Before cranes can perform the essential lifting operations that make them valuable on job sites, they must be stabilized and assembled.
A tower crane is always built in three distinct phases:
A concrete foundation is prepared so that the crane will be safely anchored to the ground and stable during lifting.
A mobile crane assembles the tower crane, lifting several segments of tower into place along with core components.
The tower crane builds the rest of its own structure as it rises to its ultimate height.
The concrete foundation is essential for the safe operation of the crane. Complex calculations take into account all of the forces that will act on the crane as it performs lifts, rotations and trolley movements. When the foundation is prepared, special consideration is taken to ensure that underground utilities are not affected by the placement of the crane. Once the foundation is ready, the base of the crane is anchored on and the rest of the crane is ready for assembly.
A mobile crane is used to lift the initial tower crane components into place. The mobile crane attaches several sections of the tower until it reaches a certain height. After that, the mobile crane loads key components into place, like the jib, counterjib, cab, turntable and motor. At this point, the tower crane is able to operate on its own.
For the rest of the job, the tower crane will be able to build its own tower using a unique mechanism:
A climbing unit is assembled at the base of the tower and lifted up to the top.
A new tower section is raised up by the hook, then travels by trolley to attach to the climbing unit.
A hydraulic jack raises the tower up, creating a space to add the new tower section, which is then bolted to the tower.
This process is repeated to add new sections to the tower, raising the crane higher with each additional tower section. While adding tower sections in this way, counterweights are used carefully so that the crane acts as a perfectly balanced scale to prevent tipping.
With a firm understanding of crane assembly, you’ll be able to appreciate the incredible work a tower crane does.
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