double girder design, depending on span lengths and load requirements.

Runway – typically part of the building structure, the runway (2 for overhead bridge cranes) allows the crane to travel up and down the bays.

Trolley – this assembly supports the hoist and travels horizontally along the bridge to position the hoist and hook before raising or lowering a load. Trollies may be “under running (underhung)” for lighter loads or “top running,” used for double girder systems for increased capacity.

Hoist – using either wire rope or chain, the hoist lifts and holds, lowers, or raises the attached load. Hoists typically fall into one of three types, manual, electric, and pneumatic (compressed air).


Workstation Cranes

Typically used for smaller work areas and lighter loads ranging from 150 lbs. – 2 tons. Workstation cranes are ideal for positioning loads and repetitive lifting while providing ergonomic benefits for the operator and nearby workers.

Workstation cranes typically improve the workflow while increasing worker productivity and safety. Because these cranes rely on modular design and components, they do not require an existing structural support system.


Jib Cranes

Available with a lift range of 250 lbs. – 15 tons, these cranes typically mount to the floor (stand-alone) or structural wall system. Providing 180° to 360° of rotation, jib cranes are also ideal for repetitive lifting in a smaller work area.

Jib cranes don’t require a runway or track system. Despite their economical pricing, they do provide space-saving designs. They are available in a variety of spans, capacities, and heights.


Monorail Cranes

Ideally suited for production or assembly line usage, these cranes utilize a smaller bridge or girder system than their larger cousins. As a result, there is no side-to-side trolley travel; materials can only move back and forth using a straight or curved track.

Most monorail crane systems attach to an existing structural I-beam, which allows them to remain cost-effective while providing a versatile overhead crane solution for numerous industries.


Gantry Cranes

Instead of moving on suspended runways, a gantry crane uses legs that travel along rails supported by the floor or ground. Typically used for outdoor locations where installing beams and columns are not ideal due to lease restrictions.

Gantry cranes typically feature a quick set-up and tear-down process, making them portable and ideal for use in multiple facilities or work areas. Available designs can include the following:

Adjustable gantries can move materials through doors and aisleways, and over and under existing obstacles.

Portable gantries are ideal for plant maintenance tasks and industrial truck services that move from one location to another.

Track-mounted gantries are ideal for moving heavy loads over a fixed route using manual or motorized means.

Gantry cranes are extremely popular with steel mills, special construction projects, shipyards, and railyards.


Overhead Bridge Cranes

Due to the engineering complexity involved in different loads and travel, bridge cranes fall into four categories.

Single beam or girder is ideal for lifts less than 15 tons and spans 65′ or less. With fewer required parts, single girder cranes feature faster installation times, lower maintenance costs, and a simpler hoist and trolley design..

A double beam or girder is superior for heavier-duty applications exceeding 25-ton lifts and spans of 65′ and beyond. The dual girder option is also ideal for crane customizations, including cabs, magnet reels, and walkways.


Choosing the Best Overhead Crane for Your Business

Each overhead crane gets designed, engineered, and built to meet the unique requirements of each business and physical location including.

  • Building structure
  • Crane capacity
  • Hoist capacity
  • Span
  • Hook height
  • Usage
  • Operating conditions

Once you assemble your building information and lift requirements, you can call us direct at: 1-800-713-0103, or you can email the Hi-Speed Overhead Crane Experts to discuss your overhead crane needs in greater detail.

You can also learn more about crane hoist options here.

And you can learn more about overhead crane safety tips here.