Cranes are extremely useful devices to lift heavy loads and move them to and from the truck body. Whether we're picking up a large tractor tire and wheel, a section of pipe, an engine, or a big heavy valve assembly, there is nothing quite as effective as a crane. A crane can dramatically increase productivity and allow one person to do the work of many. Most cranes allow you to pickup things a distance away from the body, perhaps in an area that is not accessible by normal means.
Lightweight cranes such as the Spitzlift aluminum crane can be mounted almost anywhere a crane might be useful, such as, inside your enclosed service body, on a flatbed, or in a pickup. It can also be easily moved from one place to another due to its light weight and portability.
Heavier cranes are typically permanently mounted to a service body, flatbed or other body. The most popular size of this type of crane will lift approximately 3,000 lbs right next to the body and extend out to approximately 15' and pick up around 500 lbs at that distance, yet that can be all that is needed to do the job. Heavier cranes are available and the sky is pretty much the limit. Cost is a definite factor, as the higher the capacity, the greater the cost and it can get very expensive to buy more crane than you need. So, calculating what your needs are is an important first step.
Understanding cranes is important. A crane is very much like your arm and the truck body very much like your body. Picking up a 25 lb bucket right next to your body is probably an easy enough thing, but now move away from the bucket and at full arm extension try to pick up that same bucket. You will most likely not be able to do it. There are a couple reasons. One is you would tip over. That is easy, on most crane bodies we order stabilizers in the form of outriggers to keep the truck from turning over. The other reason you cannot pick up the load is your strength is lessened as less muscles are available to use and more importantly, less leverage is able to be used because your arm is extended fully. If you were to unhook your arm, find a longer one and hook that in, now you could raise your new arm higher to help allow more muscles to help and to lift that load at the distance. This is why cranes go up in the air instead of going side to side. So, as you see that you can lift 25 lbs close and 0 lbs at the distance, you can see how every other crane works. The further away, the bigger the crane you need. You've seen those that go a hundred feet in the air, right? Well, those can lift very heavy loads because they have that height advantage, just like putting in your new longer arm.
So, the first question we always want to ask when it comes to cranes is, how much is the maximum amount of weight you need to pick up at any given time? The second very important question is then, how far away from the body will you need to be to lift that? If you wanted to pick up 3,000 lbs, no problem, a 3,000 lb crane will do that job. If next, you said that you wanted to pick it up about 15' away from the body, then a 3,000 lb crane will never do. For that you would need something more along the line of a 25,000 lb crane. The closer to the body you can get to what you need to lift, the lesser crane you need. Again, cost is a factor because cranes are not cheap and the bigger the crane, the higher the cost.
Another thing. When we get into heavier cranes, we need heavier bodies and truck chassis to support that massive twisting force that is exerted when using a crane.
The best thing you can do when it comes to a crane, is give us a call and let's talk about your needs. We know cranes and we know bodies, so we can help you find the right crane for the job and keep your costs as low as possible yet give you everything you will need now and in the near future.