The crawler crane is a particular type of mobile crane which is available with either a lattice boom or a telescopic boom which moves upon crawler tracks. Because this unit is a self-propelled crane, it could move around a jobsite and completing tasks without much set-up. Due to their huge weight and size, crawler cranes are fairly expensive and even difficult to transport from one place to another. The crawler's tracks provide stability to the machine and enable the crane to work without utilizing outriggers, although, there are some models that do use outriggers. In addition, the tracks provide the movement of the equipment.
Early Mobile Cranes
The first mobile cranes were originally mounted to train cars. They moved along short rail lines which were specially made for the project. When the 20th century arrived, the crawler tractor evolved and this brought the introduction of crawler tracks to the agricultural business and the construction business. Not long after, the crawler tracks were adopted by excavators and this further showcased the equipment's versatility. It was not long after before crane manufacturers decided that the crawler track market was a safe bet.
The First Crawler Crane
Northwest Engineering, a crane manufacturer within the USA, was the first to mount its crane on crawler tracks during the 1920s. It described the new machine as a "locomotive crane, independent of tracks and moveable under its own power." By the mid-1920s, crawler tracks had become the preferred means of traction for heavy crane operations.
Developed by Charles and Ray Moore of Chicago, Illinois; the Moore Speedcrane was among the first to attempt to copy rail lines for cranes. Made within Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Speedcrane was 15 ton, steam-powered, wheel-mounted crane. During the year 1925, a company known as Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, from Manitowoc, Wisconsin recognized the tracked crane's potential and marketability. They decided to team up with the Moore brothers to be able to produce it and go into business.