The Knuckleboom (Knuckle Boom) Articulating Crane

knuckle boom cranes are very impressive in weight lifting capacity and maneuverability

by Robert's Diesel Works Inc.

In the United States, a lot of companies use stick booms because it's what they've always done. Operators are disillusioned if the crane has no winch line, but if you don't have a winch line, you have a lot more direct control of your load because it's not swinging. Knuckle Boom articulating cranes Knuckle Boom articulating cranes are usually much lighter than their boom truck counterparts and that's a major benefit. Plus, knuckle boom cranes are better designed to allow for increased payload on the back of the truck bed than standard boom trucks ever will be. The majority of general-purpose knuckle booms are mounted directly behind the cab, which gives you a whole open bed to load and unload materials from. Running a smaller knuckle boom crane can eliminate the end user's need for a certified crane operator, because tonnage and length are lower and shorter and as long as you're under 15,000 pounds weight capacity max, or 25-foot of boom max you don't need to be certified.

Some crane buyers shy away from knuckle boom articulating crane technology because they believe they can't do as much with a knuckle boom crane as a straight boom crane. The European and Canadian markets have long known what the knuckle boom can do and the versatility they offer. In the U.S. people believe they're giving up weight capacity and lifting capacity by buying a knuckle boom and that's really not the case at all. Today's knuckle boom cranes are very impressive in how high they can go and how much weight they can pick up and maneuver. In fact, reach and capacity are the key factors in specifying the correct knuckle boom articulating crane and it's one of the first questions our experts will ask. Increased reach, capacity and safety are the biggest issues and in the hands of a veteran dealer like Roberts Diesel Works Inc. you'll know exactly what kind of knuckle boom crane you'll need for your application. We first ask the customer how much weight he's picking up, how far he's trying to place the load and how high. With that information and over 400 knuckle boom crane models to choose from, we can recommend the proper knuckle boom crane for any application.

Traditionally considered a un-loader, knuckle boom cranes are primarily used to transport materials from a warehouse or yard to a customer's yard or the jobsite but with the new technologies of today, knuckle boom cranes can maneuver like no other crane on the market. Roofing and concrete foundation contractors know about knuckle booms, as theirs are typical markets for these cranes. Utility workers will typically load a lot of power line, cables or giant spools on the bed, or they'll stage components such as transformers at a utility site where precise placement and control is mandatory. The specialized knuckle boom cranes can be used in a myriad of applications, from new road construction to pre-cast concrete work, to pick-and-carry jobs. Highway concrete contractors also use them for all sorts of applications. Manufacturers have learned that if you put the right attachment on a knuckle boom crane, you can turn it into a specialized piece of equipment designed to tackle about any job imaginable, such as, trimming trees, placing wallboard, or placing concrete forms and then cleaning up after the job is finished. All knuckle boom cranes are versions of general-purpose knuckle booms that have been modified for job-specific applications and the possibilities are virtually endless. Knuckle boom, wallboard loaders, concrete foundation cranes, oil field cranes, pipe handling cranes, monument, refuse and even tree and debris cranes are specialized versions of knuckle booms among many others. The basic general-purpose knuckle boom crane is considered a fully folding crane and can be modified for any specific application in minutes with the proper attachment. Manufacturers have gotten job-specific with the technology because of its functionality. The general-purpose knuckle boom crane is manufactured in many different versions because it's a very versa-tile piece of equipment. Drywall guys are using theirs for commercial work, and the roofing guys are using them more for residential jobs. Roofing work with a drywall crane can be done, but it's hard to use a drywall crane for foundation work. With a knuckle boom articulating crane you can do them all, change the attachment, and clean up the mess too. If you can imagine an application we can set up a knuckle boom articulating crane for the job.

Understanding the customer's application and what they want to accomplish with their knuckle boom articulating crane and how they want the crane to operate are key factors in determining the model and attachments needed. The knuckle boom crane operation choices are: stand up control, ground control, top-seat control, or wireless radio remote. Crane operators who have developed video game abilities have one up on their co-workers when operating a knuckle boom crane. If you can use a joystick you can operate a knuckleboom crane. The end user will need to learn the various safety features and day-to-day knuckle boom crane operation as its abilities are quite impressive.

The radio remotes of today are so far ahead of where they were 10 years ago it's amazing. You can start the crane with them, run the crane with them, and get an immediate readout on overloads from the onboard computer systems. Many articulating cranes are now equipped with state-of-the-art electronic overload protection systems. These systems not only protect the crane from being overloaded and damaged from an un-skilled operator but it also gives the crane owner a full computer readout for operator accountability.

The overload protection systems, which have been on larger cranes for many years, were integrated into the design of knuckle boom cranes about seven years ago. The technology is designed to stop the crane from going into a dangerous situation. The crane stops so the operator has to retract to the crane and put it in a different angle before moving forward. Originally engineered to quit when the machine registered X-amount of hydraulic pressure, the technology has been upgraded to an electronic-over-hydraulic system. Now the crane is literally talking to a computer. The computer will completely shut the crane down if it's overloaded and it can not be easily bypassed. The computers will keep track of how many times the crane was loaded, any incidences of overload, instances where it was not stable and if the operator disabled the overload systems and when it happened. The systems will also track the date the crane ran and the time of day. The information will be stored for about a year depending on your needs. Owners can go in and look at what the crane's done and what day and time it did it. Knuckle boom cranes now can also tell the owner that the problem is all in the way the crane was operated, if that's the case. Likewise, the next generation of cranes could be required to have some form of intelligent overload system. OSHA, as well as other safety organizations are now pressing for new regulations that will require computerization and memory for overload conditions or other safety issues in case of a crane incident or accident. That being the case, existing cranes will need to be fitted with computerized systems but the knuckle boom owners will already have the technology in place saving them both time and money.

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