Archeologists suggest that the use of crane was known to Greeks of 6th century BC. Holes in the line of the center of gravity of heavy stone blocks used in ancient temples to justify their claims as those holes are the positive evidence of the use of the cranes. Those early cranes were simple machines and powered by men or the beasts of burdens, like asses. Then it went through various changes. Modern age crane was first used in harbors in England, designed and developed by the businessman and industrialist Sir William Armstrong in the year 1838. It was a hydraulic crane. With the industrial revolution, cranes have gone through many changes and developments and their uses also diversified. In the ancient era, cranes were used by the most high-end people like kings and emperors to build palaces and temples. But today cranes are used in business, industry and many other commercial fields in a large scale.
Nowadays they are indispensable in the construction industry, automobile industry, transport business, manufacturing industry, heavy goods handling business, loading and unloading business and so on. With their ability to raise or lower heavy objects and move them horizontally, cranes have become a most popular mechanical support in almost all spheres of industries and businesses. These are designed and are employed according to the requirements. These heavy machines are mainly made of steel and are very strong.
Most Common Cranes those are Very Popular
- Vehicle mounted crane: Almost all cranes are vehicle mounted except some very special ones. These are used to move heavy objects from one place to other and also for towing. These cranes are widely used in the automobile industry, loading and unloading business, manufacturing industry etc. The only drawback with these cranes is that they are not accessible to rough terrains.
- Rough terrain crane: These are suitable for off the road work in uneven areas like river side, rocky and hilly places. These cranes are also mounted on the vehicles with specially designed rubber tires.
- All terrain cranes: These type of cranes serve dual purposes. They are used for both on the road or off the road work. All terrain cranes are mounted on specially designed vehicles with multiple wheels, which are made to move by a strong steel belt. These special wheel arrangements give the crane great stability and balance. Therefore, they are very useful on the road and in building construction industries in varied terrain.
- Tower crane: High rise buildings are very common in metropolitan and satellite cities of the world. Tower cranes are essential and are very popular in construction industries. Their range of raising heavy objects is up to 260 feet and can lower heavy objects as low as 230 feet. They need to be fixed on a strong concrete base with bolts beside the building under construction till construction is over.
- Harbor crane: These cranes are used in the ports for loading and unloading to and from cargo ships. There are many types of harbor cranes. Some are fixed on a strong steel structure while other types have mobility. These type of cranes are used in the shipbuilding industry also.
- Telescopic handler crane: The boom of these cranes can be extended or retracted according to requirement. The boom can rotate to 360 degrees. These cranes are very useful in the industries like building and flyover construction.
- Floating crane: The type of cranes can lift or down heavy objects while floating and are, therefore, indispensable in the construction industries of bridges and ports. They are also used for shifting heavy objects from one ship to another.
Among other types of cranes used by various commercial industries, there are Railroad cranes, Arial cranes, Telescopic cranes, Crawler cranes etc. Cranes are used by all big business houses in almost all the industries where ever heavy objects are required to be handled by a machine, not by men.