What are Traveling Cranes?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Traveling cranes are heavy equipment that travel overhead on tracks, rollers, and similar devices, allowing people to move large objects around a space. In this crane design, the hoist and attached fixtures are attached to a device that locks onto the roller system to move the crane around a space like a machine shop, aircraft hanger, or similar environment. Traveling cranes can usually take very high weights, as they rely on the structure of the building for support and reinforcement.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

To use a traveling crane, the operator moves it across the space to the location where it is needed, lowers the hooks, and attaches them to whatever he wants to move. The operator activates the lift to pull the object into the air and can use the traveling crane to move it into a different location. Some traveling cranes run only back and forth on one track, while others may also be able to move horizontally, providing greater flexibility and more options.

It may be necessary to have a two-person crew for traveling cranes. One person operates the crane, while the other person attaches and detaches hooks, makes sure the working environment is clear, and sends signals to the operator. Both parties have to be aware of other people and objects in the space to avoid collisions. Usually, a traveling crane is hard to stop, making it important to clear the way first, as once the crane is in motion, the operator may not be able to halt a load in time to avoid a collision.

These devices can wire into an electrical system, run off a generator, or be operated manually with physical labor from a member of the crane team who will crank the hoist and control the movement of the crane. Like other heavy equipment, traveling cranes require regular inspection and oiling to make sure they are working safely. People take special note of any potential safety hazards like weak metal and worn parts, replacing anything that appears compromised before it will become a problem.

Traveling cranes often make noise when they travel to alert people to the fact that objects are moving overhead. They may also flash, as workplaces are often loud and it can be hard to hear warning indicators, especially for employees who are wearing hearing protection or who are hard of hearing. People working in an environment with a crane rely on the crane operator to keep them safe, but must also exercise some basic precautions to avoid accidents.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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