A Comparison of Bridge and Gantry Cranes

Posted on June 28, 2017 in Gantry Cranes

One of the more common questions that overhead lifting system manufacturers answer on a regular basis is “Whats the difference between bridge and gantry cranes?” If you already know the answer to that, you might think its a foolish question.  However, you might be surprised at how often licensed Professional Engineers confuse the two.  But because of their most significant differences they are oftentimes best suited for specific lifting circumstances.  The information below will help you understand how they differ and which one might be a better option for you.

Bridge Cranes

This particular type of crane features a lifting mechanism mounted on an elevated rail and is used for above-the-floor applications and processes.  The runway of the device supports the bridge beam, is attached to the buildings ceiling or walls, and is a long-term or permanent fixture.  With its fixed span and lifting capabilities, a bridge crane is the ideal choice for crowded work areas and restricted production space.

Depending on the application and size required, bridge cranes can be manufactured to handle a broad weight capacity spectrum ranging from 1,000 pounds (1/2 ton) to 50,000 pounds (25 tons) or more.  They can be ordered in standardized models (pre-fabricated kits) or in customizable models (engineered to spec).  Furthermore, you can customize bridge cranes based on the specific needs of different industries such as:

Depending on the size and specifications of your facility or project, the cost of the crane could range from $15,000 up to $100,000 or more.  As you can see, bridge cranes are not only highly functional, theyre extremely versatile. And that is why they are in demand.

Gantry Cranes

While bridge cranes are designed and developed for above-the-floor applications and processes, gantry cranes are floor mounted on legs and are equipped with casters for track or trackless mobility.  One of their greatest benefits is their cost-effectiveness, but their potential advantages include:

  • heavy weight lifting capabilities
  • movement throughout the work area
  • no stress on the structure of buildings
  • quick disassembly and re-assembly for ease of relocating

For all intents and purposes, the more popular models are made from aluminum.  The lightweight construction makes it easy for these gantry cranes to be disassembled, transported to another location, and re-assembled by a single individual.  Although this type of gantry crane can be manufactured for outdoor use in oversized capacities, the more common models start at roughly $2,000 and range in weight capacity from 1/2 to 15 tons.

Bridge and gantry cranes both operate using an assortment of hoists including chain hoists or wire rope.  Additionally they are available in a variety of different models such as air-powered, electrical, and manual.  While either option is ideal for overhead lifting, the amount of available space that you have and your long range plans will determine whether you purchase a bridge crane or a gantry crane.