Truck-mounted crane and truck loader crane refer to a truck which has a crane either at the rear or just behind that cab which is used to load and unload goods from the truck’s deck. It’s sometimes called a Hiab after the original manufacturer. It’s different to a mobile crane which doesn’t carry anything other than equipment used to rig and lift loads.
Types of truck-mounted crane
Single-boom cranes are frequently used for vehicle recovery. They don’t have the flexibility to get into difficult spaces that knuckle boom cranes do. A knuckle boom crane can reach into spaces, for example, a fourth-floor window, as there is the extra articulation in the boom.
Advantages of a truck loader crane
A truck-mounted crane is very flexible:
- If the crane isn’t needed, it’s still useful as a truck and can be loaded using a forklift
- They provide easy access to worksites
- If the capacity is less than 10 tonnes, they can be operated with the appropriate truck licence (cranes over 10 tonnes require the operator to have a Vehicle Loading Crane high-risk work licence, unless they are supervised by a licence vehicle loading crane operator).
- It’s cheaper than a dedicated mobile crane
- It can have attachments added to it for extra versatility, e.g. augers and personnel cages.
How is a truck loader crane controlled?
Power is provided to the crane using the power take-off or PTO.
Most newer truck loader cranes have controls mounted on either side of the vehicle and a remote control unit that enables the operator to observe the load from a safe distance.
The driver of the truck can operate the crane, firstly by deploying the outriggers.
The crane on a truck loader crane is only designed for lifting items on and off the truck itself. A crane rating chart describes the limitations of the crane.
How are truck loader cranes used?
Some examples of how they are used are:
- Loading materials at building sites – bricks, timber framing, etc
- Recovering or delivering vehicles and machinery
- Loading concrete pipes
- Digging holes using an auger for power poles, then lifting the power pole in place
- Inspection of elevated structures and power lines using a personnel cage
- Lifting scrap metal using a grab attachment
- Self-loading raw logs.