Do you own or run a busy factory, workshop, warehouse, or storage business? Do your workers struggle to meet targets despite giving their best?
Achieving optimal efficiency requires a combination of a skilled workforce and the right machinery. The machines take care of the more tedious, repetitive tasks while the workers take on all the other tasks that machines cannot do.
One of the essential pieces of machinery to add to your work process is a jib crane. Jib cranes are overhead lifting devices that are particularly suited to handle specific repetitive lifting jobs in small work areas. Because of their versatility, jib cranes can be easily paired with other machinery like overhead bridge cranes to boost production and operational efficiency.
That said, jib cranes come in different styles and designs. So, shopping for the best one for your business can be quite confusing.
Keep reading this article to learn more about the most common types of jib cranes in the market and their advantages. In the end, you will have enough knowledge to decide which one will work best for your workforce and business activities.
1. Wall-Mounted Jibs
As the name suggests, wall-mounted jib cranes are installed and supported by a structurally solid wall, ceiling, or column. So, they do not need a floor or foundation. Wall-mounted jibs can handle weights up to about 5 tons, rotate up to 180°, and span up to 30’.
A wall-mounted jib is a good idea if you are trying to save on costs- as it is cheaper to install than a floor foundation jib, and you also get to save on space.
However, while it is economical, it also has a few shortcomings; the most significant perhaps being that it cannot rotate the full 360 degrees, which means you have a limited operation area.
You also need a pretty strong column or wall- approved by a structural engineer, to withstand the weight of the jig as well as the loads it will be lifting.
2. Free-Standing Jibs
Also called a pillar jib, this jib is the most common type you will find in the market and also among the most versatile. It can be installed virtually anywhere, whether indoors or outdoors.
Indoors, free-standing jibs can be used for additional lifting support under larger bridge cranes. You can also combine several jibs to handle vehicle or machine assembly. Outdoors, these jibs are often installed in docks and marinas for loading and unloading.
You will find different designs under this jib category. But the three most popular ones include:
- Base-plate mounted: this jib is bolted onto a base plate and secured with a concrete foundation and gussets.
- Foundation mounted: the installation of this jib is pretty much the same as the base plate. However, gussets are eliminated, and instead, the jib is secured with two concrete pours.
- Sleeve-insert mounted: for this type, a sleeve is welded onto a steel plate after the first concrete pour. A second pour is then added, and the jib is inserted and welded into the sleeve. This design is a great choice if you ever want to move the jib without risking damage.
So, what are the advantages of a free-standing jib? It supports higher capacities than most of the other jibs (up to 15 tons), offers greater rotation than wall-mounted jibs (360°), and has the longest spans (about 50’).
The downside is that it can be pretty expensive.
3. Mast Type Jibs
Basically, a mast-type jib is a low-cost alternative to a pillar/free-standing jib. Both are installed on the floor.
However, mast-type systems do not usually need the intricate concrete foundation typical with a free-standing jib. Instead, this system requires a small layer of reinforced concrete for support and is stabilized at the top by an overhead beam.
Like its traditional counterpart, it offers 360 degrees rotation and can handle relatively high capacities (up to 10 tons). This type of jib is usually available in two styles- full cantilever or drop cantilever.
4. Articulating Jibs
Articulating jib cranes can be free-standing, wall, column, or ceiling mounted. What makes them different from other jibs is that they have two swivel arms. These arms make lifting and moving loads around corners, doorways, or around or under obstructions while providing precise loading position.
The additional rotating pivot arm makes this jib the perfect solution if you are looking for something that can reach into machines or swing loads in areas with several obstructions.
While the main arm usually rotates up to 200 degrees, the outer arm is more flexible and can rotate the full 360 degrees, giving you more coverage and flexibility. Basically, this crane is best suited for custom welding, material handling, loading and unloading, and any manufacturing usage that may require greater flexibility.
5. Foundationless Jibs
Another kind of jib you will find when shopping around is the foundationless jib. With this jib, you do not need to build any special foundation. You can actually mount it on slab anywhere in your premises as long as the spot you pick conforms to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
For indoor use, the jib is usually slab-mounted and bolted on 6-inch concrete. The good thing with this system is that installation is faster and much cheaper. It is also easier to move it to anywhere else within your facility if the need ever arises.
However, its capacity is pretty low (about 0.5 tons).
6. Portable Jibs
Portable jib cranes, sometimes referred to as mobile jibs or movable jibs, come ready to use and do not need permanent installation. Most use an electric hoist to lift and move loads to the desired location.
The biggest advantage of this type of jib is its flexible mobility and adaptability to different situations. It can come in handy when you do not want a permanent installation and need to move loads at different areas in your factory, workshop, warehouse, mine, or any other business that requires heavy material handling.
Choose the Best Type of Jib Crane for Your Business
Now, these are not the only jib cranes you will find. However, they are definitely the most common ones. As you can see, each has its own advantages, limitations, and applications. With this information in mind, you can narrow it down to the type of jib system your business needs. Remember to only buy from a reputable manufacturer.