Crane system terminology

Logistics News, Manufacturing

Crane systems are the foundation for safe and efficient material handling. You need a crane system suited for your material handling needs, and for your facilities. Understanding all varieties of cranes available to you can be challenging, so to make it a bit easier for you we have put together this glossary with the most important crane system terminology.

Articulating crane

An articulating crane means that the crane arm articulates in the centre, allowing rapid back and forth movement of the load. Often also referred to as knuckle arms.

Bridge crane

The bridge is the part of a crane consisting of girders, trucks, end ties, and drive mechanism which carries the trolley or trolleys.

Crane girder

A crane girder is a metal beam on which the crab or hoist head of a traveling overhead crane runs.

Double girder crane

A double girder crane has two bridge girders, and the hoist trolley travels on rails, usually attached to the tops of the crane girder.

Gantry crane

A gantry crane is like an overhead crane, except that the bridge is supported on two or more legs running on fixed rails or another runway.

Jib crane

A crane with a horizontal arm, commonly known as the jib or boom. A jib is an operating arm that extends horizontally from the crane. The role of the jib is to support a moveable hoist fixed to either a wall or pillar mounted on the floor.

Monorail crane

A monorail crane is a simpler alternative to a conventional overhead crane. A monorail crane is most often used to move materials or products within a restricted area. Monorails often follow a straight line through a room, but there are also curved beam designs to improve flexibility.

Overhead crane

An overhead crane, or overhead travelling crane, is a piece of equipment that allows you to lift and move heavy goods from one location to another. An overhead crane has a moveable bridge carrying a moveable or fixed hoisting mechanism and traveling on an overhead fixed runway structure. Each overhead crane is carefully designed and engineered for a specific purpose or application.

Over-braced jib crane

An over-braced jib has a tension member from the top of the pillar to a point about two thirds of the way down the jib arm. This allows the hoist to get as near as possible to the supporting structure giving the maximum effective travel.

Safe Working Load (SWL)

Safe Working Load is the maximum safe force that a piece of lifting equipment or lifting device can exert to lift, suspend, or lower, a given mass without fear of breaking.

Single girder crane

A single girder crane has only one bridge girder, and the hoist trolley operates or travels on the lower flange of the bridge girder.


The crane trolley is the unit which travels on the bridge rails and carries the hoisting mechanism.

Underbraced jib crane

Underbraced jib cranes are ideal for use in facilities with low ceilings or areas where there is an overhead obstruction. Supporting the jib arm from underneath as opposed to from above reduces the overall height of the crane.

Working Load Limit (WLL)

Working Load Limit is the maximum working load designed by the manufacturer. This load represents a force that is much less than that required to make the lifting equipment fail or yield.

Working radius

The radius of the area where tooling suspended in the crane will be able to reach.


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