In 1978, the crane was the bird of the year in Germany – and we at VOLK have been installing cranes on our platform truck for basically just as long. So it’s fair to say that we know a bit about the topic. Loading cranes are so popular because they can be used for loading and unloading operations even when no overhead crane or forklift is available. Platform trucks with a loading crane can therefore be used extremely flexibly.
We use cranes from all established manufacturers, such as Palfinger, Atlas, Hiab and others. The loading crane can be mounted either directly behind the driver’s cabin or on the tail of the vehicle, based on what the customer wants. In both cases, due to their compact design, they take up very little space on the loading platform. Both arrangements have specific advantages and disadvantages. If cranes are positioned directly behind the cab, the loading area remains freely accessible from three sides. This means that nothing is in the way if the platform truck is being loaded with a forklift or a via a loading ramp. The position on the tail of the vehicle, in contrast, gives it a larger swivel area and therefore a larger range for the crane.
Range is an excellent keyword: Depending on the crane model, more than six meters can be achieved. If you consider that our platform trucks are just 1.250 mm wide, that’s equivalent to five entire vehicles. The HIAB 033 T, one of the most powerful cranes we use, can still lift up to 500 kg even at this outreach – or load center distance, to use the technically precise term. With a smaller load center distance, up to 2.3 tons are possible. The vehicle’s stability then naturally also reaches its limits, which is why extendable supports are on board as standard for such application scenarios. Depending on customer requirements, these can be extended manually or hydraulically, with the latter of course being much more convenient. Of course, the more powerful cranes are equipped with electronic safety monitoring, which ensures that the maximum load and the maximum telescoping can only be achieved when the supports are extended.
Extending the telescopic crane arm, raising and lowering it, and also radial slewing in both directions are always performed hydraulically. In electric platform trucks, the hydraulic pressure needed is provided by an electric hydraulic power unit, which is supplied with power from the vehicle batteries. Of course, diesel platform trucks can also have a crane installed. In this case, the hydraulic pressure is provided by an auxiliary drive from the diesel engine.
For some types of cranes, an additional electric high-speed winch can be installed. These winches are useful, for example, when speed is of the essence or when the greatest possible free stroke needs to be achieved. On the Atlas T33, for example, loads of up to 700 kg can be lifted using a winch of this type.
The control unit for the various functions is usually located directly on the crane, but radio remote control is also possible on some cranes. One of the cranes for which this is true is the Maxilift ML50.2H HY E D. With a maximum lifting capacity of 500 kg, this lightweight, handy “mini” crane marks the other end of the performance spectrum. The maximum outreach here is just 2.500 m, but 200 kg can still be lifted.
The Palfinger PC 1500 is our most frequently installed crane. With a maximum lifting capacity of 990 kg (440 kg with a load center distance of 3.100 mm) and a range that can be extended up to 4.200 mm, it represents the middle segment of the performance spectrum shown above.
It of course must be ensured that the operating personnel have been trained properly for all of the cranes discussed. As with stationary cranes, this can be achieved through a one-day training session. A regular crane inspection is also required; you’re probably familiar with this process from working with indoor cranes.
Don’t worry if you feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of possibilities and options presented. We are happy to help you get an overview and take you by the hand when it comes to selecting and configuring the ideal crane for your application. We of course will also discuss alternatives, such as hydraulic liftgates, which can also be used to lift loads. We frequently also have attractive used vehicles with loading crane on offer. Just give us a call.
VOLK Fahrzeugbau GmbH
88339 Bad Waldsee
+49 7524 9709 0