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Introducing to the world of Crawler CraneA crawler crane is a kind of material handling equipment, one of the biggest construction machines. This type of mobile, self-propelled crane is mounted on track undercarriage. Most probably it originates from a dragline excavator whose shovel has been replaced with a hook. Some crawler cranes can perform both as a crane and as a dragline excavator.
A crawler crane consists of tracks, motor casing, a slewing ring, a control cab, a boom and counterweight. Crawler cranes have telescopic or lattice booms. They can be significantly extended by an auxiliary boom. A crawler crane can move with hanged load. The power comes usually from one internal combustion engine.
The first crawler crane was manufactured in the 1920s in the USA by Northwest Engineering. In 1960 first crawler cranes were equipped with a slewing ring what increased lift capabilities. In 1976 British cranes made by Ransomes & Rapier were introduced fully hydraulic systems.
The use of Crawler Crane in the modern days
Crawler cranes are used for handling very heavy loads, wind turbine construction, high rise building construction or demolition works. They can operate on rough terrain where truck cranes have no access. eg. on sands or peat bogs. They don't require any supporting outriggers. Heavy as a crawler crane is (over 100 tons), thanks to the large track surface area it doesn't exert much pressure on the ground and is surprisingly manoeuvrable. The tracks can even move against each other so that the crane rotates. Unfortunately such cranes mustn't travel on public roads and must be transported by trucks, often unassembled into parts.
The main manufacturers of crawler cranes and other heavy equipment are: American Hoist, Hitachi, IHI, Kobelco, Liebherr, Link-Belt, Manitowoc, Mantis, NCK-Rapier, P&H, Ruston-Bucyrus, Sennebogen, Sumitomo, Terex-Demag and Unic Crane.