Hydraulic cranes rely heavily on the main hydraulic system as would be expected; however, that is not the only important component necessary to operate a National crane. There are several components that make up this vehicle and by knowing all basic parts, a good perspective of proper parts maintenance can be gained, which in case of any problems will make it easier to distinguish which component needs to be replaced.
Below are some ways to distinguish the external parts of a hydraulic National crane:
- Boom – The vehicle’s arm or boom is made from heavy-duty steel and has a primary function to lift loads up to 100 feet high or more. It is an essential part of the crane and can consist of telescopic sections which can be individually extended to increase the reach of the boom.
- Jib – This component is the lattice-like component that is typically attached to the boom’s end and serves to increase the total boom length. For instance, a 70-ton hydraulic truck which has a 127-foot boom with an additional 67-foot jib will have 194 feet of total length with which to reach.
- Cab – The cab is a small metal building usually located on the body of the crane where an operator can sit and maneuver the crane. Certain tools to handle the equipment are found inside of the cab that allows an operator to control the crane’s movement and lifting.
- Rotex Gear – This is a turntable bearing that is located underneath the operator’s cab. It enables the boom to move left to right as well as up and down. It can turn at 2 revolutions per minute and such activity is controlled by the hydraulic foot pedal inside the cab.
- Outriggers – These strange-looking devices serve as stability for the truck as the tires alone don’t offer the necessary stability. Outriggers are deployed to keep the truck properly balanced especially when lifting heavy material from the ground.
- Counterweights – These pieces of equipment are seldom noticed since they are detachable and placed underneath the cab to serve as another means of tipping over prevention. The amount of counterweight that is required is usually determined by the load weight, boom angle and boom radius.
Alongside of the seat inside the operator’s cab are three essential components that provide the ability to safely maneuver a crane truck: the joystick, the foot pedal and the load moment indicator.
- Joystick – This is the main boom control and consists of two joysticks which are usually placed on left and right side of an operator’s seat in the cab. One controls the forward and backward movement, while the other one is used to handle left-to-right movement.
- Foot Pedals – Inside of the cab, there are also two foot pedals that provide further operator control; one is designed to handle the pump’s generated amount of pressure and the other one is responsible for extending and retracting the boom’s telescopic section.
- Load Moment Indicator – These are a series of lights just inside the cab’s window that is connected to a computer inside the cab. When the crane is operated, the amount to be lifted as well as the height to be lifted is entered into the computer as well as the radius of the boom and the angle of the lift. Once this has been entered into the computer and the lift has been initiated, if the crane approaches its lifting capacity, the Load Moment Indicator or LMI signals light up to warn the operator of a hazardous condition.
Knowing about these important components is necessary to properly maintain the safety of the crane truck as well as all of the involved crew members. Safety is always the primary operation consideration – so count and know all of the components of a crane truck and know that safety will control any operation!
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