You have material handling needs that only a dedicated piece of lifting equipment can address, and you’re ready to invest. But before you do, it’s critical that you consider a few key factors, as the layout of your crane – the type and size of crane, where you place it and how you install it – can make or break the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and safety of your warehouse, factory or worksite.
What considerations do you need to factor into your decision? Let’s take a look at all you need to know about choosing the right layout for your crane.
The dangers of poor crane layout
The term ‘layout’ can refer to a few different things: the construction of a crane, where it is placed and the way it is installed.
If any of these factors isn’t optimal, your business can be affected in a number of ways:
- You can create bottlenecks in your workflow, e.g. insufficient factory crane capacity at a certain point in the production process can dramatically lower production volumes and cause delays.
- Suboptimal crane layouts can increase the chances of issues that halt your workflow, and this increased downtime will lead to decreased productivity.
- An inadequately specified crane can create serious safety issues and put workers in danger because what has been specified is not suitable for the application, or it has been installed incorrectly.
The benefits of correct crane layout
On the flip side, the benefits of a carefully considered crane layout are many and varied. An optimal crane layout can:
- Get your warehouse, factory or worksite running more efficiently than ever before by streamlining material handling processes.
- Minimise disruptions and downtime and maximise productivity.
- Greatly increase workplace safety by transferring material handling tasks to purpose-built machines.
How to optimise crane layout
The reasons to optimise crane layout are compelling… so how do you do it? The answer will depend on a number of factors: your worksite or manufacturing factory layout, your processes and workflows, and the type of crane you’re installing (such as a gantry, jib or factory overhead crane).
But in general terms, finding the optimal crane layout for your space will be a matter of ticking the following three boxes.
1. Choose the right crane type
First things first: you need to choose the right crane for the work that you need it to do, and for the space that you need to do it in. You might feel that an overhead crane is the perfect solution for your factory, as they don’t take up any floor space, but there may be other reasons why this type of crane isn’t appropriate: the items you need to lift are too light or too heavy, you need the greater freedom of movement that a boom or gantry crane offers, or your roof and ceiling isn’t suitable for installation.
Choosing the best crane for your situation can be a complicated process, and will often involve compromises, so it’s wise to get expert advice from crane professionals when making your decision.
2. Identify optimal crane placement
Once you have identified the type of crane that will best suit your needs, it’s time to install it. Many cranes are semi-permanent features that aren’t easy to move, so it’s vital that you get this placement right the first time.
First consider the basics of crane placement. Your chosen spot must:
- Have a surface capable of bearing the necessary loads
- Be safe for workers
- Minimise the chances of the crane or its loads colliding with other objects.
Measure and mark out the crane reach before installation to get a better idea of how it will fit and work within the space.
Consider how the crane will fit into your workflow, or if changing your workflow around the capabilities of the crane might result in a more efficient, more productive and safer workplace. The installation of a crane is a great time to review your material handling processes to understand whether you could be doing things better.
3. Create processes that ensure safe and efficient crane operation
As part of this material handling review, you should add the rules around the operation of your new crane into your material handling processes before the first item is lifted. This ensures that your team gets off on the right foot when first using your new piece of lifting equipment.
Before doing your first lift, take your crane for a test run. It could be that certain dangers and inefficiencies have been overlooked during the planning process.
Enabling New Zealand businesses to work smarter, quicker and safer
The effects on factory workflow is just one of a number of factors that you’ll need to consider when investing in a crane. And as pieces of lifting equipment aren’t exactly an everyday purchase, finding the right crane can feel like a complicated and somewhat overwhelming job, even for professional engineers.
At Stratalign we’ve built a reputation for supplying Kiwi businesses with cranes that make their businesses work smarter, quicker and safer. We can help you understand the best crane for your situation, and find a layout that will boost the safety, efficiency and productivity of your business.
If you’re looking to enhance your operations with a piece of lifting equipment, get in touch with our expert team today for a no-obligation consultation and quote.