In the heavy equipment industry, there are countless machines that require a great deal of expertise and precision to operate. This equipment has made it easy to build high rising establishments like the popular Transnet Building in SA. Equipment such as cranes, excavators, backhoe loaders, trenchers, caterpillars, landfill compactor, and graders etc. These heavy-duty vehicles have been especially designed for executing construction work involving earthwork operations. Heavy equipment is also known as construction equipment or engineering equipment. We are going to look at a crane and how exactly it operates.
A crane is a machine equipped with a hoist rope, wire ropes or chains and sheaves. It is used to either lift or lower heavy materials and also moving them horizontally depending on the task at hand. Cranes are popularly used in the transport industry for the loading and unloading of freight. In the construction industry, they are used for the movement of materials and in the manufacturing industry – for the assembling of heavy equipment. This is work beyond the normal capacity of a human. Let’s look at the most commonly used type of crane – the tower crane.
This is a common feature at any major construction site. Tower cranes are hard to miss because of the gigantic size. They often rise hundreds of feet into the air and can reach out just as far in width. They are used to lift steel, concrete, heavy tools like generators and any other building materials. All tower cranes consists of the same basic parts which are:
The base – this is the part that is bolted to a large concrete pad that reinforces the crane.
Tower/mast – the base connects to the tower which gives the tower crane its height.
Slewing unit – this is attached to the end of the mast; the gear and motor that allows the crane to rotate.
On top of the slewing unit are three parts:
1. The long horizontal jib is the portion of the crane that that carries the load and a trolley runs along the jib to move the load in and out from the centre of the crane.
2. Operator’s cab – the machinery arm contains the motor that lifts the load, along with the control electronics that drives it and the cable drum.
3. Gear – The motors that drive the slewing unit are located above the unit’s large gear.
It’s quite amazing how heavy equipment operates and enables humans to achieve larger than life construction projects.
There are of course plenty of advantages of the use of engineering equipment:
• Tasks which are heavy and delicate for human muscles can easily be done by a machine.
• A lot of work is also accomplished at a faster rate by the use of machinery.
• More accurate work is achieved especially with the use of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology.
• No strain on human muscles. The work of labour has become much lighter. You simply need to press a knob and the machine starts!