Will the Exponential Surge in Construction Activities Benefit the Tower Crane Market?

Updated: Jul 9

Insight by MARKET RESEARCH FUTURE


What are Tower Cranes?


Tower cranes have become some of the most common aspects of urban skylines. They are generally used for hoisting and moving heavy materials such as generators, concrete, steel, and various large tools.


What Are The Uses of Tower Cranes and How Do They Work?


Tower cranes help move heavy materials, tools, and goods around a site. They’re essential for speeding up the construction activity, keeping the workers on schedule, and reducing costs, time as well as manpower in the process.


Tower cranes are some of the most impressive components of engineering, mounting up to 267ft tall and with the ability to lift nearly 19.8 tons. Irrespective of their size, they have the same major parts:


  • A jib, which is also known as the “working arm”; is a bit that helps carry the load. Around the jib is a trolley that helps in moving the weight, while the motor that is present in the machinery arm helps in lifting up the load using the counterweights. One can also find an operator’s cab in this part.


  • A slewing unit that is fixed right at the top and is made up of ring gear and motor, with the former used by the crane for rotation.


  • A base is fixed on a concrete pad and connected to a tower or mast.


  • Putting these components together can be a complex task. In the beginning, a mobile crane helps in moving the horizontal sections which are the jib as well as the machinery parts, to a 40ft mast and adding the counterweights. The crane, at a time, then increases by a single mast section, right to its maximum height. The crew performs this task by placing a top climber between the top of the mast and the slewing unit, with the use of a hydraulic ram to give a push to the slewing unit further 20ft further above. Then, they lift another 20ft mast within the gap and firmly bolt it in place. This is repeated until the tower crane is now at its maximum height.



Advancements Over the Years


Tower cranes were first developed in Europe, with the majority of the manufacturing still happening in the region. The first tower cranes were “derrick” designs, which were named after Thomas Derrick, the Elizabethan-era hangman. It involved a large boom that was fixed at the rotating base.


Derrick crane
Derrick crane


In the extremely populated countries of Europe, most of these cranes were hard to use, which led to the development of the intrinsic gantry design, which originated in the early twentieth century. These cranes made use using suspended beams while trolleys move across them, making them ideal for urban environments. On the downside, their heavyweight nature and the fact that they took a lot of time to construct, they were mostly used in permanent sites such as shipyards.


Gantry design crane
Gantry design crane


The modern/advanced tower crane was finally developed in 1949, with Hans Liebherr unveiling the design to back the post-war reconstruction efforts across Germany. This design of the tower combined a vertical, along with a rotating mast linked to a horizontal jib moving 360 degrees, which could pick up material and move it to any point within reach. In addition to that, it could be easily transported and was easy to assemble. This design helped inspire various new forms as well as adaptations. In today’s market, these are available in a variety of heights, sizes, and reach, for numerous functions as well as site types.

Historically, the majority of the tower cranes used to be hydraulically powered, but by the 1970s, most of the manufacturers switched to electric. This rendered more sophisticated mechanics, better hoisting winches, and variable speeds while bringing down the power usage and making them energy efficient.


 

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What are the Types of Tower Cranes?


Hammerhead Tower Crane

Hammerhead Tower Crane
Hammerhead Tower Crane

The hammerhead tower crane has a jib that is able to rotate horizontally 360 degrees across the mast at a certain level, with the structure having a strong resemblance to an upside-down letter L. Racking, which refers to the trolley moving the load horizontally across the jib at a fixed level, is a special function of this tower crane.


Luffing Tower Cranes

Luffing Tower Cranes
Luffing Tower Cranes

A luffing tower crane or a luffing-jib crane has a design that is extremely similar to the hammerhead tower crane. However, the crane has a latticed jib and can be pushed above and lowered, which is a motion known as “luffing.” With extra jib mobility, these types of cranes are able to lift much heavier loads compared to hammerhead cranes, are slightly more expensive, and can be used in congested areas with several cranes given their low slewing radius.


Self-Erecting Tower Cranes

Self-Erecting Tower Cranes
Self-Erecting Tower Cranes

Self-erecting tower cranes involve a horizontal jib along with a mast that is fixed on ballast and can fold as well as unfold to dismantle and erect on the site. Compared to the luffing or hammerhead tower cranes, SETCs of a lighter frame, are easily transportable and have a relatively much lower max load capacity.


These tower cranes are mostly used in environments that require a tight fit between the structures, no need for enormously heavy lifts along with frequent dismantling, transportation, and erection of equipment.



Tower Crane Market Status Quo


Construction activities have risen exponentially worldwide in the last decade. The notable increase in the urbanization rate, as well as the swift rise in the migration rate from rural locations to s urban areas for better job opportunities, have raised the number of construction activities in commercial and residential segments. As a result, the booming construction industry will allow the tower crane market to take promising strides in the coming years.


Renowned construction firms are increasingly using tower cranes since this help optimize work and facilitate the timely execution of construction projects. The worldwide market is inundated with several players that indulge in highly intense competition. They introduce novel, more advanced products that cater to every demand of the end-users, by investing considerably in extensive research and development activities. They are also focused on advertising strategies. Business expansion activities are also playing a vital role in the burgeoning of the product portfolio for active companies.