Knuckleboom_Truck_OrangeFollowing designated safety precautions and use declarations when industrial and heavy equipment is being used remains critical to getting the best use out of such equipment. When referring to knuckleboom trucks, information on correct positioning and lifting are important for a safe lift; however, it is most important to follow each unit’s load chart. Through calculations involving vehicle weight, crane weight, and other details such as crane reach and height, manufacturer’s load charts are provided for each specific knuckleboom truck configuration for safe and correct lifting. Every crane operator must understand how to interpret load charts for a safe and correct lift.

Why Load Charts Are Important

Knuckleboom truck operators know that these machines can be customized based on the size and weight of the truck, crane, and hydraulic lifting strength, which equates to every combination of truck and crane possible with different safe lifting capabilities that must be documented for each vehicle combination.

Because heavy weight that is lifted into the air can affect truck balance, lifting must be done according to what each specific truck can handle without risk of tipping, rolling, or dropping the lifted load. Load charts outline maximum weight limits for each truck and crane combination under different circumstances, such as with a fully-extended crane fully reached or less extended for more of an upward lift. Following load charts is the best way to prevent lifting accidents with knuckleboom trucks.

How Weight Affects Lift

The calculation in determining safe lifting limits for knuckleboom trucks involves: the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of the combined truck and crane; the lifting distance from the truck; lift range and angle; placement of outriggers; and the load weight. As can be seen, there is a lot more involved than one simple calculation; every single one of these variables will affect the maximum load that can be lifted and what lift angle is possible as well as the amount of space needed to  successfully complete a lift.

It is important to carefully determine load limits because heavy weights being lifted from the end of a crane apply downward pressure on the end of the crane as weight is shifted from the rear of the vehicle. Knuckleboom trucks can tip over if the crane’s load exerts more downward force than the weight of the truck.

Outriggers positioned toward the direction of the lift can help keep the truck balanced by preventing more of the weight from leaving the truck’s rear end; they must be correctly positioned relative to the distance and rotation of the lift as well as its weight.

A safe lift can only be accomplished when knuckleboom trucks remain correctly balanced despite the height, weight and length involved with the lift, making understanding load charts so critical. By paying attention to these limits and understanding load charts, lifting can be efficiently and safely done with knuckleboom trucks guided by the limitations of each truck as shown with load limit charts!

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