All About All-Terrain Cranes

All-Terrain Crane, Dual Lift, Barge

Some cranes can serve as jacks of all trades. But you should evaluate the demands of each project to decide which one will offer the most benefits. Picking the right crane is challenging. Some tasks may require a tower crane, while others could be easier with something more versatile, like a crawler crane. If your worksite is located on various landscapes, you could benefit from renting an all-terrain crane.  

What is an All-Terrain Crane?

When working at a construction site, you must be flexible and adapt to different conditions. The same goes for the machinery you utilize. All-terrain cranes are specially built to handle all types of terrain effortlessly and are great for job sites on locations with ever-changing weather conditions. These types of lifting machines offer greater mobility and faster speeds than other alternatives.

All-terrain cranes are powerful machines that combine the strength of the traditional, trustworthy hydraulic truck crane with the superior mobility of the rough terrain crane. You could settle for either of those two options, but an all-terrain crane could get the work done faster. Some of the primary advantages of using an all-terrain crane include:

  • An all-wheel steering suspension system
  • Ability to perform maneuvers through sand and gravel
  • Smooth performance on asphalt roads and highways
  • Ability to move from site to site independently
  • Strong lifting capacity
  • Capability to reach up to 55 miles per hour
  • Compact design
  • Integrated boom
  • Mobile undercarriage that allows for better adjustability
  • Different configurations and attachments
  • Superior durability
  • Convenience and comfort
  • Greater visibility for operators

All-Terrain Cranes vs. Rough Terrain Cranes: Are They The Same? 

Although all-terrain and rough terrain cranes share some characteristics, they’re not interchangeable. Rough terrain cranes have fewer tires and high ground clearance that allow them to move on rugged ground without specialized equipment. They offer a wider wheelbase and tires for added stability and have integrated power steering. But they’re not suitable for standard roads.

All-terrain cranes have greater capabilities. They’re often equipped with a few extra sets of wheels to increase mobility on the worksite. They can have between three and nine axles for an all-wheel drive and all-wheel steer. When we say all-terrain, we really mean all terrain. These cranes can be easily maneuvered on highways and other roads. 

All-terrain cranes are also bigger than rough terrain cranes. They have wider cabins, which provide more comfort for the operator during the job. Their two engines make them a bit heavier, providing greater stability when performing a lift. All-terrain cranes also have the ability to add attachments like luffer jibs and superlifts, providing greater reach and capacity.

All-terrain crane, silo construction

What Are All-Terrain Cranes Used For?

Due to their versatile nature, all-terrain cranes are highly adaptable lifting machines. Their unique ability to work both on and off-road offers a whole new set of advantages in the construction site. These lifting devices are great for job sites with no road access. Inner-city construction sites can also use all-terrain cranes between different job sites that are in close proximity.

All-terrain cranes are ideal for any work environment. They’re effective for both building operations and huge volume management. They have a wide range of uses, like:

  • Erecting wind turbines
  • Installation of pipelines
  • Lifting precast concrete building sections
  • Steel erecting
  • Lifting bricks and other construction materials
  • Cell phone tower construction or upgrades
  • HVAC work
  • Building Tower/Crawler cranes

All-terrain cranes can withstand adverse weather conditions. They can be used rain or shine in temperatures from -13 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The operator won’t have to worry about the ground getting unsteady during storms. However, cranes and strong winds aren’t a good match. You should stop operations during high wind to prevent accidents. Operators are to refer to the operators manual for allowable wind speeds.

How Have All-Terrain Cranes Changed Over the Years?

Our ancestors’ idea of an all-terrain crane was to use animals, like elephants, and human workers to pull levers and ropes when lifting heavy loads. These kinds of manual construction cranes were convenient because you could move around on any type of ground. They allowed ancient civilizations to build all the architectural wonders we see in history books. But erecting these buildings wasn’t an easy task, and it could take ages before an ambitious project, like a temple or a stadium, could finally stand tall. 

Fast forward to the first steam-powered cranes that emerged in the 19th century. Another century later, steam-powered cranes were replaced by hydraulic, electric, and internal combustion alternatives. All these construction devices were massive. They were heavy and didn’t allow for mobility within the worksite. They did the job but they were far from becoming the versatile machines we know today. 

Mobile cranes made their first appearance during the post-war period. Before mobile cranes reached the mainstream, engineers would use them to lift heavy military equipment and debris. The newfound mobility of cranes made demolition and clearance efforts much easier in this period.

During the post-war building boom, mobile cranes were further developed. They provided an excellent way to simplify tasks and make the construction process faster. Mobile cranes were used to develop residential and commercial buildings, reducing construction times and optimizing costs.

The benefits of mobile cranes didn’t stop there. These lifting devices were later introduced to other industries as a more affordable option to manage high volumes of goods and materials. The use of cranes stopped being exclusive to the construction industry and became widespread in shipping, transportation, and warehousing.  

As time went by, cranes became more cost-efficient and convenient. Newer and more powerful generations of mobile cranes started to appear. They turned into specialized multitasking vehicles. This is when all-terrain models first saw light and became indispensable in all heavy-lifting scenarios. Nowadays, all-terrain cranes have come a long way from their massive, distant relatives.

all-terrain crane Heintz Field

The Importance of All-Terrain Cranes on Your Job Site

The adaptability and versatility of all-terrain cranes have turned them into the go-to choice for worksites that need superior mobility. All-terrain cranes enhance operational functions and move materials around more efficiently than other cranes. They come in numerous models and can adjust to any project’s particular needs.

‌All-terrain cranes tend to outperform hydraulic and rough terrain cranes. You can benefit from having them at your job site because they’re:

  • Great for on and off-site work
  • Suitable for use in different weather conditions
  • Highly maneuverable
  • Heavy and sturdy
  • Suitable for public roads
  • All-terrain cranes are an excellent option when you’re trying to increase efficiency and cut costs. They can also reach high speeds on numerous different surfaces and have adjustable booms to make work much easier. 

All-Terrain Cranes Load Capacity

All-terrain cranes vary in size and some models have a different load capacity. Most of them have telescopic booms that extend with hydraulic mechanisms. This feature makes them versatile and powerful. All-terrain cranes can carry loads that range from 40 to 1000 tons. Their reach can span from 30 to 500 feet.

All-terrain crane Rodriquez Boat Builders

What Types of Projects are All-Terrain Cranes Best Suited For?

All-terrain cranes are some of the largest and most powerful options available in construction. The combination of mobility and adaptability makes them perfect for all kinds of projects. With two engines, these flexible and innovative lifting devices offer a multi-use alternative for most construction sites today. 

All-terrain cranes are vital if you’re working on:

  • A construction site with no road access
  • An area with unpredictable weather
  • A job site with multiple ground levels
  • A worksite with different ground densities
  • Remote locations

What Aren’t All-Terrain Cranes Suited For?

If you’re about to rent an all-terrain crane, you need to assess your construction needs first. Although these cranes are suitable for pretty much any job site under the sun, other factors might interfere with their ideal functioning. For example, you might not have enough space to maneuver a mobile crane, or your operators might not have adequate training. 

Before you make a final decision, consider:

  • The costs of renting an all-terrain crane
  • The type of road to and from the construction site
  • The type of terrain at the construction site
  • The weight of the load and the height the crane needs to lift

In construction, all-terrain cranes are considered luxury mobile cranes. While it’s true they’re more comfortable to operate, you might not really need one in your worksite. If you’re dealing with regular ground conditions, you could stick to simpler types of crane rentals to move materials around. Our engineering team is always available to review the specifications of your job to ensure you get the right equipment, every time.

All-Terrain Cranes You Can Trust

All terrain crane in a yard at Maxim Crane Works surrounded by other cranes

All-terrain cranes are a cost-effective and efficient alternative when dealing with challenging grounds and remote construction sites. They offer the best of both worlds when compared with hydraulic and rough terrain cranes. If you still can’t decide what the best crane is for your specific needs, compare and contrast different models on our all-terrain crane rental page. We’ll help you find the right solution today.


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