The cranes are heavy-duty machines which are used for various applications where lifting heavy items and materials is required. They come in a variety of sizes and forms, and are used in many industry sectors. From small portable cranes to large tower cranes, there is a crane model for every lifting operation. One model that is extensively used for heavy-duty lifting tasks is the crawler crane. A crawler crane is generally a lifting machine which is mounted on a tracked moveable platform. This crane is capable to perform lifting operations on different ground surfaces, even soft grounds because the entire weight of the machine is equally deployed on the tracked platform. Because it is on tracks and not on wheels, the crawler crane is more stable and it can lift more weight than the wheeled crane.
The main part of the crawler crane is the tracked propulsion system. The first propulsion system was developed in the 19th century. Beside the propulsion system, the crawler crane is consisted of other parts as well. The engine and the control cabin are placed on top of the tracks. A boom is raised right above the cabin. Cables run through the boom, and a hoist or hook is attached at the end of the boom. The crawler crane can also have a small extension at the end of the boom, allowing the crane to reach further. This extension is called jib. The wide tracks of the crawler crane allow the entire machine to rotate for 360 degrees, something that is not possible with the wheeled crane models. This way, the crawler crane can be used in tight and narrow places where other lifting equipment cannot be used. Although slower than the wheeled crane, the crawler crane is more maneuverable and highly versatile machine which can be used on different job sites.
One of the features that enables the crawler crane to lift enormous weights is the counterweight. The counterweight provides the needed stability and support when the crane is used for lifting heavy items. Some large crawler crane models are equipped with counterweights that can be up to several tones. There are also crawler cranes with custom made booms that can reach several hundred meters into the air. These cranes are ideal for large-scale construction projects.
However, the crawler crane has some negative sides. One negative side is the enormous size. Some crawler crane models are so large that must be dismantled in smaller pieces when transported from one location to another. Usually, these cranes are transported by special trucks or train wagons. The tracked platform and the massive size allow the crawler crane to lift and move heavy items which can be up to 3000 tones quickly and efficiently, but this lifting capability comes with a cost. The cost is the difficult transportation procedure.