TOWER CRANE Tower cranes are a common fixture at any major construction site.

They are pretty hard to miss - they often rise hundreds of feet into the air, and can reach out just as far. The construction crew uses the tower crane to lift steel, concrete, large tools like acetylene torches and generators, and a wide variety of other building materials. Tower Crane Image Gallery

Tower cranes can rise 150 feet in the air and lift up to 19 tons. See more pictures of tower cranes. When you look at one of these cranes, what it can do seems nearly impossible: Why doesn't it tip over? How can such a long boom lift so much weight? How is it able to grow taller as the building grows taller? If you have ever wondered about how tower cranes work, then this article is for you. In this article, you'll find out the answers to all of these questions and more! Parts of a Tower Crane All tower cranes consist of the same basic parts: • The base is bolted to a large concrete pad that supports the crane. • The base connects to the mast (or tower), which gives the tower crane its height. • Attached to the top of the mast is the slewing unit -- the gear and motor -- that allows the crane to rotate:

On top of the slewing unit are three parts: • The long horizontal jib (or working arm). which contains the crane's motors and electronics as well as the large concrete counter weights: . which is the portion of the crane that carries the load. A trolley runs along the jib to move the load in and out from the crane's center: • The shorter horizontal machinery arm.

as shown here: .• The operator's cab: The machinery arm contains the motor that lifts the load. along with the control electronics that drive it and the cable drum.

8 tons (18 metric tons). the more weight the crane can lift safely.3 metric tons) The maximum load that the crane can lift is 18 metric tons (39. • Maximum reach . How Much Weight Can They Lift? A typical tower crane has the following specifications: • Maximum unsupported height . but the crane cannot lift that much weight if the load is positioned at the end of the jib.265 feet (80 meters) The crane can have a total height much greater than 265 feet if it is tied into the building as the building rises around the crane. 300 tonnemeters (metric ton = tonne) • Counterweights .20 tons (16.690 pounds).19. The closer the load is positioned to the mast.The motors that drive the slewing unit are located above the unit's large gear: Now let's find out how much weight this equipment can handle. .230 feet (70 meters) • Maximum lifting power .

these are the pad measurements for the crane shown here. For example. The crane uses two limit switches to make sure that the operator does not overload the crane: • The maximum load switch monitors the pull on the cable and makes sure that the load does not exceed 18 tonnes.3 meters) and weighs 400. you'll learn how tower cranes "grow. if the operator positions the load 30 meters (100 feet) from the mast.why don't these structures fall over.The 300 tonne-meter rating tells you the relationship. Now. it would be a pretty big problem if one of these things fell over on a job site. Let's find out what keeps these massive structures standing upright.000 pounds (182. This pad typically measures 30 feet by 30 feet by 4 feet (10 x 10 x 1. the crane can lift a maximum of 10. Why Don't They Fall Over? When you look at a tall tower crane.000 kg) -. Large anchor bolts embedded deep into this pad support the base of the crane: So these cranes are essentially bolted to the ground to ensure their stability.1 tonnes. A cat head assembly in the slewing unit can measure the amount of collapse in the jib and sense when an overload condition occurs." How Do They Grow? . In the next section. the whole thing seems outrageous -. especially since they have no support wires of any kind? The first element of the tower crane's stability is a large concrete pad that the construction company pours several weeks before the crane arrives. • The load moment switch makes sure that the operator does not exceed the tonne-meter rating of the crane as the load moves out on the jib.

The mast rises from this firm foundation. triangulated lattice structure. The mast is a large. The crew uses a mobile crane to assemble the jib and the machinery section.2 meters) square. The triangulated structure gives the mast the strength to remain upright.Tower cranes arrive at the construction site on 10 to 12 tractor-trailer rigs. typically 10 feet (3. and places these horizontal members on a 40-foot (12-m) mast that consists of two mast sections. . The mobile crane then adds the counterweights.

The crew detaches the slewing unit from the top of the mast. Here's the process: 1. The crane operator uses the crane to lift another 20-foot mast section into the gap opened by the climbing frame. the crane grows itself one mast section at a time! The crew uses a top climber or climbing frame that fits between the slewing unit and the top of the mast. Once bolted in place. The crew hangs a weight on the jib to balance the counterweight. Large hydraulic rams in the top climber push the slewing unit up 20 feet (6 m). the crane is 20 feet taller! 2. . 3.To rise to its maximum height.

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the tower can be erected to its full height at the beginning of the project or the crane can have the mechanical capability. the process is reversed -.Once the building is finished and it is time for the crane to come down. allowing for the addition of structural sections to the tower. to raise itself. usually hydraulically. By the use of another (mobile) crane.the crane disassembles its own mast and then smaller cranes disassemble the rest. Fixed Base Tower Cranes The fixed base-type tower crane has its tower mounted on a foundation block. Factors Affecting the Choice of Crane Location Tower Crane 1 Tower Crane 2 Two Cranes Crane Locations .

Machine-climbing arrangement 6. lift height and radius of the heaviest loads 2. Assemble the telescopic cage section on top of basic mast 3. dimensions. 6. 2. 5. Other normal procurement factors such as price. reputation and service back-up of manufacturer/ agent Site Planning Effective site planning is an important element for the successful completion of a construction project. Area which must be reached 9. one with a working radius of 35m and the other of 65m (both with lifting capacity of 4 tonnes) Selection Criteria for Tower Cranes The choice and utilization of a tower crane requires considerable planning. Cast a concrete base for the basic mast of the crane with timber formwork 2. a number of constraints are imposed for the construction activities. Frequency and duration of usage 3. Tower cranes are selected for use based on factors such as: 1. Hoisting speed of the crane 10. Available headroom which can be developed 8. when selecting a crane for a particular project. Weight of crane supported by the structure 7. Therefore.1. Weight. Since the site of this project is located on steep slopes and in congested urban area. It showed reach from its fixed position to all locations from which loads are to be lifted and placed. 3. 4. Maximum coverage of work area Maximum load to be hoisted Strength and design of crane base Presence of adjacent possible obstruction during swinging Magnitude of wind load effect on the boom or load Visibility of crane operator Two fixed base tower cranes on concrete base were set up on-site. Assemble the top mast section just under the mast cabin on top of cage section . the engineer must ensure that the weight of the expected loads can be handled at their corresponding required radius. Maximum braced height of the crane 5. Maximum free-standing height of the crane 4. The issues to be considered under 'Site Planning' include: • • • • Site Constraints Site Layout Site Drainage Site Services 1. Length of cable that the hoist drum can carry 11.

Erect the section of top tower containing the mast cabin above top mast section 5. The tower has a bottom hinge and folds over and then lays down. Hang the jib trolley on the main jib After erecting the whole tower crane. . 1. I'm particularly curious about how the horizontal swing arm is placed with the counter balance at the There are at least three different answers too your question. it was ready for "raising" to the required operating height. This was achieved by jacking up hydraulically the telescopic cage section and then bringing extra standard mast sections into the telescopic cage consecutively until sufficient height was reached. Hang the counterweights at the end of the counter-jib 7. This type of tower crane must be erected exterior of the building so all of this folding and hinging can occur. Fix the counter-jib perpendicular to the vertical tower using the counter-jib tie 6.4. Tower Crane Erection Process Basic Mast Cage Section Mast Section Top Tower Counter Jib Counter Weights Main Jib Typical Section Moving Jibs Connecting Jibs Securing Basic Mast Placing Re-bar Installing Lever Lifting Section Introducing Section Subject: erection of construction cranes Question: How are the very tall construction cranes erected and taken down following completion of the high rise project? Unfortunately I've never been present when that activity is taking place. Essentially the boom (swing arm) folds like an accordian door with three hinge points.) Some of the smaller units are self erecting and self dismantling. Install the main jib with the main jib tie 8.

This procedure is repeated as the building rises. The boom is positioned high enough so that it will clear the top of the building when finished. The process is just the opposite to remove it.2. allowing the next section of the tower to be inserted at ground level structure? . The tower is erected a piece at a time (about 20' sections) until the proper height is reached. A self-assembling tower crane has been demonstrated. The boom is light enough and strong enough that some amount of moment is managed through the tower connections until the full boom and counterweights are all in place and the boom becomes balanced. and in the case of tower cranes that have risen while constructing very tall skyscrapers.) A variation on the theme is a jumping tower crane. and high enough so that it clears surronding buildings also. A pivot section is added on top of the tower. 3. This keeps the operator closer to the work so he or she can see it better. There is an apparatus in the tower section just below the pivot section that allows additional tower sections to be slid into a jacked up gap. When the crane is erected in the building footprint and the building built around it. a smaller crane will sometimes be lifted to the roof of the completed tower to dismantle the tower crane afterward. A large mobile( on wheels) crane is used to hoist the pieces. adding counter balancing sections on the opposite side. and they can either be built into the building or just outside of the building. which lifts itself off the ground using jacks. How do they dismantle tower cranes when they have been assembled within a structure? A tower crane is usually assembled by a telescopic crane of smaller lifting capacity but greater height. as it must reach up and over the shoulder of the building and still get above the standing tower high enough to lift the pieces off. It usually starts with about about 100' of tower. sometimes the crane to remove it must be really big. The tower crane then lifts its own tower section onto the apparatus and this new section is inserted.) Some are erected to final height at the beginning of the project. Some times the boom has to be inserted in more than one section. and then the boom and counter weight extenions. This crane is dismantled the same as #2 above. end.

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