Overhead Cranes 101

If you’re new to the world of overhead crane and hoist mechanisms, you have a lot to learn. Fortunately, the basics aren’t that hard to grasp. While you’ll need to dive deeper into each component, type, and term, today’s brief post can help you get your bearings.

What Does An Overhead Crane And Hoist System Do?

An overhead crane’s job is to lift heavy loads. Instead of utilizing manpower or taking up corridor space, many manufacturing floors utilize an overhead crane and hoist system to move things from one part of the building to the other or to load and unload. Cranes come in all shapes and sizes, and they work to increase safety and efficiency.

The Inner Workings

When you look at an overhead crane and hoist, you can see that essentially it’s a hook and beam system. But, there are many components, including:

Bridge Beam

If you look to the top of the crane, you will see the bridge beam. This is the main beam that the trolley moves around on. It is most often made of steel.


Girders are supports that connect to end trucks, and they are customizable based on capacity, load shape, and size.

End Truck

End trucks support the load, and they may be manual or power.


The hoist component of an overhead crane and hoist is the chain, rope, or wire. Chains are used for loads of less than 10 tons, while wire rope is meant for larger loads. Each has its pros and cons, and your crane and hoist systems application will determine which is best for your business.

Lifting Trolley

The lifting trolley device is built of many pieces itself, including pulleys, a reducer, brakes, a motor, and drums. Your operator will use the lifting trolley to direct the load.

Power Supply

Power supply is a fairly self-explanatory term. However, when you’re talking about cranes, there are many different power supply designs, and cable reels, festoon systems, and conductor bars are the most common.

*This is not a comprehensive list of overhead crane components nor a full explanation of those mentioned

Types Of Overhead Crane And Hoist System

Like most business equipment, there is no single type of crane. There are more than half a dozen different options, and what your business needs depends upon the size of your facility, its intended use, and the direction each load will travel.

A single girder crane is made up of one bridge beam, and its hoist moves along the base of the flange. Similar to a single girder crane, a double girder is different in that it is built with two bridge beams. A gantry crane has four legs, which travel on rails for the loading and unloading process. A monorail crane utilizes an I-beam instead of a bridge or girder. Monorails are useful when loads must zigzag through a building. A jib crane doesn’t require a runway or track system.

Integrity Crane and Hoist encourages everyone new to using crane systems to get familiar with the types of equipment out there and the components they are made of.

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