A Complete Guide to Overhead Cranes 

Overhead cranes, which can also be referred to as bridge cranes, are a larger type of crane that is commonly found in industrial environments, and can lift and lower loads horizontally. It is manufactured with a bridge sitting on end carriages that runs along the steel beams/framework within the building bridging the gap between the two steel beams. A lifting accessory, typically a hoist, will travel along this bridge and conduct the actual lifting and lowering tasks. 

They allow for the moving of extremely heavy or bulkier loads through the space in the overhead of the facility, thereby freeing up space between the aisles within a warehouse or workplace. Overheard cranes offer a unique set of capabilities as compared to our other range of lifting equipment, and below we have provided a complete guide to overhead cranes.

overhead cranes

An example of an overhead crane

What are the different types of overhead crane?

An overhead crane works within a rectangular area, moving loads horizontally. However, overhead cranes can come in range of styles; we explain some of these below.

View our full range of different overhead cranes on sale at Cranes Direct here.

Single girder overhead crane

A single girder overhead crane has two runway beams, a single bridge beam and a lifting mechanism that runs along the bottom of the bridge beam.

Double girder overhead crane

A double girder overhead crane has two bridge beams which are located on the top of the runway beams. They usually also feature a trolley hoist which will run along the top of the bridge beams. This type of overhead crane is also sometimes referred to as a top running crane. These are best used where the safe working load needs to be higher and a wider distance used. As the hoist is placed on top of the crane, this allows for your load to be lifted to a much higher level.

Light crane systems

A lighter overhead crane is similar to other overhead cranes but is smaller and lighter to allow them to be fitted to existing steel work or goalpost structures. They will have a smaller safe working load than other overhead cranes, around 2000Kg, but are great where space may be an issue, they are also available with curved tracks like a monorail.

What applications are overhead cranes typically used for?

Overhead cranes have a range of uses in many different kinds of applications. We have listed some of these below:

  • Assembly: they are useful on an assembly line for moving items through the manufacturing process
  • Transportation: once a product has been finished, overhead cranes are ideal for loading the products up, ready for transportation
  • Storage: as well as loading up products ready for transportation, overhead cranes are also great for moving heavy items in and out of storage
  • Warehousing: as well as for storage, overhead cranes can be used to move products or items in and out of warehouses and docking areas

 overhead crane and hoist

An overhead crane with an electric hoist 

What are the benefits of using an overhead crane?

Overhead cranes have a vast number of advantages: 

Overhead cranes free up space

As these cranes are placed overhead, you do not need to try and free up space within the isles of your workplace. Not only does this allow you more operating space, but it also makes the best use of the rest of the space within your facility. It can also access areas that other items, such as a forklift, might not be able to. 

Overhead cranes optimise safety

An operator can use an overhead crane from a safe distance, eliminating any blind spots that a forklift may have. 

Overhead cranes can handle heavier loads

One of the biggest advantages to using an overhead crane is that they can handle heavier loads than other pieces of lifting equipment, and over a greater distance too. 

Want to know more about overhead cranes?

Listed above are just some of the overhead crane systems that we have on offer at Cranes Direct, and there are many more advantages to be had by using this piece of equipment. If you’re interested to hear more, get in contact with us here.


Image credit: Ruby Chen and Fabian Bruhin

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