Some crawler cranes are specifically designed for a particular construction job. For example, when the Shard Tower was recently built in London and became the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Its massive steel girders needed a specially designed crawler crane to lift the heavy weight steel girders into position. The crane manoeuvres had to take place at night to avoid any safety issues while the tower was being erected in a tight, busy commercial area.
All of the parts on this crawler crane would have been uniquely designed for this one-off operation. Depending on what the crawler crane is being used for, it can have some real advantages. Its mobility, for example, allows it to turn on a tight area, without having to set it up and move it around too much. The cabin can spin on the spot a complete 360-degree turn and these cranes have some great stability and there is no need for any supporting rigs.
The crawler crane can even move along the building site or quarry with its heavy load still being carried. Some of the parts used for the crawler cranes include a hand rail that is strong enough to safely guide its operator from falling over the side of the crane and onto the crawler plates.
The crawler plates are made up of several metal panels locked together to allow free turning and movement. A similar style of plate is used on military tanks. There are disadvantages with crawler cranes that make them difficult to move from one building site to another. Often the crane is driven onto a specially adapted low loader vehicle and driven with police escort from one site to another. This of course can be rather expensive and costly but the heavy weights the crawler crane can lift can certainly save the construction industry a lot of money by easily shifting beams, heavy loads and cumbersome weights with swiftness and ease.
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