11 May Bridge Cranes & Gantry Cranes – the lift system terms you need to know
We often find ourselves running into new clients who use the term bridge crane and gantry crane interchangeably. For many people new to material lifting, interior building lifting systems are all “gantry cranes” but this is a misconception we’d like to fix. Below we point out what the difference is and why you’re probably looking for a bridge crane and not a gantry crane for your material lifting needs.
If you are a production facility a Bridge Crane will likely be the solution you are looking for. They typically cost more but allow for higher capacities, faster cycle times, less obstruction to the work area, and you can move and position a load any way you require with a 3-axis movement capability.
Bridge cranes have many different configurations and are custom sized to the needs of the environment. Bridge cranes typically span entire facilities and allow the users to lift, move, and position materials throughout the lifting area. On these types of cranes, the bridge can move while under load while the trucks and the hoist provide vertical and horizontal movement capabilities. These types of cranes allow much more flexibility in their positioning of loads and provide greater utility.
The term “Gantry Crane” has become synonymous with any interior building crane but it actually refers to one specific type of lifting system.
Gantry cranes (they are also called Portal Cranes, the “portal” being the empty space straddled by the gantry) are a type of crane used to straddle an object or workspace and the entire crane can be moved about a workspace. The main difference that makes a gantry crane is that the support columns are on wheels or castors and move with the bridge. Some gantry cranes ride along a track installed on the floor or use a v-groove caster to keep it’s movement in a straight line.
Most Gantry Cranes are intended to be stationary when loaded and mobile when unloaded. They primarily provide vertical and lateral lifting capabilities wherever it is positioned. A simple way to describe it is that they can move a load “up and over” but not “around”.
Gantry Cranes are an economical solution for shops where the load isn’t in a predictable space each time or where loads need to be lifted out of something, such as an engine out of a vehicle.
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