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All Terrain Crane - When Is It the Best Option for Your Lifting Needs

APRIL 2024

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When tackling construction or industrial projects, choosing the right equipment is crucial for efficiency and safety. Among the many options available, the all terrain crane stands out as a versatile and powerful choice, especially suited to challenging environments.

But when exactly is an all terrain crane the best option for your lifting needs?

What is an All Terrain Crane?

An all terrain crane is a type of mobile crane that combines the robust lifting capacity of a traditional crane with the added ability to traverse various types of terrain. It is essentially a hybrid between a truck-mounted crane and a rough terrain crane, equipped to handle both off-road and on-road environments efficiently.

Key Features of All Terrain Cranes

  • Truck-Mounted Design: All terrain cranes are mounted on truck bodies, providing the structure and power necessary for heavy-duty tasks.

  • Capability to Navigate Rugged and Uneven Terrain: Designed for stability and performance, these cranes can operate on diverse and challenging surfaces.

  • Versatility in Weather Conditions: All terrain cranes are built to withstand a variety of weather conditions, allowing operations in different climates without compromise to safety or functionality.

  • Enhanced Mobility with Four-Wheel or All-Wheel Drive: This feature provides superior traction and mobility, crucial for moving across difficult landscapes.

  • High Ground Clearance and Large Number of Tires for Stability: The increased ground clearance and multiple tires help distribute the crane’s weight more evenly, enhancing stability on uneven grounds.

  • Ability to Travel at Highway Speeds: Unlike many heavy-lift cranes, all terrain cranes can travel at speeds comparable to standard vehicles on highways, which is essential for moving between job sites quickly.

Advantages of Using an All-Terrain Crane

A few advantages of all-terrain cranes include:

  • High Lifting Capacity and Adjustability with Telescopic Booms

All terrain cranes are equipped with hydraulically powered telescopic booms that provide significant lifting capacities ranging from 40 to 1,000 tons. The adjustability of the booms allows for precise placement of materials at various heights and distances.

  • Suitability for Varied Surfaces Including Sand, Gravel, and Asphalt

The structural design and mobility features of all terrain cranes make them ideal for working on multiple surface types. Whether it’s sandy landscapes, gravel-filled sites, or paved asphalt, these cranes maintain high efficiency and safety.

Limitations of All Terrain Cranes

  • Considerable Weight and the Impact on Soil Bearing Strength

One of the primary limitations of all terrain cranes is their considerable weight. Most models are equipped with two engines: one for driving and one for operating the crane, which contributes to their overall heaviness. This significant weight can be a disadvantage on sites with unstable or weak soil.

  • Need for Outriggers and Additional Equipment Costs

All terrain cranes often require the use of outriggers to stabilise the crane during lifting operations. Outriggers extend from the sides of the crane to increase its footprint and provide added stability. However, the need for these devices and other additional equipment like mats or cribbing can lead to increased costs in terms of rental or purchase, transport, and setup time.

  • Soil Condition Inspection as per Safety Standards

Before any lifting operation, a thorough inspection of the soil conditions is crucial. This is not just a procedural step but a critical safety measure to prevent accidents. The assessment helps to determine if the ground can safely support the crane during operation, especially when the crane is carrying heavy loads. Neglecting this step can lead to dangerous situations, including crane tipping or collapse, which could result in severe injuries or damage.

When to Opt for an All Terrain Crane

  • Sites Without Direct Road Access All terrain cranes are particularly useful for sites that are remote or lack direct road access. Their capability to handle various types of ground conditions—whether sandy, muddy, or gravelly—makes them ideal for reaching and operating in secluded areas where standard cranes cannot easily or safely travel.

  • Projects Requiring Travel Over Long Distances on Public Roads The unique ability of all terrain cranes to travel at highway speeds makes them highly suitable for projects that span multiple locations or require significant travel between sites. This ability eliminates the need for additional transport equipment, such as trailers, to move the crane from one site to another, thereby saving both time and resources.

  • Maneuverability and Flexibility in Project Execution The design of all terrain cranes offers excellent maneuverability and flexibility, which is crucial for complex project sites with limited space or intricate lifting requirements. Their all-wheel steering systems allow them to navigate tight corners and perform complex positioning tasks, which are often required in urban environments or in industrial settings with a lot of structures and obstacles.

Alternatives to All Terrain Cranes

  • Mobile cranes are ideal for operations on stable, well-paved grounds typically found in urban or industrial environments. These cranes are cost-effective and suitable for straightforward vertical lifting tasks where enhanced mobility over rough terrain isn't necessary.

  • Rough terrain cranes are designed for challenging off-road conditions with features like compact frames, single-engine design, large rugged tires, and four-wheel drive. These cranes excel in remote or confined spaces with soft or uneven grounds, making them perfect for projects in less accessible locations. Hover, it’s important to consider that they require transportation to the site via trailers, which can increase logistical planning and project costs.

Consulting with Experts

For any project requiring crane operations, consulting with experts is crucial to ensure success and safety. Each project has unique requirements, and the selection of the appropriate crane is vital. Crane rental companies, with their vast experience and extensive inventory, can provide invaluable guidance.

At Scope Cranes & Logistics, we pride ourselves on our expert knowledge and comprehensive range of crane options. Our team is dedicated to working closely with clients to identify the most suitable crane for their particular needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your lifting needs with our tailored crane solutions.

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