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A Basic Guide to Overhead Crane Operation

13 March 2023

Hydromech’s basic guide to overhead crane operation – your key to safe and efficient lifting solutions. Call us at (03) 9791 1322 for more information.

This manual will teach you all you need to know about overhead cranes.

What Exactly Is an Overhead Crane?

An overhead crane is a heavy-duty machinery capable of lifting extremely large goods and equipment from one area to another safely and precisely by utilising a manufacturing facility’s overhead space. They are precision-adjusted and developed to match a certain loading application because of the nature of the task they conduct.

Overhead cranes are available in a wide range of sizes, styles, forms, combinations, components, and accessories. They are used to load and unload items, move materials, raise dies from stamping machines, and feed raw materials.

The two most important reasons for installing an overhead crane are efficiency and safety. Overhead cranes may operate much quicker than floor or land-based machines. Overhead cranes can safely transfer products in hazardous, dangerous, and extreme environments, such as hot metals, chemicals, or poisonous materials, without harming personnel.

Overhead Crane Operation

When moving big goods or exceptionally heavy loads through a production plant, using an overhead crane is more convenient and efficient than navigating aisles and floor space. Overhead cranes can safely lift, descend, and travel horizontally along a rail or beam and raise extremely heavy objects. An operator controls the crane’s travel and speed using a pendant station or wireless control.

Overhead cranes have a rectangular footprint and can move goods from side to side, forwards and backwards. Though no two overhead cranes are the same, they all have some elements in common, such as a hoist, trolley, beams, girders, and control systems.


Over the rectangular working area, an overhead crane bridge runs longitudinally along tracks on runway beams. Bridges are comprised of steel girders joined to runways at each end.


The lifting mechanism, which includes a brake, motor, reducer, drum, and set of pulleys, is housed in the lifting trolley. The motor powers a drum, which spins through the reducer and powers the wire rope or chain that raises and lowers the weight.


A crane’s drive mechanism is divided into two components. The lengthy transmission drives both sides’ wheels, while a separate engine drives each pair of wheels independently.

Power Source

The power supply is a complicated issue since there are so many distinct types of power systems, each with its connections. The three most frequent varieties are conductor bars, festoon systems, and cable reels. Most overhead cranes are powered by electricity, while pneumatics powers others. Power is transferred to the crane runway and bridge crane control through cable festoons, conductor bars, or reel cables. This power feed powers the trolley and hoist.


Each movement of an overhead crane is controlled by software and electronics designed to function in tandem for the safety and convenience of operation. An overhead crane operator has complete control over the load at all times. The most basic controls consist of a start and stop button, but more complicated controllers include joysticks and tablets to programme a larger range of motions and movements. The crane’s constraints are programmed into the controls, determining what it can accomplish and where it can go. Control systems use statistics, diagnostics, and ways to correct any operational faults.

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