Cranes are investments that are purchased to enhance workplace efficiency and productivity, and ultimately generate a return. But what is the size of this investment? How much does a crane cost to buy?
Read on to find out all you need to know about the cost of cranes.
How much does a crane cost?
What type of crane are you needing? A tower crane price, a mobile crane price or an overhead crane price?
The reality is that cranes come in all shapes and sizes, and are built for all manner of lifting tasks. They can range from small hoists and forklift attachments to the goliath gantry cranes used to move containers in shipyards.
There are simply too many factors that can affect the price of a crane to answer this question with a specific figure, or indeed an approximate price range. But by knowing the factors at play, you can gain an understanding of the questions that you’ll need to ask when talking to a lifting specialist about acquiring a crane.
Here are the most important elements that affect lifting crane prices.
11 factors that influence the cost of cranes
1. Crane type
The first thing you’ll need to decide is the type of crane that you require. This will be a product of the lifts you’re undertaking and the environment you’re lifting in. An overhead crane cost will be different to a jib crane cost, which will be different to a gantry and mobile crane cost. It’s wise to get help from a lifting equipment expert to identify the correct type of crane for your situation, as there are a surprising number of crane types available.
Once again, the size of your crane will be defined by the lifts you need to complete and the space you have to work with.
The factors here are the height you need to lift to (and the ceiling height available), plus the working area on the floor you need to cover with the crane.
Low headroom jib cranes, for example, are ideal for situations where you have limited ceiling height available above your load.
The working capacity of your chosen crane encompasses three main measures:
- Load capacity: Your chosen crane must have a working load limit (WLL) above the weight of the heaviest load that it will need to lift.
- Reach capacity: Your crane must be capable of lifting and placing loads wherever you may need.
- Frequency of use: Your crane must be capable of working as often as you need it to. This is defined by the crane’s service class, which can vary from infrequent service (light, infrequent loads) to continuous severe service (continuous use in severe conditions at or near 100% WLL).
Cranes tend to be rather bespoke pieces of equipment – it’s not often that you’ll be able to grab the exact piece of equipment you need off the shelf. This means that many customers need their cranes designed from the ground up to do the task that they are required to do. And even in cases where a ‘standard’ crane might do the job, it may still need to be customised in certain ways to ensure it is capable of working as efficiently and effectively as you need it to, all of which will influence pricing.
Further to customisation, there will often be features that you’ll need to add to ensure your crane is capable of doing what you need it to do in the most efficient and productive way possible: under-hook lifting attachments, radio remote controls, limit switches, powered or manual movements, automated systems and more. The specific features you require will be another major factor in the final price of your crane.
As with any product, you pay for quality. Some brands simply offer a higher quality product than others, and price their products to reflect that fact. At this point it’s critical that you see your crane purchase not as a cost, but as an investment. If you choose the brand with the lowest sticker price, you’ll inevitably choose the lowest quality crane. A cheap crane may not offer the same levels of efficiency and productivity as a premium equivalent, and may need to be replaced sooner. Ultimately, the ‘cheap’ choice can end up costing you far more overtime.
The materials a crane is made from should be chosen based on strength, functionality and the environment in which the crane operates. An outdoor crane in continuous severe service will need additional surface protection, such as hot-dipped galvanising. Stainless steel is used in high hygiene situations and comes at a premium price. Aluminium is used where a lighter crane is required due to building capacity restrictions, which comes at a premium over mild steel.
8. Design and Fabrication
Design and fabrication is a significant factor in the cost of your crane: initial consultation, design, including foundation or support structure design and finally the crane build itself. The cost will reflect the size, complexity and uniqueness of the build, the materials used, where it is fabricated, and the building structure the crane is being installed into.
A one-off locally fabricated crane can be a cheaper option (however with a more basic design), and have a longer lead time when compared with a certified, European made, off-the-shelf modular crane system.
The cost of transportation will depend on where the crane is fabricated. If it is built overseas, the costs of shipping such a large piece of equipment as far as New Zealand can be significant. Transport costs can be far lower if the crane is built locally, although it’s important to remember that the raw materials that the crane is built from will often be shipped from overseas, and these costs may be included in the crane price. A good solution is using quality European components to get the ultimate crane features but local fabrication for the bulky support structure. If the crane is particularly large or if your site is particularly remote, this will also affect transport costs.
How difficult will installation be? If the crane is large or complex, or if it needs to be installed in a tight space or a difficult to access location, this can affect the price of installation, which may or may not be included in the price of the crane. If the crane requires a strengthened foundation or if the building structure needs to be strengthened to suspend the crane from, these factors will impact the installation cost. It’s important to note that in order for a crane to meet rules and regulations, it will need to be installed and certified by competent persons before use.
11. Maintenance and repair
How much will your crane cost to keep in good working order? All cranes, no matter type, size or brand, will need to be maintained according to an inspection schedule, which requires all cranes to be inspected at intervals not exceeding 12 months. If this inspection identifies the need for maintenance or repair, you will usually need to complete it before the crane returns to service. Purchasing a high quality crane is the first step to ensuring maintenance and repair costs are as low as possible, but maintenance is inevitable, so it’s also important to buy from a brand that offers high quality after-sales service and easy access to spare parts.
Enabling New Zealand businesses to work smarter, quicker and safer
At Stratalign we’ve built a reputation for providing businesses with the material handling equipment that will drive business growth. We see cranes as long-term investments that pay themselves back over time, so our focus is on offering high quality lifting equipment that is fit for purpose, built to last, and allows you to work smarter, quicker and safer.
We aim for complete pricing transparency – your investment is broken down into the elements listed above, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. And once your crane is delivered, our focus turns to providing the sort of elite support and after-sales service you need to get the maximum return on your investment.
If you’re looking to improve your material handling processes, get in touch with our expert team today for a no-obligation consultation and quote.