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What is a Wall Crane?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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A wall crane is a type of jib crane that can be mounted on the interior walls of a building. It allows users to move or lift heavy objects that they would not be able to move by hand. Because it is mounted on a wall, the wall crane can only move objects within a semi-circular area. Depending on the model, wall-mounted cranes can be operated using either a manual pull chain or a motorized control system.

The main component of a wall crane is the horizontal hoisting member, or "jib." One end of the jib is fastened to a bracket or wall-mounting system, while the other end features a hook, wires, or another form of lift system. Depending on the unit, the jib may move up and down or side to side along the wall's height or width. The entire jib often moves along guides or tracks, though some simply hinge at the wall so only the hoisting mechanism will move. Some wall cranes even feature a telescoping arm to create more flexibility in terms of reaching objects.

There are two basic varieties of wall cranes to choose from, and each is categorized based on the mounting requirements. A cantilever wall crane features a jib mounted at the top of the wall. This type of unit is best for maximizing hoist area in applications with low ceiling heights. A tie-rod wall crane features a jib located mid-way along the height of the wall, with the jib supported by tie-rods connected to the floor or ceiling. This design is cheaper, and works best in areas with fairly large ceiling heights.

Wall jib cranes offer a number of advantages over other crane designs. Because they mount directly to support columns within the wall, they do not require complex footings or foundation systems. This lowers installation cost significantly, and allows the wall crane to be used in a wider variety of applications than many other types of hoisting systems. By mounting the crane to the wall, users also save floor space, making these cranes the optimal choice for tight warehouses or work spaces. Wall cranes are also relatively small and portable compared to other types of lifting equipment, and tend to be fairly low in cost.

Due to their small size, however, wall cranes generally have a lower lifting capacity than tower cranes or large hoisting systems. When mounted on the walls of a building, they often place significant stress of the building's structural support columns. To prevent failure of these columns, buyers should consult a structural engineer to design adequate supports for wall-mounted cranes.

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