The construction crane is one of the most recognisable pieces of lifting machinery in existence. It is extremely powerful, usually very large, and capable of moving incredible weights, at relatively fast speeds. For Membrey’s, however, it represents more than just a piece of machinery. It is a reliable and ever faithful workhorse; a tool that has been with our societies for thousands of years.
The first cranes can be credited to the ancient Greeks, who introduced simple lifting machines as a way to transport large stones and build temples. Fundamentally, they haven’t changed all that much. The major difference is that we now have computer technologies to calculate safe lifting paths and make construction work less risky.
Crucially, biggest doesn’t always mean strongest these days. There are all kinds of factors that determine how powerful a crane can be. The most important is its purpose because these machines are built to lift everything from concrete blocks to entire ships. Nevertheless, you can reasonably assume that where you find a big crane, you’re also likely to find some serious heft and muscle.
So, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the largest cranes to be found anywhere on the planet. Happy lifting, folks!
The Liebherr Mobile Crane
The rather remarkable Liebherr LTM 11200-9.1 was built by German manufacturer Liebherr Group. It is one of the most powerful mobile cranes in existence; potentially, the single most powerful machine anywhere in the world. It has a lifting capacity of 1200 metric tonnes, which is equivalent to around 700 cars.
The Liebherr also has the longest telescopic boom in the world, because it expands to one hundred meters in length. While it is definitely an impressive piece of kit, even a machine this tough can’t compete with the biggest, baddest stationary cranes. We can’t wait to introduce you to the beastly Netherlands crane that blows this one out of the water.
The SSCV Thialf
The largest crane vessel on the planet is the Thialf, which is stationed in Rotterdam. Just as its name suggests, it is a mobile machine, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, it is so vast that it moves while secured to a whole shipping vessel. In fact, the Thialf contains two individual cranes, with a maximum lifting load of 14,200 metric tonnes. It also houses hundreds of onsite workers.
This mammoth crane travels via the fjords, in the Netherlands, and it was used to install the Erasmus Bridge. But, even this isn’t the machine with the heaviest lifting load in the world. There are some spectacularly large gantry cranes that are used to move cargo ships both in and out of the water at some of the busiest international docks.
Taisun Gantry Crane
The rather aptly named ‘Taisun’ crane is one such machine. It can lift up to 20,000 metric tonnes and even has the official lifting record in the Guess Book of World Records. The Taisun can be found in Shandong Province, in China. This is one seriously hefty piece of kit and it is bound to get lifting enthusiasts sighing with envy.
Then again, as discussed, there are all kinds of things that determine how strong or powerful a crane happens to be. Gantry cranes tend to be some of the most impressive, but this is because they are built to take strength from a straddled object or workspace. This gives them exceptional lifting capacities and puts them right at the top of the tree.
Biggest Doesn’t Always Equal Strongest, But It’s a Safe Bet
Ultimately, the biggest, tallest cranes don’t necessarily make the best lifters, but there is a definite correlation between the two factors. If you want to build a machine that can move trucks and entire ships, it needs to have a broad, squat foundation. And, this lends itself well to pure muscle. However, thanks to things like mobile cranes and crane trucks, even these monster machines can now be easily transported from worksite to worksite.