A harbour crane is one of the biggest contruction equipment. This kind of material handling equipment is used in ports and shipyards for loading, unloading, repairing and building ships. Port and shipyard cranes are similar to each other. Harbour cranes can be fixed, railed or floating. Their construction enables them to perform several activities at the same time: to lift and sink the load, to rotate, to travel on the rails along the quay and to move the boom.
The first harbour cranes were built already in the Middle Ages. A crane of these times was equipped with a slewing ring. It was set in motion by people walking inside on a treadwheel. Historic dockside cranes are still to be seen in European harbour cities. The oldest one is the 14th century crane over the Motlawa River in Gdansk (Poland). It used to play the double role as a gate of the city fortification and a crane. The crane mechanism is situated between two brick towers. With 4 tons lifting capacity and 11 me lifting height the crane was used for cargo reloading and putting up the ship masts. Other famous and well preserved cranes can be seen in Utrecht (Netherlands), Treves Germany), Bruges (Belgium) and other European harbour cities.
The use of Harbour Crane today
Nowadays there are different kinds of harbour cranes, designed for different working conditions and loads: • gantry crane (bridge crane, overhead crane); • jib crane; • bulk-handling crane; • level-luffing crane; • deck crane (floating crane). Harbour cranes and other heavy equipment is made by Demag, Liebherr, Gottwald, Konecranes, Carl Stahl, GH Intertech etc.