Archive: Jan 2021

Top 12 Crane and Hoist Terms to Know

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Selecting the best crane or hoist equipment for your application is a challenging process. To find equipment that will facilitate safe and efficient operations, it is important to have a thorough understanding of crane terminology, different crane types, parts of a crane, and lifting terms. To help you, here is an overview of the top 12 terms you should know.


CMAAC.M.A.A. refers to the Crane Manufacturers Association of America, an independent trade association that establishes and maintains quality and performance standards for electric overhead cranes. Established in 1927 as Electric Overhead Crane Institution, the C.M.A.A. is an internationally recognized authority for crane standards.

Crane Boom

One of the most noticeable crane components is the boom. While a crane boom encompasses a variety of designs and features, it is fundamentally defined as the framework that supports and moves the load.

Critical Load

Critical load refers to a load that requires additional control or support because it approaches the maximum weight capacity. If released or moved without adequate control, a critical load can severely compromise the safety of the system. Critical loads require the use of single failure proof cranes, which ensure adequate operational safety.

Explosion Proof Crane

Explosion proof cranes are specifically designed to contain explosions and prevent heat or sparks from entering the surrounding workspace. They are used for applications where flammable and explosive materials are present, and they are typically divided into Class I, II, and III.

Class I is the most stringent, and these cranes are intended for applications where ignition of highly combustible materials and gases is likely, while Class II cranes are for potentially combustible airborne dust. Class III is the least strict, and these cranes are for applications with potentially ignitable airborne fibers.

Flux Vector Drive

A flux vector drive is a variable frequency drive that is used to monitor and control the speed and direction of the crane’s motor shaft. It allows for a greater degree of control over crane speed and braking by using a closed-loop system and adjustable incremental encoder to monitor the motor shaft during operation.


The term “hoist” defines equipment that is used specifically for lifting and lowering loads. Hoisting, by its definition, is the act of raising a load on the vertical plane, and the term is often used in reference to the lifting applications of cranes.


For cranes, lift refers to the highest point to which a crane’s hook, magnet, or buck can lift a particular weight. Critical load calculations are used to define the lift of a given crane or hoist assembly, depending on the size and configuration of the crane and the weight of the load.

Load Block

Load block is the assembly of crane accessories suspended by the hoisting lines, which includes the hook, swivel, bearings, sheaves, pins, and frame. It is used to lift and move the load, and it monitors the tensile pressure to ensure that the loads remain within lifting capacity.

Overhead Crane

An overhead crane is specifically designed to move heavy loads by operating from a fixed overhead structure. They can be operated using a mobile or stationary hoist and mobile bridge. Overhead cranes are available in a variety of designs and configurations.

Single Failure Proof

Single failure proof cranes are engineered to ensure that if one crane component fails, it will not cause the failure of another component within the system. This helps to secure the load, particularly in instances where load failure can have extremely negative effects.

Top Running Crane

Top running cranes are a type of overhead traveling crane that travels along rails supported by single or double girders with truck ends attached to runway support beams. They are capable of carrying loads without limiting capacity and are ideal for load-bearing applications in facilities with limited overhead space.


The wheelbase of a crane or hoist refers to the distance from center to center of the outermost wheels, measured parallel to the support rail. This measurement can be used to determine carrying capacity.

Contact the Crane and Hoist Experts at American Crane

At American Crane, we have the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you find the perfect mobility solutions for your application. To learn how our crane and hoist equipment can improve your operations, contact us today or request a quote.

Top-Running vs. Under-Running Overhead Cranes

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When it comes to overhead cranes, there are several options to choose from, including top-running and under-running. While top-running and under-running overhead cranes are both used to lift and move loads vertically and horizontally, each type offers their own unique advantages. Understanding the differences between these two types of cranes will help you determine which one is best for your needs.

Top-Running Overhead Cranes

Top-running overhead cranes run on a fixed rail mounted on top of each runway beam, which allows the end trucks to carry the girder and hoist along the top. These cranes can be set up as a single girder or double girder depending on the application needs. A single girder has a trolley and hoist mounted on the bottom, whereas a double girder uses a top running trolley and hoist, allowing for additional lift height and a higher hook height.

Some key advantages of top-running overhead cranes include:

  • No limiting capacity. This allows for the ability to handle both small and large loads.
  • Added lift height. Being mounted on top of each runway beam allows for increased lift height, which is beneficial to buildings with limited headroom.
  • Built for higher capacities. Top-running overhead cranes are built larger than under-running cranes to grant them the ability to handle higher capacities.
  • Easy installation. Since the crane is supported by the runway beams, it eliminates the suspended load factor to make installation simple.
  • Less maintenance. Over time, top-running overhead cranes do not require as much maintenance other than the routine checking of the tracking for proper alignment and any issues.

Under-Running Overhead Cranes

Designed with flexibility and functionality in mind, under-running overhead cranes have a user-friendly design that provides ultimate versatility for meeting all your production needs. These cranes are also known as underhung cranes because the bottom flange of the runway beam offers support for the wheels to move the bridge across the facility.

The trolley and hoist of an under-running overhead crane move across the bottom flange of the bridge beam, lowering the crane’s hook and lift height. Under-running overhead cranes are usually set up as single girder because a double girder design is often more expensive and not suitable for the application.

Some advantages of under-running overhead cranes include:

  • Operates well in wide bays. Underhung cranes can be operated in multiple runways, reducing the depth of the girder.
  • Lighter overall design requirements. Under-running overhead cranes are much lighter, which removes the need for additional supporting columns that take up precious floor space. Instead, the crane utilizes the existing overhead building structure for support.
  • Lower costs. The lightweight design and use of the existing ceiling trusses or roof structure result in lower equipment costs.
  • Ability for multiple crane installations. It is possible to install under-running cranes next to each other and operate them at the same time for increased production efficiency.

Overhead Cranes at American Crane

It is important to understand the advantages of top-running and under-running overhead cranes to help you select the best option for your production needs. At American Crane, we are a leading manufacturer of cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment. As a member of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), our team of experts can provide you with an overhead crane solution suited to your project’s specifications. For more information on our capabilities, contact us or request a quote today.

Top 5 Safety Considerations for Crane Operations

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There are many facets to crane operation safety, and you can’t afford to ignore any of them. To avoid employee injuries, OSHA fines and lawsuits, and the cost of repairing equipment and property, it is crucial to make the following safety considerations: have a certified and competent crane operator, perform regular inspections of the crane and job sight, abide by load capacities and weight requirements, use equipment properly, and communicate effectively.

Safety Tips

To take a well-rounded approach to crane operation safety, it is important to consider these five safety tips:

  • Have a certified and competent crane operator. Having a fully trained crane operator is the most important safety consideration. Without a qualified operator, it won’t matter how well you address other safety considerations.
  • Perform regular inspections of the crane and job site. It is important to inspect the crane, rigging, and personal safety gear for wear, damage, and functionality. You should also inspect the job site by making sure that the crane is on a stable surface and that there are no obstacles in the swing radius or below the crane. Work environments change frequently, so performing these inspections regularly is crucial.
  • Abide by load capacities and weight requirements. All hardware, ropes, and slings have particular weight restrictions, and it is crucial not to exceed them. Overloading your equipment could cause the crane to tip or the load to drop, crushing anything beneath it. Overloading equipment can also lead to costly equipment damage.
  • Use equipment properly. Cranes are for vertical lifting, not for dragging or side loading. Using cranes for improper activities puts stress on the turntable, the boom, and the structural members, potentially weakening components and causing equipment failure.
  • Communicate effectively. Use hand signals, radios, or air horns to ensure clear communication between the crane operator and other workers. It is important to make sure that each employee knows what the signals mean to eliminate safety risks and confusion.

Partner with American Crane – Your Expert, Craftsman and Partner for Optimal Safety

Crane safety is extremely important as it provides protection for your workers and business. While these safety considerations are paramount, there are many more to be aware of, and partnering with an expert will help you understand them all. At American Crane, we are a leading manufacturer of standard and custom cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment, and safety is one of our top priorities. To get started on your crane solution, or to learn more about crane safety, download our service brochure, contact us or request a quote today.


Which Type of Overhead Crane Do You Need?

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There is no one-size-fits-all crane solution. Overhead cranes are as versatile and varied as the jobs they’re built to do, with each crane type designed for specific types of work. For safety, effectiveness, and efficiency, it’s essential to get the right overhead crane for your project. Read on to learn more about types of overhead cranes and how to choose the best one for you.

What Will Be the Overhead Crane’s Purpose?

The first step in determining which overhead crane you need requires understanding the types of lifts you need the crane to do and the environment in which it will operate. Some of the questions you should ask include:

  • What size is the facility?
  • How heavy are the items the overhead crane will be lifting?
  • How many loads must it lift per hour, and how many hours per day will it be in operation?
  • What range of movement does the crane need?
  • What’s the temperature of the facility? Will there be sizeable temperature changes?
  • Will the crane need to tolerate exposure to certain chemicals, gases, moisture, sunlight, rain, wind, dust, or other potentially harmful factors?
  • Will the crane work with explosive or corrosive materials?
  • Will the lifts require rapid, repeatable lifting or slow, precise crane handling?

Determining these factors will help you to identify the overhead crane best-suited to your application and environment.

The Overhead Crane’s Weight Capacity

Cranes have varying capabilities when it comes to lifting. Each machine has a maximum lifting capacity, which is the heaviest weight that the crane can lift safely. Determining the maximum safe lifting capacity isn’t always as simple as knowing the weight of the lifted items.

For example, say you need to lift a product that weighs five tons. Whether a crane with a five-ton capacity will best suit the job depends on multiple factors. The answers to these questions will help you determine if a five-ton maximum lift capacity is enough:

  • How many times a day must the crane lift that five-ton weight?
  • Does every item weigh five tons, or do most of them weigh far less?
  • Will the crane occasionally need to lift something heavier than five tons?
  • Will operational changes or expansions require heavier lifts in the future?

You might want a slightly higher lifting capacity than your maximum lift to stay on the safe side, but there’s also no reason to go too big. Overhead cranes tend to become more expensive as lifting capacity goes up, so going overboard on maximum lift capabilities will ultimately cost unnecessary money. Conversely, barely scraping by on lifting power and overworking the machine will result in expensive repairs or replacements, ultimately driving up costs in the long run.

You also have to consider the crane’s speed requirements and how the load’s weight will affect it. While standard speeds are sufficient for most applications, yours may have unique needs. Maintaining your production output could rely on a crane that can move quickly, with easy loading and unloading. Assembling products may require slower-moving, highly precise crane operation.

Each type of overhead crane has its benefits, and most are customizable to meet specific needs. When trying to determine the best crane for your needs, this general breakdown may help:

  • Overhead bridge cranes have the largest lifting capacity.
  • Double-girder bridge cranes work at high speeds and repeatedly lift heavy loads
  • Overhead gantry cranes offer precision movement

Overhead Cranes from American Crane & Equipment Corporation

With so many considerations, choosing the best overhead crane for you isn’t an easy task, but the team at American Crane can help. As Your Expert, Craftsman and Partner, we’re committed to high-quality products, a safety-first mentality, and customer satisfaction. Our experts will communicate with you to understand your needs and ensure that you receive the best overhead lifting solution for your application.

For assistance with crane selection or more information about our engineering and manufacturing capabilities, please contact us or request a quote today.

CM Lodestar Product Line

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The CM Lodestar Electric Chain Hoist sets the standard for industrial grade hoists throughout the industry. Our chain hoists are used in a broad range of industries and applications, both as individual hoists and as component hoists in large-scale mechanical assemblies. Whether you are working on a small scale industrial operation or a large construction project, CM Lodestar’s electric chain hoist can be tailored to meet your needs.

CM Lodestar Electric Chain Hoist Features & Capabilities

CM Hoist Lodestar Electric Chain Hoist
CM Lodestar’s Electric Chain Hoists offer a host of unique features and capabilities that set them apart from other hoist and lift designs. Key features and capabilities include:

Quiet Operation

CM hoists are designed to operate smoothly and quietly, thereby enhancing workplace safety and operator comfort. With noise levels 80% lower than the Classic Lodestar hoist, you won’t have to worry about obtaining soundproofing equipment or material to ensure the safety of your workers.

Less Maintenance and Easy Inspection

Lodestar hoists are exceptionally reliable and efficient. The Heavy Duty DC Brake system includes helical gears, which require less maintenance than traditional designs. Precision gears in the gearbox are lifetime lubricated and the clutch is located outside the gearbox, providing reduced lifetime maintenance and easy component inspection access.

Improved Chain Life

CM Lodestar’s state-of-the-art 5-Pocket Life Wheel offers more load support for chain engagement. This ensures that loads can be lifted more smoothly, with less unwanted vibration, thereby extending the life of your chain. Our Star Grade chain is plated with a zinc protective coating to reduce the potential for corrosion and enhance overall chain service life.

Improved Load Safety

The clutch is located outside the load path, which prevents gear slippage when the brake is not in use. This helps to enhance load safety and reduces the potential for equipment damage due to slippage.

Easy Access Control Panel

The CM Lodestar Electric Chain Hoist is designed with an easy-to-use control panel with finger-safe wiring and plug-and-play connectors for quick terminal access, voltage modifications, and fuse changes.

Environmentally Friendly

The precision gears in the gearbox are lifetime grease lubricated, which reduces the need for regular oil changes and hazardous waste disposal. As an additional environmental benefit, we ship all of our gearboxes and components in recycled material.

CM Lodestar Electric Chain Hoist Industries & Applications

CM Lodestar’s Electric Chain Hoist is a highly versatile option for load-bearing applications in a variety of industries. At American Crane, we offer an extensive selection of Lodestar chain hoists, with capacities from 1 to 10 tons and chain lengths of 10 feet, 15 feet, and 20 feet. With a variety of single- and variable-speed options and both single- and three-phase power options, you are sure to find the exact hoist to accommodate your production speed and lift capacity.

Contact American Crane For Your Electric Chain Hoist Today

At American Crane, We are Your Expert, Craftsman, and Partner. We are dedicated to providing superior quality cranes, hoists, and lifts to meet the needs of nearly any application. To learn more about our selection of CM Lodestar Electric Chain Hoists, and ways they can benefit your operation, request a quote today.

The Four Key Crane Components

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Cranes are a type of material handling equipment used to facilitate the movement of bulky or heavy materials around industrial and commercial worksites. While they are available in many designs and configurations to suit different applications, they generally consist of the same four basic components. Each of these components serves a different function that, when combined with those of the other components, enables the crane assembly to lift and position loads as intended.

Below, we provide a more comprehensive overview of each of the four key crane components.

Parts of a Crane

Cranes consist of four key components:

1. Hook

hook and hoistThe hook element of a crane is the part that holds or carries the load and connects it to the hoisting element. Due to its function, it experiences a significant amount of wear during operations, which makes it one of the parts that need to be regularly replaced.

2. Hoist

The hoist element of a crane provides the vertical lifting and lowering power. Its lifting and lowering capacity is influenced by its design and construction. For example, chain hoists offer load capacities of ≤5 tons, while wire rope hoists offer load capacities of ≥5 tons. Similarly, hand-powered hoists are suitable for lighter loads, while electric-powered hoists are suitable for heavier loads.

Some cranes feature a main hoist and auxiliary hoist. The former is used to handle heavier loads at slower speeds, while the latter is used to handle lighter loads at faster speeds.

3. Trolley

top running trolleyThe trolley element of a crane provides the horizontal movement power. It is designed to move the hoist and hook components along a track or beam across the top (top-running trolleys) or bottom (bottom-running trolleys) of the bridge component.

Some cranes feature bogies. These short end trucks allow for the placement of multiple wheels at each corner of the crane to ensure more even load distribution.

4. Bridge

The bridge element of a crane is the part that bears the weight of the load and the other crane components (e.g., hook, hoist, and trolley). It runs the entire length of the crane system, allowing the trolley and, consequently, the attached hoist and hook to move horizontally across the worksite.

The bridge consists of large horizontal structural beams—i.e., girders—supported by end trucks. The girders generally have a slight upward vertical curved—i.e., camber—to compensate for the deflection caused by the weight of the load and the other crane components. Depending on the load requirements, the bridge may have a single or double beam configuration. The rectangular cross-section of the girders, trucks, and other members, consisting of two rolled steel side plates and a top and bottom plate, is known as the box section.

ACECO: Your Expert, Craftsman, & Partner for Cranes, Hoists, and Other Material Handling Equipment

Cranes play an essential role in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. However, it is important to choose a design and configuration that accommodates the load and other work requirements of the job site. Otherwise, there is a risk of the unit failing and causing employee injury or equipment damage. If you need assistance selecting and sourcing a crane for your facility, ACECO has got you covered.

At American Crane & Equipment Corporation, we specialize in manufacturing standard and custom cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment. Equipped with extensive industry experience and highly skilled engineers, we are the ideal expert, craftsman, and partner for all load lifting and positioning needs. To learn more about our products and services or discuss your equipment requirements with one of our team members, contact us or request a quote today.