Fascinating Facts About Cranes You Might Not Know

Posted on: 29 May 2015

Admittedly, cranes aren't the most interesting topic you could choose to talk about at your next dinner party. The giraffes of the construction and manufacturing industry may have a reputation for blandness, but that doesn't mean they don't have some interesting trivia associated with them. Here are some truly fascinating facts about cranes that you might not know, so you can impress at your next exciting social function.

Getting Cranes To The Top Of Buildings

Have you ever seen a giant crane on top of a skyscraper and wondered how on earth it got up there? There are actually three ways that cranes typically make it to the top of these tall buildings.

Fly in by helicopter- Just like a hero in an action movie, some cranes can be air-lifted in pieces from the ground and delivered right onto the top of the building, where they are reassembled. This requires a sturdy helicopter and a steady hand, and it isn't done often, because of the danger falling crane pieces pose to the public. However, it is arguably one cool way to get a crane to the top of a building.

Builds itself up from inside the building- This method involves placing the crane in the center of the building where it builds the skyscraper around itself, moving up with every new floor that is built. 

Builds itself up along the outside of the building- This method is one of the most common, and it's fascinating to watch. The crane, which is attached to the side of the building for stability, extends upward, adding crane segments to itself to allow it to extend further upward. Granted, this method doesn't actually put the crane on the top of the building, but it allows it to reach the top to complete construction. 

Cranes Are Really Old

Cranes are crucial to the success of many construction projects. Without them, lifting heavy loads would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. You can thank the ancient Greeks for making construction jobs easier, since they invented the first cranes somewhere around the end of the sixth century BCE. Ancient Romans also used cranes, and the devices were crucial for developing the infrastructure of cities during the Middle Ages. 

The World's Tallest Crane (So Far)

As of 2015, the tallest crane in the world is the one being used to build Kingdom Tower, in Saudi Arabia. The crane, built by a German company, can reach over 1km (the final height of the Kingdom Tower) and can lift a whopping 18 tonnes at 44 metres per minute. Tall, strong and efficient, the crane will help make building the enormous tower much easier because power and a design that will help it resist the strong Saudi Arabian winds that plague builders in that country.

Why A Crane Is Called A Crane

The magnificent construction crane got its name not from the fact that you have to "crane" your neck to see where it ends, but from the humble bird of the same name. If you look at the shape and build of a construction crane, you'll notice a slight resemblance to the feathered creature with a long neck and tall stature. Of course, mechanical cranes can't fly, unless you count the ones that are flown in by helicopter, of course.

Not All Cranes Look Like Cranes

Although mechanical cranes were named so because of their resemblance to the bird, times are changing. Instead of modelling new designs after avian creatures, designers are getting buggy, specifically designing cranes that look like spiders. The Stewart Platform Independent Drive Environmental Robot (SPIDER) crane is one that bears no resemblance to traditional cranes, but looks more like an arachnid. It still lifts heavy objects quickly and positions them accurately, and could be the way of the future for many construction projects.

If you have an idea for a project that could be completed with a crane, then consider a crane rental.