Knuckleboom trucks are vehicles used for lifting and transporting heavy loads. It works in a similar manner to a telescopic crane truck in the sense that both of these types of equipment are outfitted with a boom which can be used to lift loads to various heights. Although both types of equipment work in the same manner, there is a huge difference in the way a knuckleboom truck is designed that gives it an advantage over a telescopic crane.
The name knuckleboom is derived from the way the mechanism is designed. Instead of a having a stiff boom design, this vehicle is capable of bending in several sections similar to how a human knuckle folds, hence the name. Each section is connected by an articulated joint which allows the entire length of the boom to be folded or extended, depending on the height and position of the load to be lifted.
The boom is permanently mounted behind the cab of a standard truck frame. The rest of the truck is a flatbed used for hauling loads. To stabilize the truck when the arm is deployed, the truck is equipped with four outriggers, two on each side of the truck.
A hydraulic pump driven by the truck’s engine through the means of a power take off (PTO), pumps the hydraulic fluid into a set of hydraulic rams which, in turn, converts the hydraulic fluid pressure into mechanical force to maneuver the booms into position to lift the load.
The unique engineering of this commercial vehicle gives it an advantage over a telescopic crane with similar capacities. The following are some of the advantages of using knuckleboom trucks.
- Compact Design – Knuckleboom trucks have a more compact design than any other crane. The boom can fold neatly behind the cab. This means there is no overhead limitation to the size of the load the truck can carry because there is no overhanging boom on top of the truck bed.
- Higher Capacity – The structure of the vehicle is designed in a way that the sections of the boom are kept lightweight while at the same time highly resistant to bending. Due to this design advantage, knuckleboom trucks can tolerate higher load capacities than other types of cranes.
- Higher Reach – Along with the articulating feature of the boom arm, the last boom section can be extended telescopically. The combination of the articulated boom and telescopic boom gives this truck a higher reach advantage.
- Precise Control and Mobility – Due to the fact that a knuckleboom is made up of several articulated sections, this allows operators to have greater control over the equipment and its load. The truck’s unique design gives it the capability to fully extend its boom at low heights and operate in confined areas that are inoperable using telescopic cranes.
The answer to what are knuckleboom trucks can be summarized by saying that they were primarily developed simply for loading and unloading cargo from the dump bed. Today, due to the versatility of its design, many industries have begun implementing the use of the truck for various hauling and lifting applications that require precise placement and control. What is a knuckleboom truck? It is one very versatile vehicle!