A mobile crane is a wheeled, self-propelled vehicle with either a cable-controlled or hydraulic-powered telescoping boom crane.
A mobile crane has three key benefits:
- Flexibility to drive on-road to the lift location
- High capacity
- Fast setup
The largest mobile cranes in the world can lift over 1000 tonnes, but most in New Zealand would lift between 50-250 tonnes. The largest mobile cranes in New Zealand have 8 axles and lift 450 tonnes. The smallest have two axles and lift around 10 tonnes.
A mobile crane has outriggers or stabilisers which are legs that extend from the side of the crane and allow for a greater ‘working radius’ or the distance from the crane that the crane can lift a load.
Almost all bar the smallest mobile cranes have a separate cab for the crane driver to operate the crane from. This usually slews (turns) with the crane. Some cranes have remote control units.
A mobile crane is different from a truck-mounted crane (mobile cranes don’t carry loads that are unrelated to the crane’s operation). It’s also different to a crawler crane which is a crane on tracks, and a tower crane, which is a crane on top of a tall vertical tower.
With a truck loader crane, companies tend to own them or lease them long-term as they are an integral part of a company’s operation, such as delivering building materials. Drivers do a truck-mounted crane course to get qualified. With a mobile crane, mostly they are rented for a specific job, such as lifting a large yacht off a trailer or a turbine onto a wind farm pylon, and they come with a qualified operator.
Specific qualifications are needed to operate a crane in New Zealand, including a W endorsement and the correct type of licence based on the weight of the crane (most likely to be a class 4 for all but the smallest mobile cranes). Australian and other overseas qualifications cannot be mapped to the NZ qualifications.
Crane operators do not need to keep logbooks.