What Are Knuckle Boom Cranes?

Resembling a traditional boom crane, a knuckle boom crane has a main boom and an outer boom that articulate at the knuckle. These two booms and the knuckle resemble the action of the human finger and allow the crane operator more depth of movement and more reach. Also called a picker crane, articulating crane or loader crane, it resembles a conventional straight boom. However, when compared to a straight boom crane, the addition of these two knuckles on the picker crane allows for a wide range of movements and an array of additional uses. Unlike a regular boom crane, the knuckle boom crane can be folded into a smaller size and can extend further to reach loads at a distance.

Thanks to their different types of control systems, including stand up, control from the ground and seat control, and their benefits (which will be discussed below), knuckle boom cranes have experienced a gain in popularity in the recent years. Conceived to load and unload heavy objects, the design of these heavy-duty machines allows workers to complete a great number of logistic tasks. In addition to increasing the efficiency of any workforce, knuckle boom cranes can also provide greater lift power, payload space, and maneuverability.

When Should I Hire the Services of a Knuckle Boom Crane Operator?

1. To move roof trusses

If you want more cost-effective and safer transportation solutions, it would be advisable to hire a specialist in cranes.

2. To move HVAC units and generators

Considering the weight of larger commercial HVAC units and generators, companies often choose to contact a specialist to move the units on rooftops or to the upper levels of a building.

3. To hoist construction equipment and steel beams

Whether you need to lift and load building supplies, equipment, steel beams, columns or rebars, you can rest assured that a picker crane will be able to accomplish it easily and smoothly.

4. To hoist windows

With its reach and ability to fit in small places, knuckle boom cranes are perfect for hoisting windows.

5. To move boats and other machinery

From skid steer loaders to mini excavators, articulating cranes can handle the loading, transportation, and unloading of construction equipment and heavy machinery.

Advantages of Using Knuckle Boom Cranes

Below are the main advantages of hiring a knuckle boom crane:

1. Picker cranes are flexible and can be easily upgraded

A picker crane comes with a wide range of attachments. Attached at the end of the boom, attachments, such as buckets, log grabs, and pallet forks, exponentially increase the number of ways the operator can control the crane.

2. Articulating cranes have a greater payload capacity

Despite the various applications that can be attached to it, an articulating crane is not only lighter than a conventional boom crane, but it can also load a great number of heavy materials and even carry the weight of the mounted crane. Do not let its weight and size deceive you. Articulating cranes do not take too much space but have enough room to carry a regular cargo!

3. Loader cranes excel in restricted spaces

It is difficult to beat the performance of loader cranes when it comes to the loading and unloading of heavy cargo and machinery in tight spaces. Known for their ability to maneuver in constricted spaces and their compact storage size, they are mostly used in the transport, forestry, marine, mining, construction, and petroleum industries. Regardless of their size, this type of crane can effortlessly lift heavy objects and go through small spaces in a building, like a doorway, to carefully deliver them.

4. Knuckle boom cranes are good for horizontal lifting

Since minimal space is needed to operate it, a knuckle boom crane can be easily used in tight spaces to lift cargo horizontally without causing any damage to the equipment or the cargo.

5. It is easier to load and unload materials with loader cranes

As mentioned above, since the loader crane can be used even in low clearance spaces, the operator can load or unload products with even less vertical clearance required for straight boom cranes.

6. Articulating cranes have multiple install configurations and have no travel limitations

Whether it’s on a truck, a dock, or a boat, articulating cranes are versatile enough to be installed anywhere. This type of crane can accommodate any of your needs because it will fit wherever your truck or boat can.

7. Picker cranes have great lifting power

Designed for the transportation of heavy materials and machinery, picker cranes play an indispensable role in the construction industry. With its ability to lift heavyweight, the picker crane can help to reduce turnaround time. Even though picker cranes are small, they are not any less effective. In fact, they can lift up to, and sometimes more, 60 tons.