Types of Tower Cranes You Should Know About

The global tower crane rental market grew to a valuation of $6.49 billion in 2021. The USA was in the top three countries, and the construction industry accounted for 59.3% of all end-use markets.

The functionality offered by tower cranes is essential to most construction projects.

But with different types of tower cranes available, how do you choose the right one for your site?

Our guide will help you decide.

Luffing Jib Tower Cranes

The luffing jib tower crane, AKA a luffer, can be identified by its counterweight, set close to the cab. It also has an extended diagonal arm attached to the top of the mast at an angle. 

This arm can move from 30 degrees to vertical, enabling the operator to position the crane into tight spaces. It is common in dense urban environments due to its maneuverability and smaller slewing radius.

Another benefit of the luffing jib is its higher lifting capacity. It is capable of lifting more than the hammerhead tower crane.

Luffing jibs are ideal if tight spaces and heavy loads are key factors.

Yet this functionality comes at a cost. Luffing jib tower cranes are usually more expensive than hammerheads.

Hammerhead Tower Cranes

This is the most common tower crane in the USA. It has a long, horizontal jib, and the hook at the end can be racked anywhere along with it via a moving trolley that runs the length. This is unique to hammerheads.

The jib can rotate 360 degrees around the mast to reach any peripheral object. On the other side of the operator’s cab, a counterweight at the end of the counter jib balances the crane when lifting heavy objects. 

Hammerheads can have an A-shaped structure on top of the mast, connecting the jib and counter jib, known as an “A-frame,” or they can be flat on top.

A-frames have higher lifting capacities than flat-tops, but modern flat-tops are closing that gap. Flat-tops are useful when head-room is limited or when two or more cranes must operate above or below each other.

Self-Erecting Tower Cranes (SETCs)

When projects need a tower crane’s fast transport and setup, self-erecting styles are your best bet. However, if you need a light, mobile tower crane, it is.

They are lighter than hammerheads and luffing jibs, and you can easily move them from site to site. They are ideal for sites where you often need to assemble, dismantle and move your tower crane.

SETCs have horizontal jibs attached to masts mounted on either moving or static ballasts. From this base, they can assemble themselves without a second crane, saving you time and, in many cases, money.

A tower crane operator can also operate most SETC models remotely, from the ground, giving you more options for on-site operation. Check out the types of tower crane controllers here.

But this portability comes at the cost of capacity. SETCs can lift less weight than hammerheads and luffing jib tower cranes, limiting them to sites where high capacity lifts are not needed.

Keep Your Tower Crane on Top of Its Game

Hammerheads are your do-it-all-in-open-space tower cranes. Luffing jibs give you maneuverability and lifting power in tight quarters. Self-erecting tower cranes suit fast-moving, mobile sites with lighter loads.

There are variations, such as self-lifting and all-terrain mobiles. But these are usually based on the main three types of tower cranes.

Construction sites can be challenging places to work, and the equipment used on them needs to be well-maintained. Tower cranes are no different.

Check out our tower crane parts over at Kor-Pak. We stock crane controls, wheels, material handling, and everything you need. 

Posted in Crane.