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Everything You Need to Know About Gantry Cranes

Everything You Need to Know About Gantry Cranes

This blog helps buyers understand the capabilities of gantry cranes and highlights key features to enable them to select the right gantry for their facility and application.

It was written by Tim Battersby, business development manager at Reid Lifting, which provides a range of gantry cranes for sale by FAD Equipment Store, as we’ll showcase later.

Gantries are used widely across a number of different industries for lifting materials as well as supporting personnel for working at height or confined space entry.

Reid Lifting gantry crane

Gantries are used widely across a number of different industries.

How does a gantry crane work?

Gantry cranes are comprised of four basic components:

  • Two frames
  • A beam
  • A trolley

The two frames stand upright at each end of a single beam, while the trolley runs along the beam using rollers.

The frames can be raised and lowered to change the height of lift. Usually, the gantry has castors on each frame that allow it to be rolled around once it is fully assembled.

How to choose the right gantry

The right gantry for each application depends on a few factors:

  • What weight do you need to lift?
  • How high do you have to lift?
  • What distance do you need to span?

There are other application specific requirements that can then come into play, like low headroom indoors, for example.

How to use a gantry crane

Once the gantry is assembled, a hoist—either manual or electric—can be attached to the trolley and used for lifting materials. The gantry can be used solely for lifting vertically, or it can be used to lift vertically, then traverse horizontally along the beam.

Trolley movement along the beam can be carried out manually, or on some more specialized gantries, using gearing or rope control.

Gantry crane applications

We know that gantries are used widely across a number of different industries for lifting materials as well as supporting personnel for working at height or confined space entry.

We recently provided gantry cranes for:

  • Lifting pumps for maintenance in wastewater treatment plants.
  • Entering large vessels for inspection / cleaning at food and beverage facilities.
  • Lifting expensive artwork / sculptures in museums for cleaning or transportation to other facilities.
  • Removing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units from roofs for maintenance.
  • Entering manholes to perform maintenance, while tied off to a fall protection structure.
  • Holding internal machinery in place for installation in a construction setting.

Best gantry cranes for different uses

Where portability is key, aluminum gantries are the best option. They provide the ability to carry into position easily, then set-up manually, and use—without needing additional lifting equipment. If even more portability is needed, folding gantries, like the Porta-Gantry Rapide (see below), can allow a single person to carry out a task that previously would have required several more.

Reid Lifting Porta-Gantry Rapide

Reid Lifting Porta-Gantry Rapide.

Gantry crane storage

Most gantries are left out in the elements, which can become an issue for steel structures as they rust fairly quickly. Aluminum gantries on the other hand will not rust and will likely have a longer lifecycle. Regardless of what gantry is being used, if the environment is corrosive (chemical plants or high salt areas, like the coastline) then all efforts should be taken to protect that gantry by regularly spraying it down with fresh water. It should also be inspected regularly to make sure the structure has not been corroded at all.

Gantry crane safety tip

The most important safety tip for gantry use is to stay within the manufacturer’s set limits. Every gantry will come with a manual outlining what that specific gantry’s limits are. All gantries are not the same, so it’s important to read the manual before use.

Reid Lifting gantry crane

Gantry cranes can be installed in a huge variety of environments. Here, would you believe that a seal pup is being rescued?

Buying your gantry crane

Here’s more information about a few of our favorite and most popular gantry cranes:

Porta-Gantry Rapide

We referenced this gantry earlier. The Rapide is available in three capacities:

  • 800 lbs.
  • 1,100 lbs.
  • 2,200 lbs.

You can also select your adjustable height range and desired beam length.

A lightweight, portable, folding, aluminum lifting system, each Porta-Gantry Rapide offers three height and length options, meaning nine variations are available at each capacity. The Rapide is especially suited to the rigors of the industrial market. It can be one, two, or three-person ANSI-compliant for fall arrest.

Reid Lifting Porta-Gantry Rapide

Due to its portability and ease of assembly, it is often used as a safer alternative to a tripod for confined space work, but it has been used in applications as varied as art galleries, water treatment works, and solar panel installation on floating pontoons.

Porta-Gantry System (Intermediate)

This gantry is available in 4,400-lbs. capacity. The adjustable height range is between 5 ft., 2.25 in. and 8 ft., 2.5 in. There are five options, however, when it comes to beam length and adjustable clear span.

Again, it is a lightweight, portable, folding, aluminum lifting system, that offers three height and length options, meaning nine variations are available at each capacity. The Porta-Gantry System (Intermediate) can be one, two, or three-person ANSI-compliant for fall arrest.

Reid Lifting Porta-Gantry System (Intermediate)

Porta-Gantry System (Tall)

This 11,000-lbs. capacity gantry crane leverages the other benefits we’ve spoken about but offers the user more headroom.

Adjustable height range is from 9 ft., 4.25 in. and 13 ft., 3.5 in. This time, there are two options when it comes to beam length and adjustable clear span.

Once more, the Porta-Gantry System (Tall) is a lightweight, portable, folding, aluminum lifting system, that offers three height and length options, meaning nine variations are available at each capacity.  The system can also can be one, two, or three-person ANSI-compliant for fall arrest.

Reid Lifting Porta-Gantry System (Tall)

What users say

Gantry crane users generally point to three major characteristics that suit these lightweight gantry cranes to their varied usage:

  1. Versatility
  2. Portability and ease of set-up
  3. Durability

These products are used on projects from the maintenance of multi-billion dollar petrochemical facilities to rescuing seals trapped by rocks. The ability to use a gantry on a short-term basis for such a variety of tasks creates great utilization. The ease of assembly further suits the Porta-Gantry concept to the marketplace because little time is spent erecting the lifting devices versus alternative solutions. They can also be quickly dismantled and moved onto the next task within a workplace or at the next jobsite.

Case study

In one recent project, a Porta-Gantry was used to anchor a solar system on a lake. The floating array featured approximately 3,700 pontoon modules and 3,520 solar panels. The gantry crane was onsite for three weeks at varying intervals during the eight-week project.

Gantry crane on floating pontoons

The gantry crane was onsite for three weeks.

The gantry enabled the user to drop the anchor blocks for the sea flex anchoring system. They used it to pull the ropes from the anchor block to a set tension to the attached floating array. This allows for the rise and fall of the structure. They found the solution online and it turned out to be a successful material handling method that they would implement again.

What could you use a gantry crane for?

Browse our range of Reid Lifting gantry cranes here.

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