How do self-erecting tower cranes work?

Have you ever wondered “How do self-erecting tower cranes work?”. Well, in some ways, they are a little like the first pop-up tent I bought. 

Tents used to be a pain in the neck to put up and down. It would take hours of wrestling with poles and tarpaulin, not to mention a degree to understand the instructions!  

Enter the self-erecting pop-up tent…pure genius! What once took hours now takes minutes. 

Self-erecting tower cranes, also known as self-assembling or self-erecting cranes, are not quite as easy as a pop-up tent to put up and take down, but they do tend to be a bit more useful and can still save a lot of time, manpower and space. 

So, how do they work? We investigate in this week’s blog post. But first, what are self-erecting tower cranes?

What are self-erecting tower cranes?

Self-erecting tower cranes are a type of construction crane designed to be easily transported to a construction site and set up on occasion without the need for a separate mobile crane or extensive manual labour. These cranes are particularly useful for smaller construction projects or projects with limited space.

While these cranes are powerful and labour-saving machines, their lifting capacity is generally lower compared to larger cranes. They are suitable for light to medium lifting tasks typically encountered in urban construction, such as erecting building structures, installing equipment and lifting materials.

How do self-erecting tower cranes work? 

There are several key things to know about when it comes to understanding how self-erecting tower cranes work. 

1. Transportation

These cranes are typically transported to the construction site on the back of a truck or a trailer. They are compactly folded for transportation, with the boom sections and counterweights stowed in a way that makes them road-legal.

2. Setup location

Once the crane arrives at the construction site, it is positioned at the desired location. The crane’s outriggers, which provide stability during operation, are extended and firmly secured to the ground. It’s important to ensure a level and stable foundation for safe operation.

3. Self-Erection Process

The self-erection process is truly the highlight of this type of crane. It is highly automated and typically controlled by an operator from a remote control panel. Here are the general steps:

  • The crane’s mast sections are raised vertically one by one. These sections are usually stored within the base of the crane.
  • The mast sections are connected together as they are raised, forming the vertical tower of the crane. This process is often hydraulic and guided by sensors to ensure proper alignment.
  • Once the desired height is reached, the crane’s boom is extended and raised into its working position.
  • The counterweights are added to the crane’s rear to maintain stability during operation. The number and configuration of counterweights depend on the crane’s lifting capacity and the specific load being lifted.

4. Operation

With the crane fully erected and the counterweights in place, it is ready for operation. The operator controls the crane’s movements, including the rotation of the crane, the raising and lowering of the load, and the extension and retraction of the boom, all from the remote control panel.

5. Dismantling

Once the construction project is completed, the self-erecting tower crane can be dismantled in a process that is essentially just the reverse of the erection process. The boom is lowered, the mast sections are disassembled and lowered one by one, and the outriggers are retracted. The crane is then ready to be transported to the next job site.

Self-erecting tower cranes: save time and manpower

So how do self-erecting tower cranes work? The answer is very well indeed, particularly if you are dealing with a construction project with restrictions on space or access. If your lifting capacity fits this bill, they can be an excellent option to save on time, manpower and space. Contact us today for a competitive quote.

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