Archive: Feb 2021

Serving the US Overhead Crane Industry as CMAA President

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American Crane is a proud member of the Crane Manufacturing Association of America (CMAA).  I am honored to serve as President of the CMAA for the next two years. The CMAA’s mission is the deliver technical specifications and resources that promote safety in the design, operation and maintenance of overhead cranes.  This group is an affiliation of the Material Handling Industry (MHI),  and is an independent trade organization that advocates for optimal crane safety, Overhead Crane Best Practices and serves as a resource for all types of professionals within the industry.

CMAA Members are include top US industrial cranes manufacturers, leading suppliers of overhead crane systems,  designing, manufacturing, assembling, installing and servicing overhead cranes and components. The CMAA organization brings crane industry leaders together and facilitates various industry events and educational opportunities.

CMAA’s engineering committee includes over 50 experts including structural, electrical and mechanical.  The volunteers, including several of our American Crane engineers, work together to design, review and update specifications that are recognized as the preferred design standards for overhead traveling cranes and integrated crane systems, as well as crane components.  We use these specifications to engineer and build our cranes.

The Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) has released in late 2020 the latest updates to two of its technical specifications. This release is the first substantial changes to the specifications since 2015.

CMAA Specification 70 – Specifications for Top Running Bridge & Gantry Type Multiple Girder Electric Overhead Traveling Cranes

CMAA Specification 74 – Specifications for Top Running & Under Running Single Girder Electric Traveling Cranes Utilizing Under Running Trolley Hoist

These releases contain updates to the following areas:

  • Runway rail straightness and elevation table
  • Wind Restraints
  • FEA design
  • Service wind load
  • Box girder design updates
  • End truck deflection
  • Hoist wire rope angle of loading
  • Wire rope and D/d ratio
  • Hoist drum design
  • Keys and keyways
  • Continuous and intermittent duty motors
  • Wiring practices
  • Cab, pendant, and radio layouts
  • Regenerative power considerations
  • Application of IEEE 519 for cranes
  • Magnet controls
  • Rail clamps

CMAA has also created a comprehensive Buyer’s Guide to assist procurement professionals in the selection of material handling equipment. This is a great tool to use when purchasing overhead cranes.

As a top overhead crane manufacturer and supplier in the USA, we are proud to be an executive member of the CMAA and I look forward to serving our industry as President of this organization.  For more information, please contact us.


Bridge Maintenance and Repair Travelers

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Bridges require regular maintenance and repair to remain safe for use. At American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO), we offer a wide range of lifting solutions to facilitate bridge maintenance and repair operations for our customers. One of our product specializations is bridge maintenance and repair travelers.

What Are Bridge Maintenance and Repair Travelers?

Bridge maintenance and repair travelers are movable platforms that enable personnel to access the underside of bridge structures for inspection and maintenance purposes. Compared to other similar bridge repair and maintenance equipment (e.g., scaffolds), they allow technicians to reach critical points and complete work without impeding traffic.

Given the critical nature of their applications, these structures are designed and built with numerous elements to ensure smooth and reliable performance and user safety, such as:

  • Anti-skewing technology: enables operation on flexible, uneven, or misaligned runways
  • Fully caged work platforms: prevent personnel from falling from work platforms
  • Non-slip platform surfaces: minimizes the risk of personnel slipping and falling on work platforms
  • On-board personnel access lifts: improves accessibility for personnel
  • Portable operator controls: enhances the user-friendliness of operator controls
  • Redundant drop capture systems: prevents separation of the traveler from the bridge

Features of ACECO’s Bridge Maintenance and Repair Travelers

ACECO bridge maintenance and repair travelers are available in self-propelled, gas, diesel, or electric variations. While each traveler is custom-designed for its intended application, some of the standard features include:

  • Stainless, galvanized, or plated steel construction on non-painted surfaces
  • Weather-hardened design (including specialized corrosion-resistant coatings) for heavy-duty performance
  • On-board personnel lifts

Optional features include personnel seating, telescopic extensions, Coast Guard approved navigation lights, diagnostic equipment, backup motors, escape devices, emergency stop buttons, warning devices.

One of the key elements that set our bridge maintenance and repair travelers apart from the competition is SAFTRACK® technology. By combining our proprietary control software and field-proven bridge crane components, it offers users a number of advantages, including:

  • Utilizing anti-skewing technology to accommodate operation on flexible, uneven, or misaligned runaways
  • Allowing for custom solutions using conventional crane components
  • Enabling independent control of each traveler drive
  • Providing controlled acceleration and deceleration of each traveler

Contact the Bridge Maintenance Equipment Experts at ACECO Today

At ACECO, We are Your Expert, Craftsman, and Partner for all of your bridge maintenance equipment needs. We focus on making your job easier by providing turnkey material handling solutions backed by extensive experience and quality resources. Our custom bridge maintenance and repair travelers enable your technicians to access critical bridge points safely without the need for road or lane closures. To learn more about these products or discuss your requirements with one of our experts, contact us or request a quote today.

Five Factors that Affect Gantry Crane Design

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A gantry crane uses its own legs for support rather than a beam or other fixture within the facility. Indoor gantry cranes may have a single or multiple girders, with multiple girder models better suited to heavy-duty work. There are four primary styles of gantry crane, each suited to specific applications:

  • Full gantry cranes.The most popular style, full gantry cranes have two legs that run along a track. That track is typically embedded into the work surface, so trucks, forklifts, and other vehicles can easily cross it.
  • Semi gantry cranes.This type of gantry crane has one leg. The other side of the crane runs along a track on the wall to save space. Both full and semi gantry cranes are common in heavy-lift manufacturing applications.
  • Portable gantry cranes.These cranes are fixed on wheels, allowing them to be moved throughout a facility and easily stored out of the way. Portable gantry cranes are best-suited for lighter lifting tasks. Portable gantry cranes are often used to hold a load so workers can easily access it for maintenance or modification. Portable gantry cranes have a myriad of uses in manufacturing and warehouse environments.
  • Adjustable gantry cranes.Another light-duty option, adjustable cranes allow adjustment of the span or the height of the cranes to manage different types of loads. These cranes see frequent use in warehouses and in manufacturing environments with variable loads.

Primary Factors that Affect Gantry Crane Design

It’s important to choose the right crane for the job. Depending upon your application, you may require a custom gantry crane design. This ensures the crane suits its intended working conditions, facility layout, and load requirements. The following factors impact gantry design:

Arm and Span Length

When determining arm and span length, first consider the size of the work area and the size and weight of the maximum load. This is where gantry crane design begins. Determine how big the crane needs to be, and how much weight it must support or lift reliably.

Indoor or Outdoor Use

The operating environment of the crane will determine the ideal materials and finishes used to fabricate its various components. Consider temperature extremes and fluctuations, weather exposure, and harsh operating conditions to help guide the selection of the proper materials and finishing processes.

Fixed or Rotating Axle End Trucks

Indoor cranes typically use fixed axle end trucks because they largely stay in one place. Outdoor cranes may need to move across yards where they can gather dirt and debris that will impact performance. Rotating axle end trucks have fewer parts and use lubrication to block dirt and debris.


Gantry cranes are versatile, cost-effective, and easy to maintain, but they move loads slowly. If speed is a priority within your operation, you may need to consider a different type of crane. Attempting to move a load more quickly than a gantry crane allows could cause an accident or damage the load or equipment.

Power Delivery

Cable reels are a common choice for supplying power, as the spring-loaded or motor-driven design can release and retrieve cable as you need it. Mounting the cable reel on a swivel provides an ability to work in multiple directions, but the downside is that the cable will sag when long lengths are in use. This may cause problems for foot and motor traffic on the ground. Custom solutions may include a series of poles and beams designed to keep wires off the ground. For portable gantry cranes, a longer extension cord may be sufficient, or it may be possible to simply position the crane closer to a power source.

Common Applications & Uses of Gantry Cranes

Some indoor gantry crane models can lift up to five tons, making them useful in a range of applications such as shipyards, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, forges, and more. Gantry cranes offer versatility and reliability when lifting large and heavy components, raw materials, and heavy finished parts.

Gantry Crane Design Standards

Like other heavy equipment, gantry design is based on specific standards for function and safety. These standards cover design, fabrication, material selection, and even painting.

The Operational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers guidelines for the safe operation of gantry cranes. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) provides guidelines for building gantry cranes, as does the American Welding Association (AWS). All cranes must comply with these standards.

When you work with a reputable crane supplier, you can trust your gantry crane design meets all regulations to keep your workplace OSHA compliant and your employees safe. All gantry cranes manufactured or sold by American Crane follow the requirements set forth by these organizations. We also adhere to the stringent quality requirements and standards of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) in duty classes A through F. We factory test all of our gantry cranes before we ship to the customer.

Indoor Lifting Solutions From American Crane

American Crane is a leading manufacturer and distributor of cranes and hoists. Our quality assurance program meets the standards for the nuclear industry, and we offer an expansive range of customization options to tailor crane solutions to specific application environments. Our portfolio of gantry cranes includes:

We can help you rebuild existing equipment or provide you with brand new solutions. We also offer load testing, upgrades, inspections, and an extensive parts catalog.

Contact us or request a quote to learn more about gantry crane design or how we can help you fully customize a gantry hoist to suits your needs.

A Time of Change and Disruption

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Everyone is dealing with a huge amount of change and disruption right now.

But change and disruption are not new.  They are a normal part of business. A common obstacle to overcome and leverage is possible. What is new to the scene is the pace.

What is keeping you up at night?

For me, as the leader of one of the top overhead crane manufacturers in the USA, it is the rate and pace with which change is happening.  As a business leader, I look to work with vendors and partners who can help me stay ahead of waves of change here at American Crane and Equipment Corporation. As a partner, we strive to be one that can help our customers overcome these obstacles.

A new business landscape was unfolding before the challenges of 2020. We have entered a period of time with 10x speed up on digital advancements affecting industry. John Chambers, Former CEO CISCO, states this warning for business leaders – “50% of Fortune 500 Companies Won’t Exist in 10 Years.” This is in reference to our current period of time where you either disrupt or you get disrupted.

How do we manage this? What steps can we take?

Here are a few tips that we use here at American Crane:

Can I have a little help from my friends?

It has never been more important to select key partners and suppliers who will help you navigate the choppy waters of change. We value our key relationships and look for suppliers and partners who deliver on what they say they will do. We look for transparency with no surprises. This is also what we strive to provide to our customers.

Look beyond the Horizon.

We are always looking to the horizon for disruptive technologies and potential innovated solution. Make sure to your company has scouts looking to the horizon for opportunities and potential pitfalls.

Cultivate and Grow your Garden, your people.

Our amazing people are the key to our success. We have worked hard to create and maintain a culture of innovation and empowerment that allows our people to thrive. We embrace our people and our culture as our secret weapon. We call it GRIT Matters – Perseverance, Heart & Integrity. It has been essential during this crisis.  I am inspired and motivated by my amazing people who have risen to the occasion.  And I am grateful that our ship is continuing to float during this storm as many others are have much more difficulties than we do. This provides me with inspiration and motivation to stay the course and outlast the storm.

Stop the struggle, embrace digital transformation.

We embrace digital transformation combined with our ability to adapt, manage & leverage disruptive change, as yet another competitive advantage. This was critical to our survival in 2020 and will only continue to be so into the future.  We have experienced a speed up this digital transformation in our business operations and products as a manufacture of overhead cranes and hoists. The crane industry is no different. Digital transformation is affecting our industry. From smart designs and enhanced connectivity to Remote diagnostics, maintenance monitoring and automated positioning. We can now make our equipment intelligent, thru advanced crane technology, providing us with valuable feedback on safety, reliability, and efficiency. This can help extend the life of your equipment while providing scalable and safe lifting solutions.  This all can translate into reduced downtime, cost saving on maintenance and extended life your equipment. As a crane technology leader, we have been pushing the technology edges of our products, solving the toughest challenges for our customers, and providing overhead lifting and material handling solutions for almost 50 years. Whether in the office, in the shop or in the field, we do not shy away from the waves of change from digital advancements, instead we seek to learn to surf them and make them a part of our business.

Your Expert, Craftsman and Partner – Trust American Crane as your top overhead crane manufacturer and supplier in the USA

As one of the top overhead crane manufacturers and suppliers in the USA, we care about the success of not just our equipment but our customers. And as a partner to our customers, we strive to help make their lives easier by providing excellent project management. It is our job to make the process of purchasing, engineering, and installing your overhead lifting needs as painless as possible. We understand that our products are tools to help you get to the real work, your work… Letting you serve your customers.

We are passionate about delighting our customers.

We want to be your best partner, delivering what we say we will. Our mission is to make our customers’ live easier. We do what we commit to do, do it well and do it on-schedule. At American Crane, we have the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you find the perfect solutions for your application.

When you work with us, we deliver as the expert in our technology, as a partner to make sure you project goes smoothly working thru any challenges with you, no surprises. And, as a craftsman, providing reliable, quality equipment backed by our know-how.  This is what we demand of our vendors and partners, and what you should require from yours. You can have high expectations of American Crane as your partner for all your overhead lifting needs.


Karen Norheim

President & COO

How Does a Hoist Work?

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A hoist helps to raise and lower heavy loads and is sometimes used to transport objects from one location to another. There are many types of hoists that may be operated manually, pneumatically, or electronically. This mechanical device most often features one or multiple fixed pulleys, a moving pulley with a hook or other component for attaching loads, and a braided rope between them. As a leading manufacturer of hoists, American Crane can help you decide on the best crane hoist for your project’s needs.

Parts of a Hoist

Parts of a Hoist

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There are many components that make up a hoist, including:

●      Traveling Machinery. Made up of a motor, gear, and brake, the traveling machinery allows for the horizontal movement of the hoist.

●      Trolley. A trolley is a support structure that the hoisting machinery is attached to. It is composed of a load beam and end carriages.

●      Rope. The rope of a hoist features strong metal wires that are laid together like a helix or braid.

●      Hook. The hook features a clamp that connects the load to the hoist. The clamp or other locking mechanism is necessary to support the object moved by the hoist.

●      Controller. A radio or pendant operates the control system, which directs the vertical movement of the hook as well as the horizontal movement of the hoist.

How a Hoist Works

Operating a hoist includes knowing the weight restrictions and requirements as well as built-in safety features. The operator may set operating limits of a hoist, which limit movements under certain circumstances. A hoist also comes with safety features that prevent overloading a lift, limit travelling movement, or prevent all movements with an emergency stop button.

Once all regulations and requirements are set, the operator uses the controller to activate the relevant button or joystick to move the hook vertically. The signals given by the operator, along with any safety devices or sensors, control the break and motor. When the hoist receives the signal, power is supplied to the motor, releasing the break. The motor drives the hoisting gear, which reduces the rotation speed and increases torque in order to lift the load.

The rope is fixed to the hoisting drum on one end and connected to the rope anchorage on the other. As the hoist drum rotates, the rope winds or unwinds and is guided into the correct groove of the drum, allowing the hook to raise or lower. There are two ways to stop a hoist: by releasing the up or down controls on the controller, or by activating the emergency stop button.

Contact American Crane: Your Expert, Craftsman & Partner for Hoists Today

There are many components of a hoist that work together to properly raise and lower loads within a facility. At American Crane, we offer a wide range of custom and standard hoists and hoist accessories for a diverse range of industries and applications. Our hoist options include air, electric, and manually-operated rope and chain hoists. To learn more about our products and capabilities, contact us or request a quote today. You can also check out our hoist catalog or download our Bridge Crane Lineup sheet.