Welcome to The Hoist Guy's Blog, where our resident Hoist Guy, Andrew T. Litecky, shares his knowledge and experience of many years in the overhead material handling industry.
A recent Google searcher found us with their query: What’s the difference between bridge cranes and gantry cranes? It’s an excellent question, and even licensed P.E.’s can confuse these similar types of material handling equipment. But their key differences make them ideally suited for certain lifting situations.
Bridge cranes provide a lifting mechanism on an elevated rail for applications that require all processes off the floor. The bridge beam is suspended from the runway which is either attached to the walls or ceiling of the building. It’s a permanent fixture with a fixed span and lifting area. Bridge cranes are the first choice for constrained production spaces or crowded work areas.
Bridge cranes can lift capacities from a half ton to one hundred tons, and can be made to span hundreds of feet. They can be as standard as a pre-fabricated crane kit or engineered to spec and custom-fabricated. Bridge cranes can also be customized to the needs of certain industries such as pharmaceutical clean rooms, foodservice facilities, hazardous locations, and water treatment plants. The price range for an overhead crane can start around $15,000 and go to $100,000,depending on the size and specifications.
Meanwhile, gantry cranes provide overhead lifting from a structure with legs and casters on the floor, either running in a track or trackless. They’re more economical, and their potential advantages include movement through the workspace, disassembly for easy relocation, and the ability to lift very heavy loads without exerting stress on the building structure. The very popular aluminum gantry is favored for it’s light structure that can often be carried, set up and broken down by one person alone. While gantries can be made in oversized capacities for outdoor use, the most common cataloged gantry crane models, with capacities in the range of 1/2 to 15 tons, are generally priced at $2,000 and up.
Both bridge cranes and gantries operate with a variety of hoists, including wire rope or chain hoists and manual, electric, or air-powered models. Either option provides overhead lifting, but the better choice is determined by your production space and long term plans.
Have a question about your lifting application? Contact us! We’ll use our broad industry knowledge and practical engineering experience to find the right equipment for your scope and budget.