Gantry Cranes Tips

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What safety measures should I take when operating a steel gantry crane?

Steel Gantry Crane Safety Measures

Here are the safety measures you should take when operating a steel gantry crane, courtesy of

  • Never go over the maximum capacity printed on the top of the beam. The capacity printed includes the weight of the hoist and trolley too
  • Check for damage and make sure all hardware is tight before using
  • Never move or load unless both height adjustment pins are fully inserted
  • Stand clear of load while loading and unloading
  • Always operate crane on a level concrete or equal surface to ensure stability
  • Never push crane or adjust height when loaded
  • Never stand under load
  • Keep clear of electrical wires or any other electrical equipment
  • Make sure all operator safety labels are in place

Why use an aluminum gantry crane?

Aluminum Gantry Cranes for Versatility

There are many benefits to using the extremely versatile aluminum gantry crane. Here is what an aluminum gantry crane can do for you:

  • It is lightweight so one person can set it up and take it down in just minutes
  • It is corrosion resistant, which makes it great for outdoor use
  • It is the perfect choice if you have floor weight restrictions
  • Can be toted from job site to job site easily
  • No need for a fork truck or a hoist
  • Adjusts up to 12 feet from the top beam and therefore can lift a variety of bulky materials at a single job site
  • Its parts may be light weight, but it's capability is not. An adjustable aluminum gantry crane can support up to 4,000 pounds
  • A good choice if you are working in a clean room -- a room with a low level of environmental pollutants.

Is it possible to abuse gantry crane equipment? It's rated at 2000lbs!

"Workarounds" That Don't Work

Gantry cranes have their uses, but also their abuses, too. The most common cause of damage to a gantry crane is overloading. Putting on a higher weight than the crane is rated to handle can damage the gantry crane and create a hazardous condition. Continued operation of a damaged crane increases the risk.

Another abuse of the gantry crane is to use two or more cranes to hoist a load with a capacity higher than one or both of the machines. Allowing a load to swing is another hazard that can cause injury or damage to the gantry crane. It's important to know the tolerances for each part of the gantry crane and not exceed them. A gantry accessory may not be rated as highly; respect the limits of your equipment and your rate of unnecessary mishaps will drop.

What can I do to help my bilingual employees who work near gantry cranes and other hazardous areas?

Gantry Crane Safety Requirements

The area around gantry cranes are considered a hazardous work area by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, better known as NIOSH. There are many cases investigated by NIOSH where extreme injury and death have been the result of poor safety training. NOISH recommends those working in such hazardous areas be given to employees, but a growing issue in such work areas is access to bilingual training. It's often not enough to show gantry crane safety videos in a mass training briefing, or post warning signs in English only. Businesses facing this issue can outsource their bilingual needs to specialized companies. These experts provide a wide range of services including bilingual safety instructions, hazard assessments, and ergonomics programs. Such expert assistance not only helps reduce a company's liability, it is also a demonstration of genuine concern for employee safety. Such concern won't go unnoticed on the shop floor.

Can I get financing direct from the material handling equipment company?

Financing Gantry Cranes and Other Equipment

Your gantry crane purchases, along with other equipment, can be financed by the company selling the merchandise if you and your company meet certain conditions.

If you are the company owner and have good personal credit, plus trade references from other vendors you do business with, your gantry crane purchase can be financed for amounts up to $75,000 in some cases. You can also obtain approval within 48 hours with a simple one-page application.

In many cases you'll need to submit detailed information for loan amounts from the company in excess of $75,000. This includes financial statements and tax returns from the last two years. It is best to prepare such a package before submitting your order and requesting a line of credit. Doing so will make your purchase and credit approvals go much more quickly.

Gantry cranes, drum handling equipment and other purchases can all become part of an ongoing purchasing relationship if your credit is sufficient and you have the required paperwork!

Will I need a pad to install a floor mounted jib?

Floor Mounted Jibs

Floor mounted jib cranes or mini gantry cranes can be a huge help in the work area. They can be used for palletizing materials as well as transporting material from one workstation to another. It's important to remember that you may need a concrete pad for the installation of a floor mounted jib.

If you don't currently have the space available to install the pad, you may wish to examine your current building plan to see where you can rotate storage and work activity to make room for the installation process. It's very important to contact the factory for installation instructions with regard to the concrete pad. You should also follow factory recommendations word for word, as an error or miscalculation can result in your jib crane improperly handling the weight of the loads.

Sometimes, mishap prevention is most effective at installation time--be sure your workers know the exact specs the factory requires for the installation and use of the jib crane.

Do I need to perform any OSHA-required inspections of my new jib crane?

Extra Travel Tip-Post Jib Cranes; Questions to Ask

The extra travel tri-post jib allows you to lift heavy material from a cart to the workbench. The hoist, cart and trolley are not included, so if you're looking to buy a tri-post jib, keep in mind that you will need to purchase these items separately.

Some questions to ask your sales rep:

  • Will the unit work with an eye manual trolley?
  • How much weight are these cranes rated to support?

Many will carry up to 2,000 pounds, so keep in mind the average weight of the equipment or materials you'll need to transport with the jib. Once you have purchased and assembled a jib crane, it is important to keep in mind that OSHA requires a daily inspection of jib crane operating mechanisms for maladjustments and other hazards; as well as a periodic inspection for deformed, cracked or corroded parts, excessive wear and loose bolts or connections. It will be necessary to add these jib crane inspections to your list of other OSHA-required activities.

Can a gantry crane load be too light?

Gantry Cranes and Safety

Portable gantry cranes are a great help in the workplace. If you are using a crane properly rated for the amount of weight you need to move, all is well most of the time. But there have been gantry crane slippage issues in cases where an "underweight" load is not secured properly. Lighter loads need the same amount of attention as the heavier loads.

Gantry cranes, trolley hoists and other equipment are regulated in many cases by state and local safety standards--including pre-inspection, routine maintenance and training issues. For new employees, an on-site safety manual and mishap checklist for each piece of equipment may be good insurance. Nobody can claim ignorance when the rules are posted at each machine.

My crane has arrived and been assembled. Can it go into use right away?

Performing Tests on Gantry Cranes

OSHA regulations require any new aluminum gantry cranes to be tested prior to use on the floor or at your worksite. These required tests include hoisting and lowering operations, trolley travel, and locking device testing.

Your aluminum gantry crane comes "knocked down" and must be fully assembled in the work space before use. An aluminum gantry crane should not be considered operational until all OSHA required tests have been conducted properly. It's vital that your new equipment pass inspection.

Where can I look for used gantry cranes?

Buying Used Gantry Cranes

Whether you are looking for a 1-ton gantry crane or a 5-ton gantry crane, a fixed height gantry crane or an adjustable gantry crane, you don't have to pay full price if you're willing to buy used. If you are looking for a used gantry crane, you're not likely to find one in the Sunday classifieds. But you will definitely find one online for anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000. Negotiate a much cheaper price on the Web after perusing the listings. The listings will tell you, in some cases, the capacity of the crane, where it's located, why it's being sold, what condition it's in and what parts it may need. You can also view photos of the cranes. Many of the listings ask you to make your best offer. The company claims it is willing to help you get exactly what you want with the budget you have in mind.

What are some other tools I will need with my gantry crane?

Indispensable Gantry Crane Tools

Gantry cranes are used to lift and position materials. There are steel gantry cranes and aluminum gantry cranes; stationary gantry cranes and portable gantry cranes. According to, if you are an industrial company in need of a gantry crane, you might also find the following tools indispensable:

  • Lifting jib: a steel industrial crane designed to lift and maneuver items up to 1,000 pounds.
  • Hoist trolley: designed to adjust to the width of your beam, includes locking ring to prevent trolley width from changing accidentally
  • Festoon system: designed to keep power cords out of danger when using electric trolley and/or hoist
  • Chain hoist: with its compact design and low headroom you can install in confined areas where you must hoist objects with your crane
  • Portable lift: designed to raise and maneuver heavy items with its overhead boom and lifting platform. It saves you room because it breaks down easily so you can store it in tight spaces

What should I look for in a gantry crane repair company?

Need Repairs?

When your company's gantry crane needs repair or inspection, there are a wide range of companies that specialize in these areas. If you need to outsource such repair or inspection work, it's a very good idea to look for a company that specializes in "permanently available" maintenance parts and service. Some companies offer 24-hour response, and even "turnkey solutions" for supplying the gantry cranes as well as repair and inspection services. Some repair companies offer national accounts with national site agreements available for greater assistance with multiple sites. When searching for such a service, be sure to inquire about response times, availability of repair or inspection crews over national holidays, and whether your location falls within the repair company's service area.

What can void my gantry crane warranty?

Gantry Crane Warranty Issues

It's very important to instruct your gantry crane operators in loading practices which can void your manufacturer's warranty for the crane. Some crane warranties are automatically voided in the case of "eccentric loading". This is a very nebulous term, (actually used in one company's online warranty information) and can mean just about anything. In cases such as these, it's best to read the manual to get the recommended loading techniques and avoid any practice that deviates from the manual's strict instructions. Other practices that can void the warranty of some gantry cranes includes side loading, excessive heat, even a lack of regular maintenance on the crane. Let the operator beware! Some warranty information is subject to the manufacturer's interpretation.

What kind of motorized options do I have with a new gantry crane?

Portable Gantry Crane Options

If you use a portable gantry crane, you can purchase an optional power drive for some models that let you move the portable crane over a fixed route. These motorized drives use a variety of transport mechanisms, including rail systems and/or wheel transport. If you are purchasing a new portable gantry crane and want to consider the motor drive option, it's best to ask the vendor what motor options come with a particular model of crane.

Some cranes have a limited range of options; fixed height steel gantry cranes may be limited to an "inverted angle" track, depending on the make and model. Other types of cranes may depend on polyurethane wheels. It's best to plan ahead when considering your motor options. Purchasing the crane and optional equipment at the same time eliminates compatibility problems you could encounter later when trying to "mix and match" equipment and optional gear.

How can I increase my safety factor in connection to new gantry crane operators?

Innovations in Gantry Crane Safety

A 1993 patent application for a gantry crane collision avoidance system used a laser and/or radio transmitter to cut power to some types of motorized gantry cranes in order to prevent collisions, but this system isn't the only way to prevent accidents related to gantry crane operations.There are companies which can be hired to put new gantry crane operators a training program which can include time in a crane simulator. Courses are taught to spot human error within 30 seconds, and to understand safety limitations of gantry crane equipment. Outsourcing your safety training for such equipment may be an excellent investment when it comes to preventing accidents, increased insurance rates, and litigation. Your existing safety devices and procedures will be greatly enhanced by such training.

What are some safety concerns with portable cranes on wheels?

What Your New Hires Need To Know About Portable Cranes

Portable gantry cranes are often used in maintenance or installation applications, where an overhead crane system may be impractical. Fixed height cranes are just as useful as adjustable height portable gantry cranes, but there's an additional safety issue with adjustable models.

An employee should never stand below the top beam while adjusting the height, even while wearing a safety helmet. The risk for injury is too great. Is your portable gantry crane on operation with casters? Do your new employees understand the limitations of your portable gantry crane equipment with regards to unintended rolling, shifting or movement of a crane equipped with casters?

Important topics to bring up when training new hires in operations that require a portable gantry crane.

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