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Have you ever seen those huge machines at construction sites that have a long arm with cables and pulleys used to lift and move heavy objects? Those are called cranes. These structures make it possible to safely lift and move materials and equipment that would be far too heavy to move otherwise. Keep reading to learn more about hydraulic cranes.

What Does Hydraulic Mean?

According to LinkedIn, a hydraulic crane transfers an object from one point to another with the help of an incompressible fluid. This is in contrast to electric cranes, which rely on electric motors and gears. The hydraulics allow the crane to generate tremendous amounts of power smoothly and precisely.


A hydraulic crane is made up of a few key components that work together to complete a job. First, there is the undercarriage, which provides stability on the ground and allows the machine to swivel. Next is the central mast or tower, which connects to the undercarriage at the base; this tower supports the horizontal jib or boom arm. The boom extends outward and can be raised or lowered by hydraulic cylinders. At the end of the boom are sheaves over where the hoist cables run. These cables raise or lower the hook and load as well as atop the tower so the operator can see what’s going on and control all movements. An engine provides power assisted by hydraulic pumps.


Operating a crane takes coordination, spatial awareness, and caution. The operator needs to use levers and pedals to carefully control multiple functions at once. This includes swiveling the crane, raising or lowering the boom, paying out or winding up the hoist cables, and coordinating the load movements. Operators must master smooth control to avoid swinging the load and minimize boom flexing; it’s a complicated ballet of hydraulics. Operators also closely watch load indicators to prevent exceeding crane capacity which could cause catastrophe. With experience, operators make it look easy!

There you have it: a quick look at what a hydraulic crane is and how it works. Next time you see cranes gracefully lifting giant loads at a construction site, you’ll understand the hydraulic power that makes it possible. If you’re looking to rent a crane for a project, get in touch with Skyline Crane Rental today.

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