Overhead crane or gantry crane, which do you choose for your material handling? Both overhead crane and gantry crane are widely used in different industries. How to choose? Check the comparison of overhead crane and gantry in terms of price, the use of dead space, and Safety and Maintenance, Ability to Transfer Loads, and installation, etc.
Overhead cranes and gantry cranes are both used primarily in industrial applications. Both types of lifting cranes are very common in manufacturing facilities and material handling locations such as ship yards where they are used to handle bulk material or shipping crates. Light duty applications are common for overheads and they can often be found in mechanics shops.
Pros to both gantry and an overhead cranes:
The main differentiation between the two is that a gantry crane will be significantly cheaper to build. An overhead crane requires substantially more structure to support the load which will increase the overall cost in of the crane. An overhead cranes require columns down the full length of the crane to support the two run way beams where as a gantry crane only requires on set of upright structures and no run way beams. A gantry crane’s ability to use the floor as a supporting structure will cut thousands of lbs worth of steel and labor from a typical installation.
A gantry crane obviously has no columns but has a track running on the ground down the length of the runway. This requires people to section off this part of the shop and pretty much dedicate it for only the crane. In an overhead crane system, everything is in the air so the space below the crane can be used for walkways, doors or storage. You won’t have crane coverage in this area but at least it’s not dead space. So an overhead crane will net you better use of space for an identical area of coverage.
Both systems need annual maintenance and inspections completed by qualified personal. An overhead crane will have more components off the ground making inspection more difficult. With a gantry crane, all of the working parts are on the ground and easily accessible. On that same note, because the gantry has tracks that are on the ground they will be more susceptible to damage. Gantry cranes also pose an increase safety risk since there are electrical and pinch points at ground level.
One aspect of gantry cranes that I think is grossly underutilized is the fact that you can cantilever a load past the vertical upright and get it outside of the crane coverage area. This is really common in shipyards where there is a cantilevered section of a gantry crane on one side to pick shipping containers off of ships and move them between the uprights for storage. There is another cantilever out the other side to load trucks. This is only possible in a gantry style system since bridge beams have fixed runway beams blocking this operation. I see potential for this kind of operation in a hybrid system over a steel yard where the cantilevered section is used to unload steel from a truck that parks parallel to the length of the crane. The material can be sorted and stored under the main body of the crane. The other application that I can think of is transferring a load from one shop bay to the other across the crane boundaries. To do this with a an overhead crane you have to put the load down and move it across the dead space by some other means but with a gantry crane you could just use a cantilevered section to move the load across.
The last application where I feel a gantry crane would really shine is in the case where the system is just a temporary installation in a building. If you were to rent a shop rather than investing in the money for a bridge crane that would never come out of the building, you could build a gantry system that could with relative ease be moved to a different shop at a different date.
Select the Correct Crane for the Job
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Like I mentioned before I am not really partial to one crane over the other I just want people to understand a few of the less mentioned benefits of one style over the other so that the correct type of crane can be selected for the application.
Overhead crane or gantry crane, which do you choose for your material handling? Both overhead crane and gantry crane are widely used in different industries. How to choose? Check the comparison of overhead crane and gantry in terms of price, the use of dead space, and Safety and Maintenance, Ability to Transfer Loads, and installation, etc