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Load the Barbell: Heavy Lifting Options

Hit your max with the right load moving equipment

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jib crane

When you need to move heavy loads, you want equipment that offers the flexibility of a CrossFitter with the power of a power-lifting beast. Lifting heavy loads is no small feat, and understanding which option will work best for your facility, plant, or warehouse will keep your lifts in good form without sacrificing strength.

Here are three lifting options, each with its own unique form and strengths

Jib cranes

man using a freestanding jib crane to move a heavy component

A jib crane is a type of overhead lifting device that’s often used in a smaller warehouse or facility area for repetitive and unique lifting tasks. What separates a jib crane from other lifting devices is simplicity—jib cranes have a very basic design and construction. Compared to workstation cranes and bridge or gantry cranes, they’re simple to operate and require less maintenance because they have fewer parts that could potentially break down or fail.

They don’t utilize a runway or track system—instead, a rotating boom, mast, and hoist lift and position loads. Their ergonomic design is very appealing in a production environment because they can increase worker productivity, reduce workplace injuries, and improve safety.

Despite their fairly simple design, jib cranes can have a wide range of lifting power capacity. They can be stand-alone or wall-mounted and offer a variety of capacities, heights, and spans. All of these features add up to a highly versatile lifter that can offer maximum production.

Gantry cranes

man using a gantry crane to move a large, heavy component in a manufacturing facilityA gantry crane is a type of overhead crane with a single or double girder configuration supported by freestanding legs that move on wheels or along a track or rail system. Gantry cranes are usually considered when there is a reason not to incorporate an overhead runway system. In short, you want a gantry crane if you desire heavy lifting and a moveable framework for high ease of use and no anchoring commitments. Gantry cranes offer lift and move capabilities that allow load transit from area to area within a facility. Their special structures support very heavy loads along the span of the top beam to facilitate a variety of applications, such as loading and unloading, fabrication and assembly, or maintenance and repair.

All gantry cranes consist of three primary components: two leg structures and the I-beam span. Unlike jib cranes which have only one support point at the base or mast, gantry cranes have both leg structures to carry the weight of the load. Most gantry cranes are a basic A-frame shape with wheels on the leg structures, while some have the option for you to configure them with a cantilever style span. This option is primarily for transferring the load to the end in order to do assembly work or to move the load off the crane.

One of the greatest benefits of using gantry cranes is that the load can be walked to a new location simply by rolling the entire crane to the spot. Picking up a load is similarly easy; just walk the crane to the pick-up point. And because gantry cranes don’t require any permanent installation, they can be highly useful when renting a facility.


electric train hoist Like Frank Columbo or most CrossFit champions, the chain hoist is power in a small package. No matter the type, when you add it to a crane or similar equipment, you’ve just increased materials handling efficiency for heavy loads. Without the heavy lifting capability of hoists, cranes would be severely limited in functionality and great amounts of brute strength would still be needed to move large objects.

The main advantage of a chain hoist is its load capability–often into the thousands of pounds. Available in manualpneumatic, and electric types, hoists offer multiple options for your needs, and each can handle heavy loads. This raw power allows chain hoists to move your loads higher and farther–across the entire facility to a shipping dock.

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