In the manufacturing industry, there is a lot of heavy equipment that is often used and some that may be a bit taken for granted. For example, forklifts and industrial cranes can both help you to move loads from one place to another, but many people immediately think of using a forklift for all of their heavy lifting. Cranes, on the other hand, are a great tool for heavy lifting but are often overlooked and under-appreciated. Here are six things that you can do with a crane that you just can't do with a forklift.
1. Cranes can get into tight spaces. One of the biggest challenges of using a forklift is the fact that it can be hard to maneuver the forklift into tight spaces. Because of the size of this vehicle and the wide turns that it makes, it is necessary to have a clear driving path and quite a bit of clearance, just to get to the materials that you are trying to move. An overhead crane, on the other hand, can easily be maneuvered into a tight spot and needs very little floor clearance in order to do the same job.
2. Cranes can free up floor space. Speaking of floor clearance, using an overhead crane make it easy to configure the floor space in a way that works for you. Not only is it unnecessary to have wide driving paths, but you will also not need a place to store the crane when it is not in use. Unlike a forklift that is always occupying some area of the warehouse floor, a crane can be hoisted up out of the way when it is not in use.
3. Cranes make it easier to multi-task. There are multiple steps involved when using a forklift. First, you have to stop what you are doing in order to find the forklift. Then you have to drive it over to the materials that need to be moved. Then, you have to get the materials, drive them to the area that they are needed, unload, and then move the forklift back out of the way before continuing on with your work. A crane operator can simply maneuver the crane to where he or she needs it, get the materials, and bring them over to the area where they are needed, all while still standing at his or her workstation. The job never stops, even while materials are being brought over.
4. Cranes can improve efficiency. Because there is so little time wasted by using a crane, they can be much more efficient than using a forklift.
5. Cranes can free up manpower. Rather than waste time having individual employees hunting for the forklift, you may have someone whose primary responsibility is to drive the forklift. Using a crane can cut down on the need for this extra manpower, saving your company money.
6. Cranes offer more precision control. Because forklifts are so boxy, they are not particularly good at placing things in an exact location. Not only are they challenging to maneuver, but you may also need multiple people guiding the operator in order to make sure that an item is placed in the correct area. With a crane, not only is precision easier to achieve, but the clear lines of sight make it possible for a single operator to place items where they need to go.