There are so many factors to consider when buying a crane. We have summarised everything you need to consider into our infographic and article below, which should prove invaluable in the process.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Crane

Buyers infographic guide - Factors to Consider When Buying a Crane
Click here to view the full infographic

Define your requirements before buying a crane

First of all, before buying a crane and approaching the manufacturers, it is important to define and document all of your requirements. The more carefully you consider and understand what you need the likelier you are to buy it. We have summarised some aspects to consider below:

  • Longevity – Think about how long you intend to keep the crane, e.g. 5 to 10 years (maybe even longer)
  • Budget – Calculate a budget and the capital outlay and also the amount of depreciation to charge to P&L each year
  • Need for mobility – Is there a need for the crane to be moved? Will the crane be used indoors only, outdoors only or maybe both?
  • Building restrictions – Does your building impose any restrictions, e.g. are the dimensions of the building adequate (width, height and length). Any obstructions should be identified; these could include overhead limitations, columns and walls. If 360 degree movement is important, will this be available? Buy a crane, which complies with your building restrictions or possibly consider building alterations work
  • Building environment – Will the building temperature be OK, i.e. are there any extremes of heat (e.g. furnace) or cold (e.g. refrigeration). Is the building prone to contaminants – things like grease, shavings from metal and wood, airborne particulates, etc.?

Likely crane usage

It’s also important to consider before buying a crane how it will be used:

  • Usage – Will the crane be used daily, weekly, monthly or less frequently?
  • Likely loads – What are the loads likely to be? Mainly small loads, a mix or frequently heavy loads? Try to calculate your maximum load and buy a crane which comfortably exceeds this load lifting capability
  • Terrain – Is the terrain rough or smooth (particularly for outdoor use)?
  • Specialist tasks – If any specialist lifting tasks are required make sure these are understood and discussed with the supplier. Specialist tasks can often depend on the type of materials being lifted

Document required features

Next document a list of features you require from the crane, this will include:

  • Power type – Is a fuel powered (LPG, diesel or petrol) or electric crane preferred, or maybe a crane with both?
  • Capacity – A very important factor to establish is the maximum capacity the crane will be subject to lifting? Include in this weight accessories like hooks and slings. The crane purchased should include load limiters wherever possible
  • Any special requirements – Are there any special or unusual needs?
  • Technology – What technology is desired? This could include WiFi / internet capability, LCD screens (including high resolution), remote controls and safety features (e.g. indicators)
  • Type of control – Is control to be through remote or cabin?
  • Manual/motor – Is a manual or motorised crane preferred?

Working through the above will have implications on the type of crane purchased, e.g. an overhead crane, jib crane, etc.

Calculate the TCO of your crane

The TCO (total cost of ownership) is important to consider when buying a crane as well. Calculate this over the term you expect to keep the crane, which you will have considered previously. Although important the purchase price is not the “be all and end all” and may only be a small proportion of the lifetime costs. Also calculate servicing, repair and running costs as well as the need to train staff. Where building alterations are required include these too.

Crane repairs

The ability to service and repair the crane over the lifetime of its use is critical. Always ask the manufacturer if parts will be readily available over a 5 to 10 year period, make parts availability contractual if possible. Also investigate how convenient/easy it is to maintain the crane (e.g. lubrication); can much of the basic maintenance be through in-house staff with only occasional use of external expertise?

Warranties and certifications

Paperwork to back up the crane is always desired. Always buy a crane which is CE certified (for EU purchases), ISO9001 accreditation is very positive when evaluating a crane manufacturer. As a minimum seek a 12-month warranty and inspect what is included within the warranty.

The importance of after sales support

A crane is a long-term purchase and therefore long-term after sales support will be needed. The after sales support available will be a buying consideration. Work with a supplier who you feel you can trust, ideally one who you can read references from. Calculate the cost of support and look for any hidden extras.

Crane downtime can be very costly so always understand how quickly a crane can be repaired and would a loan crane be available in the interim? The support of a dedicated Account Manager could be invaluable in the long-term in the smooth management of issues relating to your crane.

Buy with confidence

If you factor all of the above into your crane purchase we are confident you will be onto a winning purchase. Read through this article and our supporting infographic to make a great crane purchasing decision. Call us at Cranes Direct on 01384 76961 to discuss your next crane purchase.

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