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Jib Cranes: What They Are And Why You Should Use Them In Your Facility

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In the world of industry, overhead cranes are the workhorses of fabrication, manufacturing and repair facilities. However, a humbler, but no less important, counterpart is the jib crane. Jib cranes fill an important niche, and in conjunction with overhead cranes, they can transform a workplace into a much more productive environment. Below is more information on jib cranes and some of the advantages they offer to users:

Jib crane – a definition

Jib cranes are among the mechanically-simplest cranes in use. They have just three major components: masts, jibs (or booms) and trolleys. The mast is the vertical support structure, and it holds the boom at a right angle; from the side, a jib crane resembles an upside down letter "L". The trolley rides horizontally back and forth along the boom and contains the hoist, wire rope and lifting hook.

Jib cranes can be further divided into floor-mounted and wall-mounted cranes. Floor-mounted cranes are attached to a fixed support base, usually concrete, while wall-mounted cranes are attached to a structural support or wall. Both have their place in the shop, but their advantages and operation are much the same.

While jib cranes are typically permanently-mounted, some small jib cranes are mounted to vehicles for lightweight tasks. However, the majority of jib cranes that operate within the confines of industrial environments are assigned to handle tasks within their boom radii.

Jib crane advantages

Jib cranes, though simple in design and construction, are important pieces of equipment due to their versatility and strength. Below are several advantages and reasons why facilities of all sizes should own and utilize jib cranes in their operations:

Jib cranes are strong

Jib cranes, even smaller ones, are able to hoist many tons. One reason for their strength is their fixed base; the footings for floor-mounted cranes, for example, are encased in special reinforced concrete foundations. Wall-mounted jib cranes rely on the strength of the building itself. These strong supports provide tremendous strength for jib cranes and remove fears of tipping. In addition, the use of steel I-beams for both masts and booms lends further strength to jib cranes; few other steel beam forms are as well-suited for the work done by cranes.

Jib cranes are reliable

Since jib cranes have so few moving parts, there are also fewer potential breakdown and failure points. Movement around the vertical axis of the mast, trolley positioning and hoisting are the only motions that occur in most jib cranes. The mast-boom joint is fixed, and the structural simplicity of that connection eliminates troubles that might occur with booms that raise and lower.

Jib cranes are easy to use

Another advantage of significance for jib cranes is their ease of use. By eliminating multiple axes of movement, crane operators only need to be concerned about the rotational movement of the boom, trolley travel, and hoist lifting and lowering.  Controls are usually of the wired pendant-type, which allows for straightforward push-button operation by users. These factors help prevent confusion and potential accidents that might occur with a more complex piece of hoisting equipment.

Jib cranes provide transitional lifting benefits

Overhead bridge cranes excel at moving loads across the shop from one end to the next, and they can be used for precise maneuvering if needed. However, their use at an individual workstation can be problematic, especially if others are also dependent upon its availability. In addition, the use of an overhead crane in localized applications is often simply a matter of being "too much crane" for the task at hand.

Jib cranes, on the other hand, are quickly and nimbly able to move loads within a smaller area. They can be located in multiple areas across the facility, and individual workers can gain access to them as needed.  Jib cranes are well-suited for loading vehicles, moving equipment to and from benches, and other tasks that might be repetitive.

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