Crane Terminology

Cranes are a widely used piece of equipment worldwide in many different capacities. Types of cranes vary depending on types of work in different situations. Crawler cranes, overhead cranes, hydraulic cranes and gantry cranes can be utilized to complete a variety of projects. Next week we will discuss gantry cranes and how our experienced rigging team completes heavy industrial projects using specialized processes and equipment. Let’s discuss the components of a mobile hydraulic crane as it is the most recognizable crane used in a variety of industries.

Crane Definitions

  • Carrier – The portion of the crane located below the turntable bearing.
  • Operators Cab – A housing that covers the operator’s station.
  • Outrigger – An extendable supporting device used to level the crane and increase stability.
  • Outrigger Float or Outrigger Jack – The hydraulic cylinder on the outrigger beam which extends vertically to raise and lower the crane for leveling.
Crane Terminology
  • Counterweight – Weight used to supplement the weight of the crane in providing stability for lifting loads.
  • Boom – Telescopic or fixed arm that is used to move objects.
  • Boom Hoist – Rope drum and its drive, or another mechanism, for controlling the angle of a lattice boom crane.
  • Boom Section – Individual lattice structure which are pinned together to form the boom attachment. Crane lattice booms are usually in two basic sections, tip and base. Such booms may be lengthened by insertion of one or more additional extension sections.
  • Load – The total superimposed weight on the hoist load block or hook.
  • Load Block – The assembly of hook or shackle, swivel, bearing, sheaves, sprockets, pins and frame suspended by the hoisting rope or load chain.
  • Hoist – A mechanical unit that is used for lifting and lowering a load via a hook or lifting attachment.
  • Hoist Chain – The load-bearing chain in a hoist.
Crane terms

Lee Contracting In-House Cranes

Lee Contracting’s in-house equipment includes cranes with capacities up to 300 tons and gantries with capacities up to 1,200 tons. We can complete your industrial project no matter the size or complexity. Not only can we complete any of your crane needs, we provide full turn-key solutions to assist with shutdown, start-up, hookups, maintenance and more.

Receive your free quote today or call us today at (888) 833-8776 to learn how we can complete your next industrial project.


History of Cranes

For thousands of years, people have innovated ways to lift heavy objects and place them where they’re needed. As demonstrated at Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, and countless ancient sites around the world, the history of the crane is closely aligned with the history of the limits of man’s strength. Ancient Greeks were miles ahead of the rest of the world when using lifting equipment. As early as 515 BC, distinctive cuttings for lifting tongs and lewis irons were discovered on stone blocks of Greek temples. These were the first blueprints for our modern cranes.

The History of The Crane

The concept of cranes originated from pulley systems that were first utilized by ancient Mesopotamians as early as 1500 BC. The first compound pulleys were created by Archimedes of Syracuse around 287 – 212 BC, which he used to lift an entire warship, along with its crew. A compound pulley has many advantages and pitfalls. A compound pulley system with five pulleys has a 5:1 advantage, meaning a man exerting a force of 50lbs, can pull 250lbs. The pitfalls include being stationary, immobile and have slow lifting speeds. These pitfalls led to the development of the winches and capstans used by the Romans to build temples. The power of circular rotation caught on quickly, which naturally led to the increased use of gear works and the development of cranes.

History of Cranes

The earliest treadwheel appears in 1225. In the seas, the earliest harbor cranes were in use in 1244 in Utrecht while in England the treadwheel was recorded in 1331. At this time, cranes were used in harbors, mines and in building sites where the treadwheel crane had a major lifting role. The cranes were powered by windlasses that had radiating spokes and cranks. A single man operating a treadwheel crane has a mechanical advantage of 30:1. Treadwheel cranes were in use until the end of the 17th century and were essential at harbors and in cathedral construction.

The History of The Hydraulic Crane

While cranes remained hand-powered for centuries, hydraulic technology was developing. With a history that stretches back to Ancient Egypt, China, and Greece, water-powered machines (mostly water wheels) had been in use for thousands of years. Ancient irrigation systems, like the aqueducts developed by the Romans, relied on simple hydraulic technology, like siphoning.

But it was not until the 15th century that Blaise Pascal studied fluid hydrodynamics and hydrostatics, creating a new understanding of hydraulic principles like fluid density, pressure and incompressibility. He invented the hydraulic press which is the building block of modern hydraulics.

Much later in the 19th century, the rise of ironworks and industrialization meant that cranes were finally made with iron. The first cast iron crane was constructed in 1834. And in 1851, hand-powered cranes finally began running on steam power — the first step toward a truly hydraulic crane.

Modern Hydraulic Cranes

History of Cranes

Today, hydraulic cranes are built with better specifications and materials than cranes in the 1800s but rely on the same mechanical and hydraulic principles developed centuries ago.

Modern hydraulic cranes are filled with an incompressible fluid, usually oil, that perfectly transfers pressure between pistons. Variations on this simple leveraging of fluid movement have allowed us to engineer large capacity cranes.

The Future of Cranes

In modern day, some mobile hydraulic cranes have a load capacity of up to 1,200 tons with a boom extending to 328 feet. While stationary cranes can have a much larger capacity, a mobile crane is beneficial for temporary construction. But what does the future of cranes look like? Certain companies are now developing remote monitoring and support. For remote monitoring, sensors are placed on the crane to collect data including running time, motor starts, work cycle and emergency stops. Remote support includes specialists ready to provide problem-solving and troubleshooting to reduce unexpected downtime.

Lee Contracting’s in-house equipment includes cranes with capacities up to 300 tons and gantries with capacities up to 1,200 tons.

Receive your free quote today or call us today at (888) 833-8776 to learn how we can complete your next industrial project.


Lee Contracting’s Rigging Capabilities

In the past, rigging referred to a system of ropes and pulleys used to support a ship’s masts. As technology evolved, the definition of rigging expanded to include the process in which objects are raised and moved into position. Today, rigging equipment, such as cranes, are used in a variety of settings including, manufacturing facilities, shipyards, cargo ports, and construction sites.


Over the last quarter of a century, the technology used in industrial rigging has made the process of lifting heavy objects and placing them more efficiently. Lee Contracting uses a variety of gantry systems and cranes which have a capacity up to 1,200 tons, to set your heaviest equipment. Gantry cranes allow us to set the heaviest pieces of equipment. We recently stacked two 2500-ton stamping presses. The crowns for each of the presses weighed 272 tons.


In addition to gantry cranes, Lee Contracting also has a fleet of several other cranes. We have three Broderson cranes with a capacity up to 50,000 pounds,

Cranes, Riggingan Ormig crane with a pick and carry 70-ton capacity, a Lifts-Systems mobile lifter with a 75-ton capacity, a Terex crane with a 70-ton capacity and a Grove crane with a 300-ton capacity.


Lee Contracting has over 25 years’ experience in the rigging industry. We like to be tested beyond the limits. Our riggers travel all around the world to make sure you have an efficient, safe, and expedited experience with plant projects and relocations.


Our customers enjoy the benefit of our riggers being available 24/7, 365 days a year, our ability to cut down project completion time up to fifty percent of our competitors and the ability to complete every project with state of art equipment from layout to final assembly.


Our teams have the experience to take care of all your equipment including stamping presses, injection mold machines, blow molding machines, weld cells, robotic cells, assembly lines, and machining equipment.


View more of our capabilities, or contact us for a free quote today.