A mobile crane is a vehicle-mounted crane that is designed to lift and maneuver heavy loads in a variety of different industries and applications. There are mobile cranes for any weight that is more than what can be safely lifted or moved by a human. Counterweights are the weights either built into the body of a crane or applied additionally, that stop the crane from falling over when it is lifting an item.
Why are counterweights important?
Counterweights are extremely important when it comes to the engineering of a mobile crane or the planning of a lift. They are integral to ensuring that the crane remains stable and does not topple over during a lifting operation. Without the counterweights on a crane, it wouldn’t be able to lift it’s capacity.
What can happen if a counterweight is not used correctly?
In short if a counterweight is not used correctly, a crane can fall over either during the lift or as it lets go of its cargo. During a lift, if the counterweight is insufficient to balance the load that the crane is lifting, the crane can topple forward in the direction of the boom.
If the counterweight is too heavy for the weight of the boom, the crane is travelling up an incline or outriggers are not extended, the crane can topple backwards. If the ground conditions are uneven and you have not set the crane up with appropriate counterweights, the crane can also topple backwards.
Counterweight design is not just about the weight; the size and shape of the weight are also important. Engineers design mobile crane counterweights for the specific type of crane it is being used with to prevent crane accidents.
What are crane counterweights made of?
Our counterweights are made of cast iron, the safest material for counterweight design. Cast iron counterweights are small, but because of their density, they provide enough weight to balance out even the most massive loads. Our counterweights are inspected regularly to ensure their structural integrity and durability.
Mobile Crane Safety
Preventing Mobile Crane accidents is of utmost importance to us at Lindores Mobile Cranes. Miscalculation of loads and the need for counterweights is the most common reason for crane accidents. Our team is meticulous when it comes to load planning and site inspection - and we do this to avoid accidents. We use our experience, combined with mathematical calculations and crane manufacturer guidelines to ensure that the counterweights applied are appropriate for each load that our cranes lift.
All of our cranes come with crane load charts which we use to plan our lift plans in each and every lift that our cranes do. Crane load charts provide the information needed to ensure that the right counterweights are applied, the boom angle is appropriate, and the vehicle is configured for maximum safety.
What cranes use counterweights?
All cranes have counterweights including mini cranes, they are actually built into the crane. Mini cranes and city cranes do not tend to need or warrant the use of extra counterweights. A Franna Crane Superlifter carries a counterweight with it at all times on the front of the crane and then uses extra counterweights to classify as a superlifter, lifting up to 28 tonnes. Mobile slew cranes use counterweights as a standard practice, all lifts are different so therefore the calculations of the amount of counterweight needed is all different.
We also make sure that our clients use the right crane in the right situation. Sometimes a two crane lift will provide better stabilisation and safety than a larger crane with counterweights. Our experience and diversity in our fleet means that we can make these decisions with confidence, giving you the safest lift possible.
The team at Lindores Mobile Cranes are the experts when it comes to planning your next project. We work with cranes, plan lifts and inspect locations daily, and our company has been doing this for forty years. When you work with Lindores, you are working with the experts. Get in touch with our friendly team to plan your next lift.