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Glossary of Crane Terminology

Glossary of Crane Terminology

Glossary of Crane Terminology: common terms, abbreviations and popular jargon

Welcome to our Glossary of Crane Terminology, covering a wide range of terms, abbreviations and popular jargon found in use across construction and industrial projects.
Contents

Introduction

Welcome to our Glossary, covering many types of cranes and lifting operations. Do you have a term or phrase to add? Please leave a comment below at the bottom of the page.

Throughout this glossary you will find some popular abbreviations of jargon – often, abbreviations are used in place of the full term as is common in many industries. Some terms have multiple versions and different variations.

Full Glossary of Crane Terminology

This Glossary of Crane Terminology is sorted alphabetically, see each letter to find a word.

A

Achilles – Industry accreditation.
Aerial Crane – Most commonly a flying crane or helicopter-mounted crane. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
All Terrain Crane – Crane capable of handling multiple terrain types. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Altius – Industry accreditation.
Auxiliary Hoist – Additional hoist, can provide higher speed, lighter capacity than main hoist.
Avetta – Industry accreditation.

B

Beaufort Scale – Scale used for measuring wind speeds and relating them to observed conditions on land (or sea).
Beaufort Wind Force Scale – Scale used for measuring wind speeds and relating them to observed conditions on land (or sea). Commonly known as the “Beaufort Scale”.
Boom – There are different types of boom available, including telescopic booms. A boom is the part of the crane that extends to give the crane the ability to lift a load over an area. On a typical tower crane the boom is the long ‘arm’ that is seen to be lifting the load. Also see Jib.
Bridge – The trolley(s) are carried on this part of the crane.
Bridge Travel – Movement of the crane parallel to the runway.

C

Capacity – See Max Load.
CHAS – Industry accreditation.
Clearance – The space or distance from the crane to the point of the nearest obstruction.
Conductors on Bridge – Providing power to the trolley, the conductors are along the bridge of the crane.
Conductors on Runway – Providing power to the crane, the conductors are along the runway.
Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) – Trade association for the Construction Plant-hire industry.
Contract Lift – A service where a company will undertake a lifting project using their own cranes and personnel. For further information please see our CPA Contract Lift page.
Controller – Regulates power to the motor.
Corrosion Resistant – Prevents corrosion of parts of the crane.
Counterweight – A counterweight is an amount of weight that balances a crane and its load, stopping the crane from tipping over. Counterweights are typically added to the opposite side of the crane to the load, and can be added or removed depending on the desired capacity.
Crab – See Trolley.
Crane – Equipped with cables and pulleys and based upon the application of fundamental mechanical principles, a crane can lift and lower loads well beyond the capabilities of human construction workers. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects.
Crane Hire – Hire or rental of a crane for a limited time period from a crane hire company.
Crawler Crane – Crane on vehicle with caterpillar tracks. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Cushioned Start – Reduces acceleration of motion.

D

Drum – Cylindrical object from which the load is hoisted by the wires that wind around the drum.

E

ECIA – Engineering Construction Industry Association.
Electric Overhead Travelling Crane – A crane that travels overhead, often mounted on a girder, powered by electricity.
EOTC – Abbreviation for “Electric Overhead Travelling Crane” – A crane that travels overhead, often mounted on a girder, powered by electricity.

F

Floating Crane – Crane commonly found on barges or water vehicles. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.

G

Gantry Crane – Crane attached to a gantry. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
General Crane – Crane capable of lifting a variety of loads. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Giant Cantilever Crane – Crane featuring a large cantilever beam. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Grove Mobile Telescopic Cranes – Crane manufacturer/brand from The Manitowoc Company. See The Manitowoc Company.

H

Harbour Crane – Crane commonly found in use in harbour area. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Heavy Crane – Crane capable of lifting larger loads. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Height Of Lift – Measurement of the distance from the bottom of the hoist to the load level.
Hire Association Europe (HAE) – Trade association for the hire sector.
Hire Company – A business that offers crane hire or rental.
HOL – Abbreviation for “Height of Lift” – Measurement of the distance from the bottom of the hoist to the load level.
Hoist – The part of the crane that lifts or lowers the load.
Hoist Chain – A chain that forms part of the hoist and bears the load.
Hoist Motion – The motion of the hoist when raising or lowering a load.
HSE – Health and Safety Executive, which has responsibility in the UK for encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare.

I

Indoor Use – Machine is able to work inside buildings or in an interior environment.
Industrial Use – lifting operations used in an industrial capacity.
Insulation – withstands heat/cold and moisture, amongst other things.

J

Jib – The horizontal ‘arm’ of the crane that supports the hoist. Also see Boom.
Jib Length – The length of the jib.

K

Kilo-Newton/KN – KiloNewton, measurement unit of force, equivalent to mass multiplied by gravity.

L

Level Luffing Crane – Crane that keeps its hook at a constant level. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Liebherr – Crane manufacturer/brand.
Lift Angle – The angle of lift, which influences available lifting capacity.
Lifting Capacity – The capacity of lift, in weight terms, of the crane.
Lifting Range – The distance from the crane to the place a load may need to be taken.
Load – The load is what the crane is tasked with lifting.
Load Block – The Load Block contains pulleys and the hook that attaches the load to the crane.
Load Line – The Load Line is the cable that links the crane to the load block, and can be used to raise or lower the load.
Luff – Move the jib of the crane vertically in order to lift the load.luff means to move the jib of a crane vertically to lift a load.
Luffer – See Luffing-Jib Crane.
Luffing-Jib Crane – Crane that can move the jib vertically to lift a load.

M

Main Hoist – Hoist that can lift the max load.
The Manitowoc Company – Crane manufacturer/brand.
Marchetti Autogru S.p.A – Crane manufacturer/brand.
Max Lifting Capacity – The capacity of lift, in weight terms, of the crane. Also known as “Lifting Capacity”.
Max Load – The maximum load the crane can handle.
Max Radius with Max Load – The maximum radius the crane can work over when handling its maximum load.
Mechanical Handling – Equipment that assists with moving and controlling materials, goods and products.
Meters Per Minute – Standard way of measuring the speed of operation: the number of meters of travel per minute.
MEWP – Mobile Elevating Work Platform. Not a Crane, but another category of work at height vehicles which includes Boom Lifts, Scissor Lifts, Spider Lifts, Push Around Verticals and more.
Mobile Crane – Commonly a vehicle-mounted crane. Term encompasses many further sub-types of crane. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Mobile Tower Crane – Tower crane that can be self-erecting, versatile crane often found in use where space is limited. See Mobile Crane Hire or Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Mobility – How much space a crane has to move around in.
MPM – Abbreviation for “Meters Per Minute” – Standard way of measuring the speed of operation: the number of meters of travel per minute.

N

Night Working – Working after dusk.
Normal Working Load – The load a crane can safely handle without fear of braking. Otherwise known as “Safe Working Load”.
NWL – Abbreviation for “Normal Working Load” – The load a crane can safely handle without fear of braking. Otherwise known as “Safe Working Load”.

O

OTC – Abbreviation for “Overhead Travelling Crane” – A crane that travels overhead, often mounted on a girder.
Other industry bodies and accreditations
Outrigger – Outriggers help stabilise the crane by increasing the footprint over which the load is bore. They are part of the crane and extend outward, meaning that the total size of the space the crane needs to work in is increased.
Overhead Travelling Crane – A crane that travels overhead, often mounted on a girder.

P

Plant Hire – Hire of equipment, machinery or tools of different kinds and sizes.
Point Load – The measure of load applied to a single point.
Pulley Block – a wheel with a groove for a wire rope to run on.

Q

Qualified – Achieved accreditation enabling company or individual to carry out operations.

R

Rail Crane – Crane mounted on a rail vehicle. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Rated Load – See Max Load.
RISQS – Industry accreditation.
Rope – Wire rope used in crane operations.
Rough Terrain Crane – Crane capable of handling multiple terrain types. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Running Pulley/Sheave – A pulley that rotates during lifting and lowering.
Runway – Cranes travel on a runway enabling movement.

S

Safe Working Load – The load a crane can safely handle without fear of braking.
SafeContractor – Industry accreditation.
Setup Time – Time involved in setting up a machine for work.
Sheave – a wheel with a groove for a wire rope to run on, see Pulley Block.
Spierings Mobile Cranes – Crane manufacturer/brand.
SSIP – Safety Schemes In Procurement, industry accreditation.
Static Crane – Crane installed in a location, doesn’t have capability to transport itself. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Stop – Limits travel of aspects of the crane.
SWL – Abbreviation for “Safe Working Load” – The load a crane can safely handle without fear of braking.

T

Tadano – Crane manufacturer/brand.
Telescopic Crane – Crane with telescopic boom. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Telescopic Handler Crane – Telescopic handling crane. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Terex Cranes – Crane manufacturer/brand.
Tower Crane – Crane with an iconic appearance, has a central tower from which two arms protrude. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.
Trolley – Carries the hoist and enables travel.

U

UVDB – Industry accreditation.

V

Vehicle Mounted Crane – Crane mounted on a vehicle for versatility. See Types Of Cranes For Construction & Industrial Projects for more information.

W

Weight & Dimensions – Situating the crane itself is a key consideration – the size and mobility of the crane need to fit in with the restrictions of the construction site. With outriggers extended lifting capacity is affected, so a confined space requires a certain type of crane.
WLL – Abbreviation for “Working Load Limit” – Maximum working load for the crane.
Working Load Limit – Maximum working load for the crane.
Working Radius – The radius over the area the crane will carry out its work.

X

Y

Z

Have a term or phrase to add to our Glossary of Crane Terminology? Please leave a comment below.

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