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This article contains information regarding jib cranes, their use, and types.
You will learn more about topics such as:
What is a Jib Crane?
Uses for Jib Cranes
Types of Jib Cranes
How Jib Cranes are Made
And Much More...
Chapter One – What is a Jib Crane?
A jib crane is a lifting device with an arm or boom that extends off the main body of the crane to provide extra reach and has a lattice design to lower the weight added to a load. The design of jib cranes allows them to work well in small work spaces completing repetitive lifting tasks. They are extremely flexible and versatile cranes with a simple design capable of lifting 250 lbs. up to 15 tons.
There are several types of jib cranes each of which is designed to fit the needs of unique lifting applications. Freestanding jib cranes are the most common type and can be installed in multiple locations. Their design is the foundation for the many other types of jib cranes, from wall and ceiling mounted to articulating jib cranes.
Chapter Two – Types of Jib Cranes
The simple design of jib cranes gives them the capability of being installed in any type of work space. They are versatile and adaptable pieces of equipment that can be configured to fit the needs of a small work space to save workers from lifting cumbersome and bulky materials. In many operations, jib cranes are paired with other pieces of equipment to enhance the efficiency of an application.
As with all cranes, jib cranes are overhead lifting equipment that are attached to a horizontal beam, the ceiling, a column, or a wall. Aside from being referred to as jib cranes, they are also known as boom cranes. The structure of a jib crane is dependent on the jib that supports the lifting device of the crane.
Jib Crane Types
Freestanding Jib Crane
Freestanding jib cranes are the most common type of jib crane and can be installed for indoor or outdoor applications. In many instances, they are companioned by bridge cranes. Freestanding cranes have a lifting range of a few pounds up to several tons with a 360° rotational capacity depending on their location.
The main benefits of freestanding jib cranes are their lack of placement constraints, greater rotational range, high capacity, and longer reach. There are three designs of freestanding jib cranes, which are base plate mounted, foundation mounted, and sleeve insert mounted.
Base Plate Mounted
A base plate mounted freestanding jib crane is bolted to a base plate and reinforced by a heavy layer of concrete with reinforced gussets. The structure allows the jib crane’s boom to place the hoist over overhead obstructions.
A foundation mounted freestanding jib crane has a welded steel plate at the bottom of the mast that is placed on the first layer of concrete. A second pour of concrete provides extra support for the mast and removes the need for gussets.
Sleeve Insert Mounted
A sleeve insert mounted freestanding jib crane is similar to the foundation type with a sleeve that is placed on the first cement pour with the second pour surrounding the sleeve. The crane’s mast slips into the sleeve, which allows it to be moved without having to cut or damage the mast.
Articulating Jib Cranes
Unlike a normal jib crane, an articulating jib crane has a swivel arm and a boom. They rotate easily and have consistent responsiveness for positioning loads and can be positioned to reach loads around corners and obstructions. Articulating jib cranes can be wall mounted, floor mounted, ceiling mounted, or mounted on a bridge system.
The rotation of the two arms can be locked and come in three different arm lengths. The primary arm has a 200° swivel, while the outer arm can swivel 360°, which allows it to reach into machinery and containers. The many configurations of articulating jib cranes make it possible to have precise load positioning and spotting loads around obstructions.
Wall Mounted Jib Cranes
Wall mounted jib cranes, also known as wall pillar or cantilever jib cranes, are space saving types of jib cranes that do not require floor or foundation space. They can serve as a supplement to a monorail or overhead bridge crane and can be installed close to the underside of the lowest building structure allowing for maximum clearance under and above the boom.
When wall mounted jib cranes are not in use, they fold away along the wall to prevent obstructing or interfering with production. They have spans ranging from 8 feet up to 30 feet with weight capacities up to five tons.
The two designs of wall mounted jib cranes are cantilever and tie rod support.
A cantilever wall jib crane has two brackets that attach it to the wall with a cantilever boom that is perpendicular to the floor. They offer the greatest amount of clearance due to their full cantilever design.
Tie Rod Supported
Tie rod jib cranes are the most economical method for hoisting in bays, along walls, columns, and to supplement overhead and monorail cranes. As with the cantilever design, a tie rod supported jib crane is connected to the wall or column by two brackets. The bottom bracket is attached to the boom, which is perpendicular to the floor. The second bracket is attached to the tie rod support.
Tie rod supported wall mounted jib cranes take up the most room but exert the most amount of force. Their design allows the hoist the full travel along the length of the beam.
Mast Jib Cranes
Mast type jib cranes are floor supported and top stabilized with the top being supported by the beams of the building. Unlike foundation supported and base plate supported jib cranes, mast jib cranes take up little floor space and do not require holes in the foundation. The fact that the structure of the building does not have to be altered to accommodate mast jib cranes makes them a very economical lifting method, much like a tie rod supported jib crane.
The two designs of mast jib cranes are full cantilever and drop cantilever. Full cantilever types make full use of the top space of the building, while drop cantilever types are fixed at a set height below the ceiling of a building.
Mast jib cranes have a span of 10 feet to 40 feet with a ten ton capacity and 360° rotation. Boom heights can be the distance from the floor to the top of the building.
Portable Jib Cranes
Portable jib cranes are installed on a mobile base that can be wheeled or fork lifted depending on their design and have a capacity of less than a half ton. The design of portable jib cranes means that one person can move large amounts of materials without the need for other resources.
The key to portable jib crane design is to ensure that the apparatus is stable without having to be secured. Their core is very light for easy mobility such that they can be positioned close to a work area.
Hydraulic Jib Crane
A hydraulic jib crane is another version of a portable jib crane with the added feature of a hydraulic cylinder to raise and lower the arm of the crane. The lifting system of a hydraulic jib crane uses a hydraulic cylinder that is attached to the boom of the crane to lift and lower loads. The hydraulic mechanism can be powered by a battery or be a hand pump type depending on the design of the crane.
The lifting mechanism of a hydraulic jib crane has a capacity of one ton when the boom is retracted and five hundred pounds when the boom is extended.
Aside from the mobile version, hydraulic lifting cranes can also be floor mounted with a 360° degree rotation. Just like the mobile version, floor mounted hydraulic jib cranes can have an electric hoist or hand pump.
Wall Traveling Jib Crane
A wall traveling jib crane travels along rails that are mounted on the walls of a building or some form of supporting structure. They are designed to use the full space of a building for moving, lifting, and transporting loads. Wall traveling cranes are designed for lateral movement of loads using the vertical lifting mechanism of the crane.
The purpose of wall traveling jib cranes is to make use of the complete working space while saving time and manpower. Their lifting capacity varies between a half ton up to ten tons but can be adjusted and adapted for unique requirements. As with other jib cranes, wall traveling cranes can be an additional feature or addon for overhead cranes.
Ceiling Mounted Jib Cranes
Ceiling mounted jib cranes save on floor space while providing unique lifting force and can be standard single boom jib cranes or be articulate types. They can be immovable stationary mounted or platform mounted such that they can serve multiple workstations. The capacity of ceiling mounted jib cranes is one ton with spans up to 16 feet and a 360° pivot range.
Workstation Jib Crane
Workstation jib cranes are a means for improving productivity while ensuring the safety of workers. Their placement makes it easy for workers to manipulate and position a workpiece as well as move a workpiece onto other applications. Workstation jib cranes come in all of the available mounting configurations to specifically meet the needs of an application.
The majority of workstation jib cranes are freestanding with a standard height of 12 feet and a 360° rotation. Mounting plates vary depending on the capacity of the crane with small jib cranes using square mounting plates with gussets while large capacity ones have hexagonal mounting plates and gussets.
Truck Mounted Jib Cranes
One of the more versatile and widely used jib cranes are truck mounted jib cranes that have all of the functionality of wall or floor mounted jib cranes but with the versatility to be moved to any location regardless of the terrain or weather conditions. Truck mounted jib cranes are made of high tensile strength steel and are bolt mounted to the bed of a trailer or truck bed. They have a telescoping boom that can be positioned to repair power lines, home roofs, light poles, and other difficult to reach locations.
A major use for truck mounted jib cranes is construction. This form of jib crane can be mounted on large trucks and be capable of lifting very heavy loads. They provide construction crews with the tools that enable them to quickly locate and put to use heavy bulky materials.
Leading Manufacturers and Suppliers
Chapter Three – Jib Crane Components
Jib cranes have a basic simple design and construction consisting of a beam and boom with various components added to enhance and simplify the crane's use. Each jib crane has items that have been added to it to fit the needs of the process for which it was designed, with some having trolleys and electrical controls while others are operated by wire ropes, levers, and chains.
There is a long list of factors that go into the design and construction of jib cranes, with each one being an improvement to assist in productivity and the safety of workers. From its basic structure, jib cranes have been engineered, crafted, and manipulated to fit a wide range of lifting applications.
Components of a Jib Crane
The mast is the vertical beam upon which the components of a jib crane rest. They are found in the majority of jib cranes except for wall mounted, wall traveling, column mounted, and ceiling mounted ones. The mast is made of high strength steel and is firmly secured to the floor or walls of a building. They have a sufficient amount of clearance to avoid interference with other processes but can be high enough to be supplemented for overhead cranes or be coordinated with other operations.
Jib cranes with a mast are typically cantilever jib cranes with a full 360° rotation. Their main variation is how they are attached to the floor or walls, with mountings being foundational, sleeve, or plate bolted.
Jib Crane Boom
The boom is the major weight bearing portion of any type of jib crane. It extends out from the mast, wall, ceiling, or a column and is a horizontal beam that is perpendicular to the floor. Contained on the boom is the hoist that is used to lift and move the load. For some versions of jib cranes, the boom is the support along which a trolley moves as it transports a load.
Hoist in a Crane
The hoist is the mechanism that is attached to the boom and does the lifting for a jib crane. The lifting medium and power source are the factors that define a hoist. There is an endless number of hoists for crane systems with each type designed to fit the requirements of an application. Some of the types of hoists are chain, wire rope, and lever or ratchet. Another distinguishing factor for hoists is their power source, which can be manual, electrical, or pneumatic.
Chain hoists use a metal chain as the lifting medium where the chain is pulled through sprockets and placed in a storage container. Of the various types of hoists, chain hoists are the most popular due to their low cost and low maintenance. They can be powered manually, electrically, or pneumatically. The drawback to chain hoists is their low capacity, which restricts their use to lighter weight applications.
Wire Rope Hoist
Wire rope hoists use a wire rope to lift loads. When engaged, the wire rope is retracted around a grooved drum. They have a very fast lifting speed and can lift 10 tons or greater. Wire rope jib crane hoists operate quietly and can be used for severe heavy duty applications.
Manual hoists can be wire rope or chain and used for occasional lifting where speed and quickness are not a factor. One chain on the hoist is for lifting the load while the other chain is pulled hand over hand as manual power. The pulling of the chain turns gears in the hoist to move the chain upward. As the load rises, the chain is deposited in a basket in the lift mechanism.
A lever hoist is another form of manual hoist, but instead of pulling a chain, the operator ratchets a lever. Like the manual chain version, as the lever is moved up and down, the chain is collected into a basket.
The trolley is the motorized method for moving the hoist horizontally along the top or underside of the boom. Trolleys can carry wire rope or chain hoists with a hook attached. They are designed to move the entire length of the boom and are held immovable as the hoist lifts the load. The organization of the cable power supply of a trolley is completed by a festoon system that is a series of trolley like rollers or holders that holds the power cables and follows the path of the trolley.
A festoon system carries cables and power to the trolley along with the boom. There are many types of festoon systems that offer safety and control of power cables. Festoon systems can travel on a C track, square rail, or I beam, which is most common for jib cranes. They protect cables from wear and provide direct contact for components of a jib crane. Festoon systems are mostly used for jib cranes with long booms and heavy duty trolleys.
Power for Jib Cranes
Power for a jib crane can be electrical or pneumatic and have air or power lines at the top of the mast to power the hoist and trolley as well as the rotation of the boom. Push button controls are used to power the motion of the crane, the positioning of the hoist using the trolley, and the lifting motion of the hoist.
The operator controls the crane using a push button pendant system or a wireless system depending on the design of the jib crane. With both systems, the operator controls the lift, positioning, and lowering of the load. Controls are designed to keep the operator out of the path of the load and make it easy for them to manipulate the load.
Rotation stops are safety devices that stop the rotation of the crane before it runs into another device or object. These are necessary if a jib crane is located close to a wall or column. Jib crane stops are permanently welded to the mast of a jib crane to limit its motion. Aside from permanent rotational stops, there are adjustable stops that can be configured to limit the motion of the crane when equipment is near.
Depending on the location of a jib crane, measures may be necessary to protect its mechanism, which include the use of galvanized metals to avoid corrosion, enclosures for potentially explosive applications, and protection against heat, dust, dirt, and moisture.
Chapter Four – Uses for Jib Cranes
The purpose of jib cranes is to reduce and simplify repetitive lifting tasks and limit the amount of manual labor. The different styles of jib cranes make it possible to adapt them to fit the needs of any type of lifting or load bearing application. Jib cranes are one of the most versatile high capacity low cost tools available.
The applications and uses for jib cranes are endless due to their ability to lift awkward heavy loads and place them accurately. They can be found in auto shops for moving engines and on production lines for supplying large parts. Manufacturers are continually designing and perfecting uses for these flexible and reliable tools.
Jib Crane Applications
Jib Cranes in Manufacturing
Jib cranes are a major factor in assembly processes. They are set up at workstations to assist workers with assembly operations and are positioned close to production lines for material handling and transport. Jib cranes have been a major benefit in reducing the strain on employees and improving productivity. The convenience of jib crane operation makes it possible to have supplies readily available such that work can proceed faster and more efficiently.
In production lines, where large pieces of equipment are being assembled, jib cranes are used to move components from one assembly location to another. Their easy operation makes transfers quick and effortless.
Cranes for Shipping
Cranes in several fashions have always been a part of shipping for loading and unloading of ships and trucks. In many cases, the types of cranes are very large and robust with several tons of capacity. In the midst of the massive cranes are jib cranes that can efficiently load and unload boats as well as move materials off the dock or load them onto trucks.
The construction industry is constantly being confronted by the challenges of moving heavy materials into hard to reach locations. These conditions can involve underground foundations and multi-floor buildings. The unique nature of jib cranes makes it possible to shift and place stacks of materials into these hard to reach locations saving manual labor and time as well as enhancing productivity.
Warehousing and Supply Storage
Cranes that are commonly found in warehouses and supply storage locations are gantry and overhead cranes that can move the full length of a complex and lift tremendous loads. Heavy duty and strong cranes are necessary in such operations since they improve the efficiency and speed of material handling. In many warehouses, jib cranes are used as supplements and addons for the larger and more robust cranes. They provide the precision and accuracy needed to put materials on trucks or place them on a production line.
Chapter Five – Crane Classification
When selecting an overhead crane, such as a jib crane, it is important to understand the various crane classifications. The crane industry has developed classifications to assist customers with choosing the most economical, useful, appropriate, and safe crane for their operation. Although highly robust and heavy duty cranes may seem to be the best buy, they may not fit the conditions or types of materials to be moved.
Crane classifications give a brief and concise picture of the capabilities of a crane such that in an instant a customer has a complete picture of a jib crane’s capability.
Jib Crane Cycles and Service Classifications
Class A1 Cranes
Class A1 cranes are labeled standby service cranes and have a low number of lifts per hour. They are designed to handle heavy loads at slow speeds with long down times between cycles. They can be used for the installation of machinery and equipment with a load bearing life of over 1200 hours.
Class A2 is an infrequently used crane that is designed to handle light loads at slow speeds and relative control accuracy. They are rated for a few loads per day with a frequency of two loads per hour and service life of over 1200 hours.
Class B or Light Service Cranes
Class B, or light service cranes, are designed for light loads at slow speeds with loads that vary between no load to full rated loads. They normally move loads at half their capacity with lifts of up to five per hour and a distance of 15 feet. Class B cranes have a load bearing life of over 2000 hours.
Class C Cranes
Class C cranes have a service life of over 5000 hours with lifts of five to ten per hour. They are classified as moderate service cranes with a lift distance of 15 feet with loads at half their capacity. Class C cranes are found in repair shops, paper mills, and machine shops.
Class D Cranes
Class D cranes are referred to as heavy service or constant use cranes since they are designed to make over 20 lifts per hour at high speeds and a lifting distance of 15 feet. Their loads are at 65% of their capacity with a bearing life of over 10,000 hours and with frequent and constant motor starts and stops. Jib cranes in this class are found in heavy industry with substantial and challenging loads.
Class E Cranes
Class E cranes are required to perform extremely heavy duty work in rapidly moving operations. They must be capable of making high speed lifts at a rate of 20 or more per hour with a service life of 20,000 hours. Their loads approach their full capacity rating. Class E jib cranes can be found in mills, production plants, and container handling operations.
Class F Jib Cranes
Class F jib cranes are the workhorses of the crane classes, with 20 or more lifts per hour and service bearing a life of over 20,000 hours. They are constantly lifting loads at or near their capacity with continual repetition and motion. Of the many jib cranes, Class F cranes are the elite of the cranes and are specially constructed for the demands placed on them.
Classification System Summary
The classification system is an ideal way to help customers understand the type of jib crane that will fit their conditions and circumstances. The movement from Class A1 to Class F provides a snapshot of the environment and conditions for which a jib crane is designed and can offer the best service.
Chapter Six – How to Choose a Jib Crane
Jib cranes can improve production, assist in efficiency, and improve workplace safety by performing heavy lifting jobs quickly without the need for manual labor. They are made of heavy duty materials that can handle the stress and grind of constant use. Choosing the exact jib crane for an operation or process requires an understanding of the parameters of an operation and the type of jib crane that will fit those definitions.
Jib Crane Selection Process
The duty cycle of a crane is one of the most important factors that have to be considered during jib crane selection. It is the frequency of the number of times a jib crane will be used as well as the types of loads and the weight of those loads. For proper performance, a jib crane has to be engineered and designed to meet the demands of the duty cycle.
The selection of the wrong jib crane with an incorrect duty cycle can lead to faster wear and frequent breakdowns with a negative impact on a crane's service life.
The normal rotation of a jib crane can be 180° up to 360°, which is true for freestanding and mast style jib cranes. The type of load movement and available work area determines the amount of rotation an application requires.
Height of the Boom
Booms for jib cranes can be placed just below the ceiling, which may not be necessary for all operations. The relationship to obstructions, other equipment, and other cranes will determine the acceptable height of the boom.
Jib Crane Height
Access to a power supply, various obstructions, building configuration, and the requirements of a process are factors that determine the height of a jib crane. Manufacturers work with customers to custom design and engineer jib cranes to meet the existing conditions of a process or operation.
The working span of a jib crane is determined by the length of its boom, which can be tempered by the distance that the trolley travels. The work space and any obstructions restrict the length of the boom.
The power supply for jib cranes can be electrical or pneumatic and must be readily available with easy access. These factors have to be installed, configured, or adjusted prior to the installation of a jib crane. Again, this consideration is a factor that manufacturers address during the initial evaluation of the process.
A jib crane is a lifting device with an arm or boom that extends off the main body of the crane to provide extra reach and has a lattice design to lower the weight added to a load.
Jib cranes can improve production, assist in efficiency, and improve workplace safety by performing heavy lifting jobs quickly without the need for manual labor. They are made of heavy duty materials that can handle the stress and grind of constant use.
The simple design of jib cranes gives them the capability of being installed in any type of work space. They are versatile and adaptable pieces of equipment that can be configured to fit the needs of small work spaces to save workers from lifting cumbersome and bulky materials.
Jib cranes have a basic simple design and construction consisting of a beam and boom with various components added to enhance and simplify the crane's use. Each jib crane has items that have been added to it to fit the needs of the process for which it was designed with some having trolleys and electrical controls while others are operated by wire ropes, levers, and chains.
When selecting an overhead crane, such as a jib crane, it is important to understand the various crane classifications. The crane industry has developed classifications to assist customers with choosing the most economical, useful, appropriate, and safe cranes for their operation.
Leading Manufacturers and Suppliers
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