Gantry cranes are typically used in applications that require a mobile crane for multiple functions. Because of their versatility, gantry cranes are frequently used in many industries. In the maintenance and repair operations industries, this versatility is crucial because the lifting often occurs in multiple places throughout the facility or even at different locations.
Gantry cranes are usually manufactured using three main components: an I-beam or wide-flange beam and two support legs in a basic A-frame shape. A gantry crane design differs from a standard jib crane because jib cranes are generally manufactured with one support point at the base of the mast, unlike gantry cranes that use both gantry legs to support the load. Another important aspect of the gantry design is the mobility provided by attaching caster assemblies to the end of the gantry legs, which allow the gantry to be easily rolled from one location to another.
In fact, when using the correct caster assemblies for your specific application, one or two workers can easily push the crane manually. Because gantry cranes can support the load without being permanently mounted to building supports or foundations, gantry cranes are an ideal option for maintenance and repair operations both inside and outside of the facility.
Although maintenance and repair applications vary from each specific operation, the environment where the crane will be used determines which gantry crane is best for your application. Gantry cranes that will only be used indoors are easy to move virtually anywhere within your facility for quick maintenance and repair. Depending on the capacity and which casters are used, one or two workers can easily push the gantry crane and lift components wherever needed. Indoor gantry cranes typically use polyurethane caster assemblies, but they can also be track mounted for manual or motorized travel over a fixed path and even equipped with Nylacron casters, which are typically used as a cost-effective alternative to motorized travel. However, because most maintenance and repair applications do not use the same exact fixed path, portable or relocatable gantry cranes are often the more ergonomic option.
Depending on the needs of the specific application, there are several gantry cranes to choose from for both indoor and outdoor use. Below are two popular applications and the best gantry crane for each operation:
Engine or Electrical Maintenance and Repair
For facilities that perform equipment maintenance and repairs on vehicles and machinery, an adjustable steel gantry crane is a perfect solution. In these facilities, workers often need to remove heavy components, like an engine or transmission, from inside a vehicle. Regardless of whether the vehicle is an automobile, rail car, or transit vehicle, lifting components from larger vehicles is extremely difficult without using a material handling solution.
Adjustability and mobility are key for the engine or electrical maintenance and repair industries. Adjustable gantry cranes are often adjustable in three areas: height, span, and tread width. For example, a transit company that needs to lift heavy components from rail cars can use a three-way adjustable gantry crane because it can be easily maneuvered around the rail car and adjusted to lift from virtually any position.
With their stable design, gantries allow the I-beam to self-center over the load. In fact, depending on the gantry type, the I-beam can even be cantilevered up to four feet past the end of the I-beam. This cantilever allows the gantry crane to reach into machinery and lift whatever is required. The A-frame leg design also improves stability by minimizing swaying.
HVAC Maintenance and Repair
HVAC applications often require using a lifting system that is both highly mobile and lightweight. Although steel gantry cranes are easily transported inside a facility, a steel gantry crane isn’t exactly easy to load and unload from a service vehicle, not to mention transporting it to a roof. For these applications, an aluminum gantry crane is the perfect solution. Aluminum gantry cranes are easy to load and unload from a service vehicle and transport wherever required. Two workers can easily assemble the aluminum gantry crane in a few minutes. Lifting up to 3 tons, aluminum gantry cranes are an excellent material handling solution for workers who install, repair, or maintain HVAC equipment on rooftops or other isolated locations.
Aluminum gantry cranes also provide adjustable heights and spans, making them as versatile as needed to lift on uneven surfaces or to maneuver in tight spaces. Aluminum gantry cranes can also be customized with pneumatic tires, which allow the aluminum gantry crane to be easily transported outdoors and on virtually all rooftop surfaces.