Overhead cranes are used extensively to lift and move heavy loads efficiently and safely around the workspace or facility. These overhead crane systems are essential to improving workflows and productivity while protecting workers and products.


They are available in various sizes and classifications to meet the specific needs of agricultural, aviation, automotive, construction, and manufacturing companies. These lifting and transport systems are commonly referred to by other names based on their specific use, capacity, and application. To help you decide which crane you need, here is a list of those names and a brief description of each type of overhead crane.



Workstation Cranes


This crane is typically used for smaller work areas and lighter loads ranging from 150 lbs. – 2 tons. Workstation cranes are ideal for positioning loads and repetitive light-duty lifting. Because these cranes utilize modular design and components, they do not require an existing structural support system.



Jib Cranes


Jib cranes are also ideal for repetitive lifting in a smaller work area. Features include 180° to 360° of rotation and a lift range of 250 lbs. to 15 tons. Jib cranes typically mount to the floor (stand-alone) or a structural wall system, eliminating the need for a track or runway system.



Monorail Cranes


Most monorail crane systems are incorporated into an existing structural I-beam, which allows them to remain cost-effective while providing a versatile overhead crane solution for numerous industries. There is no side-to-side trolley travel; however, so as a result, materials can only move back and forth using a straight or curved track, making them an ideal choice for assembly and production lines.



Gantry Cranes


Gantry cranes have legs that travel along rails supported by the floor or ground instead of using a suspended runway. This configuration is ideal for outdoor locations requiring a quick setup and tear-down in multiple work areas and spaces. Gantry cranes are extremely popular with steel mills, special construction projects, shipyards, and railyards.



Overhead Bridge Cranes


Overhead bridge cranes are available as:


Single beam or girder cranes: Ideal for lifts less than 15 tons and spans 65′ or less. With fewer required parts than a double-girder crane, 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.


Bridge cranes can also be configured as either :


Top Running,” where the bridge crane runs on rails atop the runway beams.


“Under Running” or “underhung,” where the bottom flange of the runway beam supports the crane wheels.


Choosing the Best Overhead Crane for Your Business


With the different cranes explained above, chances are that you see more than one crane option that will serve your business needs.


So, how do you choose the best overhead crane for your business?


Since each crane is designed, engineered, and built to meet the company’s specific lifting needs and physical location requirements, you’ll need to answer a few questions before we can help you finalize your selection.



What size is the facility? A single-girder overhead crane can commonly span up to 65’, while double-girder cranes can commonly span up to 160’.

How is the building constructed? Since most overhead cranes attach to the building, the building structure (walls, roof, and concrete slab) must be able to support the crane and its load, or the system will require additional reinforcement.

Indoor or outdoor location? Outdoor locations are subject to the weather, while indoor locations provide substantial elemental protection.

What’s the temperature of the facility? Excessive heat or cold conditions can be accommodated during the crane design and engineering.

Will there be sizeable temperature changes? The wider the temperature variance, the greater the metal expansion and contraction concern during operation.

How heavy are the items the overhead crane will be lifting? Overhead cranes can lift from 150 pounds to over 100 tons, so the lifting capacity required is crucial when choosing an overhead crane.

How many loads must it lift per hour, and how many hours per day will it be in operation? These factors help determine which hoist and trolley should be used for maximum efficiency and decreased downtime.

What range of movement does the crane need? Monorail cranes provide no side-to-side travel like bridge or gantry cranes do.

Will the lifts require rapid, repeatable lifting or slow, precise crane handling? This information is essential for determining your crane’s hoist, trolley, and control system options.

Will the crane be exposed to other potentially harmful factors? This can include chemicals, gases, moisture, explosives, and corrosive materials on the job site or the manufacturing facility.


Once you assemble your building information and your specific lift and travel requirements, you can call us directly at 1-800-713-0103 or email the Hi-Speed Overhead Crane Experts to discuss which overhead crane is best for your business.