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Is an Articulating Crane Right for Your Application?

Company News: Iowa Mold Tooling Co.

Not all jobs are created equal, which is why articulating cranes, some of the most versatile cranes available, are an increasingly useful option for customers with lifting needs. Companies often overlook these cranes in favor of telescopic cranes. Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc. (IMT), a leading manufacturer of truck-mounted cranes, offers the following guide to articulating cranes. With the variety of models available and cross-industry applications, an articulating crane can be the tool to satisfy almost any customer’s lifting needs.

Most Markets Benefit
Thanks to their unique material-handling abilities and efficiency, articulating cranes are often used in construction, mining, railroad, tire, energy, waste and utility applications. With operations both above and below ground ― and both indoors and outdoors ― the needs of the utility industry most epitomize the benefits of an articulating crane. Electric companies need to transport and place heavy transformers, and a truck-mounted articulating crane can serve both functions. Natural gas companies use articulating cranes to pick up and place pipes and tanks while making it easy to navigate around obstacles and avoid overhead obstructions in residential neighborhoods. Water departments use articulating cranes to place meter vaults into the ground or steel plates on the road while repairing water lines, again avoiding overhead obstacles. Regardless of industry, though, an articulating crane is an agile and versatile option for lifting jobs requiring a reach of less than 80 feet.

Telescopic Comparison
Other than the obvious difference between the straight boom of the telescopic crane and the segmented knuckleboom of an articulating crane, the two differ in other ways. Telescopic cranes are designed to be stored over the truck bed, while truck-mounted articulating cranes can be tightly folded into a figure-four, leaving bed space for payload. Vehicles equipped with an articulating crane thus not only place but also haul payloads from point A to point B, eliminating the cost of secondary transportation. For operators familiar with telescopic cranes, the lack of a winch and top seat may seem like drawbacks. However, the boom of an articulating crane is able to navigate directly to the payload without a winch, offering greater versatility, and if an application requires or would benefit from a winch, one can be easily added. Similarly, most articulating cranes are equipped and operated with a radio remote, giving the operator greater visibility and ensuring safe operation. Articulating cranes are now even comparable in reach to their telescopic relatives.

Many IMT articulating cranes feature a dual power plus link arm system (DL), which is well-suited for long reaches and lifting in high positions with demanding equipment (such as fly-jib and winch). In addition, the DL system provides precise and regular movements in the entire working area while offering the best lifting capacities under almost any working conditions. Another common feature is “overbending,” which means the working area between the main boom and the outer boom is no less than 195 degrees. Overbending offers greater flexibility when working through narrow passages and under overhead obstructions, the ability to lift maximum loads in all boom positions, and a lower total height when the crane is stowed on the truck body.

A key safety feature available on all the IMT articulating crane models is the rated capacity limiter (RCL). Mid-range and larger cranes are available with the newest generation RCL 5300. The system monitors the crane’s load, operation and function. In an overload, it warns the operator and interrupts the crane functions and returns the load to safety. The RCL 5300 not only monitors safety during crane operation, but also during transport. Additional articulating crane features include a radio remote, an internal hose routing system, continuous rotation, optional stabilizer solutions and an innovative stow bracket design that secures the boom for transportation, preventing bracket damage.

Considerations When Choosing
To choose the right articulating crane for the job, first answer two questions: How much will be lifted? And How far will the crane need to reach? The IMT lineup of articulating cranes has maximum reaches ranging from 15 to 71 feet and lift capacities ranging from 1,740 to 38,185 pounds (790 to 17,320 kg) maximum rating at 14 feet 5 inches. After choosing a model, decide where to mount the crane on the truck. For maximum payload capacity, even weight distribution and full crane utilization, most operators opt to mount theirs on the rear of the truck bed. The advantages of an articulating crane make them attractive options for many, and IMT articulating crane experts are available to consult on customers’ unique lifting needs. For more information or to locate an IMT distributor, visit or call +1 800-247-5958.

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