The Bridge Crane Uses in Material Handling

free standing bridge crane | material handling

Bridge cranes are one of the most widely used pieces of material handling equipment. To safely move material from point A to point B there is not a piece of equipment as versatile. Bridge cranes take many forms and are highly adaptable to many environments. Here are some of the many advantages of using bridge crane:

  • Bridge cranes can move to places where no other piece of equipment can reach. Have you ever had your fork trucks’ path blocked and you had to divert manpower to clear an aisle. Well an overhead bridge crane can make it around the obstruction with ease. If an independent running pushbutton station (a pushbutton station on its own track so it can be controlled anywhere along the bridge) or radio remote control is provided as the control method, your operator can be in guide himself around the obstructions and still control the crane. You can arrange your plant floor around how you do business and not worry as much about obstructions on your factory floor.
  • Your floor space is cleared up because your supports for the crane are out of the way. Typically your crane provider can come up with a column design that is freestanding and can be aligned with your building columns or along walls. You can choose a ceiling mounted crane (typically on new building designed for the loadings) or you can support the crane from the floor. Sometimes a combination of the two can be used with some supports from the floor and some from the ceiling of your building.
  • The material handling operator can put himself into the optimum location to safely move the load. The fork lift creates blind spots which are inherent with the structure around the operator. The fork lift can be prone to overturning (which is the leading cause of death with a forklift), Pedestrian can be struck by a forklift, driver or employee can be crushed by a forklift, or the driver can fall from the forklift. Material handling cranes can also be outfitted with anti-collision devices to keep them from colliding with cranes in the same bay or end stops.
  • Bridge cranes are very versatile when it comes to below the hook accessories. The types available are limitless. Below the hook accessories include spreader bars, c-hooks, weight scales, custom designed lifting tooling, manipulators, and vacuum lifts to name a few. Many shop cranes have several different below the hook tools which are changed out for the particular job.
  • Heavier loads can be handled while keeping your plant personnel away from the load. Forklifts require your operator to be within close proximity to the load. With a bridge crane, the operator can rig the load and then move away from danger when using the above referenced radio or independent traveling pushbutton station. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your crane’s lift capacity before you start loading it. If you overload it, you could face expensive repairs. And if the crane collapses, it could cause employee injuries as well.
  • Your entire plant can be covered with no dead spots of coverage. An overhead bridge crane can travel right over the load, even without a clear path or aisle. This allows the most flexibility when setting up your plant design.
  • When you depend on forklifts to move items around your facility, you have to not only pay to operate those forklifts, but you have to pay for operators as well. You also have to pay for more repairs on each forklift. With an overhead crane, you only have to pay to power and operate one device with one operator. Operating costs are very inexpensive with a bridge crane. From no energy requirements for a completely manual system, to a very economical three phase system. There is no need to charge batteries or have tanks filled. The bridge crane is always ready to work.
  • A recent trend is to help with material handling in their work cell. Small ergonomic work cell bridge cranes have replaced the worker moving the product manually and allowing them to pick up the product with a lift assist. A typical 50 pound load can now be picked up with the crane and the operator will only see one half of a pound of push pull force at the hook. When a work station crane is equipped with custom lifting tools the job can be done with higher productivity and less product damage.
  • Whether it is handling larger loads or taking the load off of your workers, they will be more productive with a bridge crane. In high cycle applications with lighter loads a bridge crane is easily justified with ROI in a very short time.
  • With a bridge crane your work force can include both sexes, as well as smaller workers who might not be able to do the job of manually handling the load. As our work force ages, and includes more females this is an even more important consideration.