Tower cranes are necessary for the construction of almost any major building or structure. However, if you’re like most people, you probably don’t actually understand how cranes work. Even if you have the slightest interest in construction, you should know how these powerful machines function. Cranes are able to construct such massive structures due to their complex design with several moving parts.
With a structure as intricate as that of a tower crane, the best way to construct one is by using other cranes. At the base of a tower crane lies a concrete foundation that anchors to the ground for security, from which a long tower of stacked lattice emerges. Moving along the long, arm-like jib that extends from the top of the tower is a long trolley and hook block, which lift loads vertically along the extent of the jib.
The crane’s main winch sits behind the operator’s cab and contains the motors for the trolley, which riggers at the bottom of the crane secure onto the load. On the other side of the cab sits a counterjib and counterweights, which balance the weight endured by the jib and are supported by pendants from the tower peak of the crane.
After laying the tower crane’s concrete foundation, builders use a mobile crane, usually for constructing smaller-scale buildings and machinery, to construct and connect key pieces of the crane, such as the jib, operator’s cab, motors, and turntable. Then, with the help of a hydraulic jack, they use what exists of the crane to masterfully construct the rest of the machine’s own tower.
From constructing massive buildings to constructing itself, the tower crane is one of the most versatile pieces of machinery in the world of construction. Without them, we would never know big cities as we do today, and skyscrapers would be impossible. Below, check out the crane animation from BigRentz with lots of helpful illustrations.