The crawler crane is a specific type of mobile crane which is available with either a lattice boom or a telescopic boom that moves upon crawler tracks. Because this unit is a self-propelled crane, it could move around a jobsite and completing tasks without a lot of set-up. Because of their enormous weight and size, crawler cranes are are difficult to transport from one location to another and are rather expensive. The crawler's tracks provide stability to the machine and allow the crane to function without the use of outriggers, however, there are several models that do utilize outriggers. What's more, the tracks provide the equipment's movement.
Early Mobile Cranes
The first mobile cranes were initially mounted to train cars. They moved along short rail lines which were particularly constructed for the project. When the 20th century arrived, the crawler tractor evolved and this brought the introduction of crawler tracks to the agricultural industry as well as the construction business. Not long after, excavators adopted the crawler tracks and this further featured the versatility of the machine. It was not long after when crane companies decided that the crawler track market was a safe bet.
The First Crawler Crane
Northwest Engineering, a crane company within the United States, was the very first to mount its crane on crawler tracks in 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 chosen means of traction for heavy crane uses.
Developed by Ray and Charles Moore of Chicago, Illinois; the Moore Speedcrane was among the first to attempt to copy rail lines for cranes. Manufactured in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Speedcrane was 15 ton, wheel-mounted, steam-powered crane. In the year 1925, a company referred to as Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, from Manitowoc, Wisconsin recognized the marketability and the potential of the tracked crane. They decided to team up with the Moore brothers in order to manufacture it and go into business.