10 Fun Facts About Industrial Cranes

10 Fun Facts About Industrial Cranes

Whether you’re working within the rigging industry or not, cranes have become a very large part of people’s lives. Cranes have become a part of our cities skylines, even if you haven’t noticed it! They are such an integral part of construction and development that they can sometimes blend right into the background. They are massive tools that make the existence of much of our infrastructure possible.

A crane bird

Since cranes are such a large but underappreciated part of not only our industry but community, we thought it would be fun to share 10 fun facts you may not have known about cranes. Read on to learn more!

1. Cranes are Named After the Bird

If you google the word crane, you’ll get a mixture of lifting cranes and this fun looking bird, also called a crane! Have you ever wondered why these two share a name? It’s because lifting cranes were actually named after the bird. Crane birds are tall and slender, bendy, and quick with their beaks, so lifting cranes got their name because early crane manufacturers thought they looked like these birds – do you agree?

2. Cranes were Invented in Ancient Greece

The first crane was built by the Ancient Greeks in 500 BC. The first crane was a primitive, wooden form powered by humans and animals, used to pull heavy objects and construct many of the beautiful structures that existed in Ancient Greece. One of the Greek’s most famous buildings, the Parthenon, shows evidence of cranes used in its construction.

3. Jibs Changed the Game

In the Middle Ages, what we know now as a Jib was added to the Greek crane which allowed the crane’s arm to move horizontally and not just vertically! Following this advancement, cranes began to first be used in harbors to unload cargo from ships – something that modern cranes are still doing now. By the sixteenth century, cranes were built with two treadmills, one on each side of a rotating housing containing the boom.

4. From Wood to Steel

As mentioned above, the earliest cranes in ancient Greece were made of wood which did the trick back in the day but wouldn’t have the strength to stand up against some of the jobs modern cranes take on today. Now, cranes are usually manufactured using steel.

5. The First Powered Cranes Were Powered by Steam

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, cranes still relied on human or animal power. What changed that? The invention of the steam engine! This technology was introduced to cranes and allowed them to be powered by a motor. By the end of the nineteenth century, internal combustion engines and electric motors were used to power cranes.

6. Cranes Build Themselves!

That’s right, cranes oftentimes build themselves. The only thing large enough and strong enough to build cranes, is other cranes. With the help of workers, operators use the crane to attach vital pieces of equipment. Sometimes cranes will literally build themselves placing pieces onto itself once the control panel is up and running – how cool is that!

7. There are Many Different Types of Cranes

Different types of cranes can be found on almost any construction project, each one specializing in its own specific task. Here are just a few of the most popular ones:

  • Mobile Cranes – A mobile crane is a cable-controlled crane mounted on crawlers or rubber-tired carriers or a hydraulic-powered crane with a telescoping boom mounted on truck-type carriers or as self-propelled models.
  • Carry Deck Crane – A carry deck crane is a small 4 wheel crane with a 360 degree rotating boom housed in the center of the machine.
  • Crane Vessel – A crane vessel, crane ship or floating crane is a ship with a crane specialized in lifting heavy loads. The largest crane vessels are used for offshore construction.
  • Rough Terrain Crane – As the name implies, these cranes are used for pick and carry operations off-road and on rough terrains.

8. The Current Largest Crane in the World

The SGC – 250, the Sarens Giant Crane also known as ‘Big Carl’, is a 250,000t/m heavy crane designed to sgc-250 craneaccommodate the heavy lifting requirements for refinery, oil and gas, mining, offshore platform, and third-generation components for nuclear power plants.

Built in 2015, this crane has a maximum lift capacity of 5,000-tons and features a 118m – 160.5m main boom configuration with a 40.5m – 99.5 m heavy-duty jib configuration. It operates on a 48.5m outer ring and requires a 5,200-ton counterweight. The jib can be extended up to 100 meters, giving it a maximum height of 250 meters (820 feet) and radius 275 meters (902 feet).

The SGC – 250 can operate on two different blocks at the same time—One on the main boom and one on the jib. The crane’s main hook block weighs 105 tonnes and has a safe working load (SWL) of 3,200 tonnes while the jib hook weighs 58 tonnes and has an SWL of 1,600 tonnes.

9. The Strongest Mobile Crane

Designed by Liebherr, located in Switzerland, the mobile crane, LTM 11200-9.1, is the strongest telescopic LTM 11200-9.1 cranemobile crane in the market and offers the world’s longest telescopic boom. It has a maximum lift capacity of 1,200-tons, a maximum hoisting height of 188 meters (616 feet) and a maximum radius of 136 meters (446 feet) – This is over the length of a football field! 

Some of the features found on the LTM 11200-9.1 are:

  • 100m long telescopic boom and 22m telescopic boom extension.
  • Lifting capacity of 65-tons at the 100m long, suspended telescopic boom.
  • 126m long luffing fly jib.
  • 60.5m long fixed jib, optionally hydraulically adjustable.
  • Fast and easy crane assembly with little required space.
  • Active, speed dependent rear-axle steering (all axles can be steered).
  • Economical transportation.

The LTM 11200-9.1 has been used to assemble larger portal cranes, radio towers, absorber columns, and wind power generators. When fully-loaded the base of the vehicle drives with slewing platforms, luffing cylinder and all four folding beams—With all of these elements, it will weigh in at over 100-tons. However, dismantling these elements is easy to do, making it so you only have to travel with what will be used on the job. Doing this can lessen the total weight to 34-tons, making it much more economical to transport.

10. Cranes can be Dangerous

As much as we admire the beauty and versatility of cranes – At the end of the day, they are a very large and potentially dangerous piece of machinery. Failure to follow safe lifting practices can lead to serious personal injury and cause damage to equipment and facilities. However, with proper training, inspections & maintenance, and workplace protocol you can greatly reduce the likelihood of many safety hazards. Hercules SLR can help with that!

We’re your one-stop-shop. Would you make three different stops in the morning to get your sugar, milk, and grounds for your morning coffee? Of course not—Why should your crane service be any different?

Hercules SLR offers crane certifications & LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance (so you can pass those inspections!) and crane parts & accessories like wire rope slings, hoists & whatever else you need to lift.

Have a type of crane you need to be serviced, but we didn’t cover it here? Give us a call—We service anything. 

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

What’s a Banksman? An Important Rigging Role

What’s a Banksman? An Important Rigging Role

Have you ever needed to back your vehicle out of a difficult position and had a friend grab a better vantage point to guide you? In these situations, you may be able to hear your guide – but oftentimes rely on them signaling you to move, turn, or stop using hand signals.

Now, imagine that on the scale of operating a crane! A crane operator can’t hear you. So when your team removes an old rooftop unit and positions a new one, the people on the ground and on the rooftop must use established hand signals to communicate safely with the crane operator – that’s the role of the banksman! Of course, that’s boiling it down a bit, but largely the banksman is in charge of crane movements from the point of loading to unloading. A banksman may also control the movements of other equipment such as an excavator, by carefully monitoring the bucket for any obstructions or underground services. They often do this using a system of hand signals along with possibly a radio system.

Why the Worksite Needs a Banksman 

The role of the banksman is one of the most important roles on the worksite. Ask any crane operator and they will tell you that one of the main factors for a successful project is coordination. Working in-sync with your team on the ground is not only crucial for safety but can help your project run smoothly, on schedule and keep the boss happy. With absolute precision and accuracy needed for a job, being able to clearly communicate direction is critical – but this is not always an easy task.

It’s easy to imagine needing to use hand signals when communicating to the crane operator, but they are also needed on the ground. Construction sites can be exceptionally loud and busy, meaning verbal communication is at risk of being drowned out by roaring machinery.

As the eyes and the ears of a dedicated area or crane, a banksman carries many responsibilities.  Before a person can direct the operation of a crane they must first undergo formal training and complete a qualification in crane signaling. In training, a person will not only develop an understanding of standard hand signals, but they will also be required to become familiar with many different types of cranes, how each crane functions and any hand signals specific to particular equipment. The trainee banksman is required to grasp an understanding of the large library of signals without any memory prompts and show competence in recalling these during an examination by a third-party provider.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard method of signaling must be used when operating a crane unless non-standard hand signals are discussed during the pre-job meeting. OSHA enforces standards and training requirements for safe working environments across multiple industries, including construction in the United States.

Train to be a Rigger Slinger Banksman with Hercules Training Academy 

OVERVIEW

This training course provides students with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of lifting and rigging to enable them to prepare, sling and release loads in an offshore environment. This is a 3-day program that combines theory and practical training. Students are evaluated by means of a written test and practical evaluation. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued.

This program meets and exceeds the standards for offshore rigging set by:

CONTENT 
  • Regulations, standards, associations
  • Risk management
  • Rigging plan
  • Calculating load weight
  • Rigging triangle
  • Load control
  • Sling angles and the center of gravity
  • Rigging equipment (slings, hitches, hardware, hooks)
  • Pre-use inspection
  • Duties & responsibilities of the rigger and banksman
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Personnel transfer
  • Container inspection
  • Practical applications of the equipment and principles

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF

*PPSSTTTT… If you’re from or near Mount Pearl, NL, this course will be offered on Sep 28-30. Contact training@herculesslr.com for more info or to register! 

Keeping the Worksite Safe

The banksman is also responsible for preventing injury and accidents to the best of their ability, this is done by following strict procedure during crane operation, for instance standing in clear view of the crane operator, ensuring the operating area is clear of people or hazardous objects and performing one signal at a time to avoid confusion.

Safety is the number one concern for crane operators, a person performing the hand signals stand at a vantage point which allows them to view the load area from a perspective that is not visible to the crane operator. From this point, the signal person is able to confirm whether a maneuver is safe to perform and halt all activity if they observe a potential risk.

Cranes have incredible capabilities however if operated incorrectly, they can pose a significant danger to construction workers on the site and in some cases the public.  Hand signals have been established as a reliable, low tech and universal way to improve safety during operation and avoid accidents.

The Hand Signals

This age-old technique is used by crane operators across the world, aiding them to accurately receive unmistakable directions without the need for fancy equipment or even words!

Download your Hercules, handy reference sheet illustrating the correct hand signals here

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF OSHA STANDARD METHOD HAND SIGNALS.


Rigging Through History | Skyscraper Appreciation Day

Rigging Through History | Skyscraper Appreciation Day

Did you know that today, August 10th, is Skyscraper Appreciation day? There really is a holiday for everything! Skyscraper Appreciation Day is recognized on August 10 as it is the birthday of the famous architect William Can Alen, who is the genius behind the construction of the Chrysler Building, which is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks. Skyscraper Appreciation Day was initiated and founded by Dr. Tom Stevens – It was created so that the general public could admire the structural and architectural brilliance of skyscrapers and man’s ability to construct industrial masterpieces!

What is a Skyscraper?

Coming across a very tall building within a city is no longer something extraordinary – with more people and less space, it’s becoming more and more prevalent to take advantage of vertical space, and build up!

Terms such as “tall building”, “high-rise” and skyscraper are often used interchangeably to describe any and all tall buildings, but there is actually a difference between a tall building and a true “skyscraper”.

Three main criteria a building must meet to be a true skyscraper are the following:

  1. The structure must be self-supporting and not require tension cables or supports in order to remain standing.
  2. The structure must have habitable floor space which occupies at least 50% of the structure’s total height.
  3. The Structure must be a minimum height of 150 metres (492 feet).

Check out this video from The B1M by Dan Cortese to learn a bit more about this. 

The First Skyscrapers

Tall buildings and especially skyscrapers used to be something to marvel over as extraordinary feats of construction. Though they still are today – imagine how amazing the very first skyscrapers were following a time when construction of that nature and scale simply seemed impossible!

The very first range of tall commercial buildings built between 1884 and 1945 mostly located in New York City and Chicago. Economic growth in the United States following the Civil War caused increased intensive use of urban land, which made the switch from low-rise buildings to the development of taller buildings. As well, technological improvements made the construction of these buildings possible with the development of fireproofed iron-framed structures, deep foundations, elevators, and electric lighting.

The Home Insurance Building

Though it wouldn’t fit into modern skyscraper standards, the first towering skyscraper of the 1800s was Chicago’s 42 meter (138 ft) tall Home Insurance Building. The Home Insurance Building was located on the corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in Chicago, Illinois, and was designed by engineer William LeBaron Jenney. The building was supported by steel frame, revolutionary for the time, which allowed for it’s much greater height and stability.

The Home Insurance buildings was first completed in 1885, and it originally had 10 stories. During its construction, city authorities were so worried that the building would topple over that they halted construction for a period of time so that they could ensure its safety. Five years later, after being sure the 10 stories were firmly planted on the ground, 2 additional floors were added to the top, making it a total height of 55 meters (180 ft). The Home Insurance Building stood tall until 1931, when it was demolished to make way for another skyscraper, the Field Building (now known as the LaSalle Bank Building).

This achievement paved the way for a group of architects and engineers called the Chicago School who together went on to develop the modern skyscraper, though New York would later become more known for taking skyscrapers to new heights.

Rigging Through History | The First Elevators

As we mentioned above, a few technological advancements truly made skyscrapers possible. The two essential advancements were the steel frame and the safety elevator. While the development of the steel frame is widely known and covered, the development of the first elevators in sometimes undefeated and overlooked.

The first passenger elevator installed in 1857 at the Haughwout Department Store in New York, it was shut down after just three years because customers refused to accept it. At the time, elevators were more of a tourist attraction than a means of transportation. The world didn’t have many tall buildings yet, and lower floors were the most desirable because they didn’t require you to climb many stairs. At that time, higher floors were valued less, and cost less rent!

Once elevators were fully developed and excepted, an the era of the skyscraper truly began and so did the idea of the modern city. These elevators were powered by a steam engine in the basement of buildings and it traveled at a mere 40 feet per minute. (Today’s fastest elevators can travel upwards of 40 feet per second.) Though these types of passenger elevators were new for the time, the elevator wasn’t an entirely new idea. Mechanized hoisting devices had existed since the early 1800s, and essentially that system just transitioned from carrying goods to carrying people. This did, of course, require some major updates to the mechanism as these early hoisting setups were open platforms and therefore very dangerous for passengers – but all in all, elevators are essentially just a hoisting system!

This was the beginning of learning how to take basic systems like a hoisting system and make it safe, which in turn, began the social interest in safety within innovations of this nature. Industrialist Elisha Otis, who installed the first passenger elevator in New York, held a public demonstration at the 1854 world’s fair in New York where he hoisted a platform above the crown then cut the cable with an ax, showing that the platform still did not fall. His system had a safety mechanism so if the rope snapped, a ratchet would pop open and catch on racks that ran alongside the shaft, stopping descent almost immediately.

Modern Skyscrapers

Inspired by the B1M video, Top 20 Projects Completing in 2020,  we wrote a blog at the beginning of the year where we dove into some of the most mind-boggling construction marvels that were set to complete this year. Amongst some of those projects, were some of the world’s tallest modern skyscrapers. Here are a few of those feats of construction!

1. Central Park Tower

Central Park Tower, tallest residential building in the world.

New York City, New York 

Once completed, this architectural landmark will be 1,550 feet tall making it the tallest residential building in the world. The building is positioned in one of the world’s most famous skylines, along Manhattan’s Billionaire Row, with a North-facing view of beautiful Central Park. Once completed the building is set to house 179 of the most exclusive homes in the world.

Designed by a top architectural firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the tower features elements of glass, satin-finished steel, and light-catching vertical and horizontal details that are designed to accentuate both texture and light. At the base of the tower, will be Nordstrom’s first full-line department store and the building will also feature one of the world’s most exclusive private clubs, Central Park Club.

The 179 ultra-luxury two-to-eight-bedroom residences begin on the 32nd floor of the building and range in size from 1,435 square feet to over 17,500 square feet. The sale of these residences begin this year and start at $6.9 million.


2. Premier Tower

Melbourne, Australia

Frame capture of dancers from Beyonce’s ‘Ghost’ music video – The inspiration for Premier Tower.

Premier Tower is one of Melbourne’s tallest and most prestigious developments, best known for how it was inspired…by Beyonce’s music video ‘Ghost’ (yes, you read that correctly) which features dancers tightly wrapped in fabric. Designed by Elenberg Fraser, this elegantly designed high-rise sits on an island across from the city’s main train terminal. once completed this year, the building will include at least 1 million square feet of space, comprising of 780 apartments, 180 hotel suites, 78 levels, 139 car parks and a variety of communal spaces including lounges, swimming pools, gyms, and dining areas.

Mimicking the curves seen in the dancers above using glass, concrete, and steel, as you’d imagine, is no walk in the park. The building has a very slender structure, with the ratio of height to a structural width of 8.3 from the ground up, with a much more challenging 10.8 above the podium. To maintain the building’s stability while moving in the wind, mega-columns on the façade maximize the width of the stabilizing structure and these are tied to the core by two-or three-story outriggers concealed in party walls, and secondary outriggers at the mid-height plant floor. These mega-columns are sized to be able to carry both gravity and the wind’s load – which were tested extensively in a wind tunnel to ensure they would be successful in doing this.


3. Australia 108

Melbourne, Australia

Rendering of the Australia 108, tallest residential building in the Southern Hemisphere

Australia 108 is a residential skyscraper in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, Australia. Late last year, in November of 2019, it was topped out and become the tallest building in Australia by roof height and second tallest building by full height – This makes it the highest residence in the southern hemisphere. Construction on the $900 million skyscraper commenced in October 2015 and is just getting those final touches going into 2020.

Once completed the building is set to house 1105 residential units over 100 stories. The building recently broke records for the most expensive apartment ever sold in Australia, when they sold the 750-square meter penthouse for $25 million.

Fun Fact: In the initial plans for the Australia 108 included 108 stories, but had to be reduced to 100 following concerns it would interfere with airplane flight paths – Now that’s a tall building! 

Nobody describes this breathtaking feat of construction quite like it’s architect…

“Australia 108 is a highly sculptural residential tower unlike any other in Australia. Its slender form is highlighted at the Cloud Residences levels by a golden starburst expression and then morphs into a curvaceous profile against the sky. The starburst which contains the resident facilities is inspired by the Commonwealth Star on the Australian flag and is an obvious celebration of the sense of community within the building.” – Fender Katsalidis


4. PWC Tower

Milan, Italy

Rendering of PwC Tower by Struttura Leggera

Milan is known for its fashion, elegance and cutting edge architecture – And the PWC Tower fits perfectly into those expectations, if not blowing them totally out of the water. Standing at 175-metres this skyscraper designed by Studio Libeskind is slated for completion in 2020!

Dubbed, “Il Curvo” (translation: The Curved One…doesn’t sound quite as fancy)  is known for the way its prismatic outline catches the eye as it leans forward into the Tre Torri Square with arching steel and glass. It accompanies two neighboring skyscrapers within Tre Torri Square, the already completed Allianz Tower, and Generali Tower.

While the buildings don’t directly match in the way one might expect, Studio Libeskind principal Yama Karim explains in an interview for AchiExpo e-Magazine, “these towers were always conceived as a group, I see them as chess pieces, in dialogue with one another. Our tower completes the composition”.

No matter how BIG or small the project – Hercules SLR is here to support you every step of the way.

Hercules SLR is your source for cranes, hoists, wire rope, fall arrest equipment and much, much more. We also provide equipment rentals and perform inspections, repairs, and certifications, at your business or in one of our fully-equipped shops. Need assistance staying safety compliant? Our experienced consultants help with risk assessment, PPE specification, hazard analysis, fall protection, and incident investigation. Other services include the design and installation of horizontal lifelines, vertical lifelines and anchor points.

Hercules SLR is your one-stop-shop for securing, rigging and lifting!


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.