May 2021

The Difference Between Forklifts and Cranes

Although fork lifts and cranes may operate at the same site, workers often use them in slightly different ways. These mobile lifting instruments both handle loads no person could maneuver themselves.
The Difference Between Fork lifts and Cranes

You can find many types of heavy machinery on a construction site, most of which perform tasks that would require far too much physical effort or time to complete on one’s own. Two such tools are the forklift and crane. Although both may operate at the same site, workers often use them in slightly different ways. Below is a brief overview of their specialized functions so that you can get a sense of their main uses in the construction field.

Forklift Uses

As mobile units that travel in compact spaces, forklifts lift loads from the bottom with their prongs (also called forks). These arms sometimes extend beyond the forklift’s body, but they always remain anchored to the front of the vehicle. Forklifts work best for carrying heavy loads across long distances, cutting down the time and effort needed to transport materials across the construction site.

Benefits of Cranes

Cranes come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have certain common features, such as rigging, jib, boom, and counterweights. As opposed to forklifts, cranes raise their loads from above. This distinctive difference allows cranes to maneuver items through a larger range of motion. However, due to their size, cranes are not ideal for small spaces. They work best when utilized in large construction projects where they have ample space to move.

Comparing Forklifts to Cranes

Forklifts and cranes are almost entirely different kinds of equipment. Though they both deal with lifting heavy loads, their scale and size vary greatly, and the project’s specifications determine which is best. Cranes and forklifts are both mobile lifting instruments that handle loads no person could maneuver themselves. Workers use cranes for everything from wind turbine assembly to skyscraper construction, while people utilize forklifts for tasks such as warehouse organization and product transportation. While these machines often appear together at a construction site, they will likely perform different functions.

Interested in learning more about what types of equipment would best serve your construction project’s needs? Call the Portland office of NessCampbell Crane + Rigging today at (503) 283-3111 to discuss your goals.

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