It goes without saying that modern cranes play a critical role in the construction industry. These specialized machines are used for lifting, moving, rotating, and lowering objects that are either too large or too heavy to be maneuvered otherwise.
Equipped with pulleys and cables, cranes are typically used to hoist and move heavy materials and equipment on construction sites and for loading cargo ships. Their function is based upon the application of fundamental principles of mechanics.
How a Crane Works: The Role of the Boom
The boom is one of the key components of a crane. This long arm-like component is either telescopic or fixed and is used to lower or raise objects. The length of the boom can vary between cranes, with the largest ones exceeding 300ft in length.
Each crane comes with a load chart that details its features, defines its load-lifting capabilities, and specifies how the lift capacity can vary depending on the angle, radius, and distance. Crane operators need to be well-versed with a machine’s load chart before they operate it.
Loading a crane beyond its capacity can cause it to tip over, potentially endangering the lives of worksite personnel and causing significant property damage.
How Wind Impacts Crane Operations
When planning for lift operations, one critical factor that managers and operators have to take into consideration is the wind speed at the tip of the boom. Winds can put an extra load on the boom of the crane, impacting the machine’s overall stability. It’s extremely dangerous to operate a crane in conditions where the wind speed is greater than what’s recommended by the manufacturer, as it can cause the machine to topple over. One important point worth noting is that, depending upon the luffing angle and the length of the boom, the wind speed at the tip of the boom can be significantly higher than the wind speed at the cabin where the operator sits.
Measuring Wind Speed
Most crane companies rely on cup anemometers to accurately gauge wind speeds. This device works when the wind is caught in each of its cups, causing them to rotate. The number of rotations per minute determines the wind speed.
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