Overhead Crane Categories


Overhead cranes are made up of four general categories: bridge cranes, gantry cranes, jib cranes and monorail systems. The main purpose of an overhead crane is to efficiently lift and move loads from one location to another, often over obstacles that would otherwise be in the way. When properly engineered, overhead cranes can help improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase worker safety on the job site and decrease potential product damage. Since overhead cranes can be operated by controls from a safe distance where there is an unobstructed operator view, they can offer greater precision and maneuverability.

What Type of Crane Do I Need for My Project?

Below we provide some basic information, but please contact us any time to speak with us about what type of overhead crane is right for your needs.  Our engineers can design a complete lifting system for you or simply help you select individual components for your existing materials handling system.  Visit our Engineering & Design page to learn more about our services.

When you are in need of an overhead lifting system, it can be a confusing task trying to select the right one. It is first important to learn about the various types of lifting systems available and how they are different.

There are Four Categories of overhead crane lifting systems:

Bridge Cranes:

Typically when someone speaks of an overhead crane, they are referring to a bridge crane. A bridge crane is an industrial crane for medium to heavy lifting, consisting of an elevated parallel runway system with a traveling bridge to move the load forward and backward. The lifting component of the crane is the hoist, which lifts the load up and down. A bridge crane provides great control over the load and since it runs overhead, it reduces the number of obstructions on the floor.  To learn more about the different types of bridge cranes, visit our Bridge Crane page.

Gantry Cranes:

Unlike bridge cranes, gantry cranes run along the ground on a runway. This means that there is no overhead system, making the installation much quicker and less complex.  Often the cost of a gantry crane can be lower than a bridge crane, can span longer distances and can be used to move materials between indoors and outdoors. To learn more about gantry cranes, visit our Gantry Crane page.

Jib Cranes:

Jib cranes are comprised of a floor mounted mast or building column with an attached pivoting head and boom assembly.  The jib crane can be either motorized or use manual rotation and is ideal for loading and unloading lighter loads than the bridge or gantry cranes.  To learn more about jib cranes, visit our Jib Crane page.


Monorails have a hoist and trolley that runs forward and backward along one beam. They are commonly used to transport materials from one point to another, and do not allow for left to right movement.  Since their design is specialized, monorails are very fast and efficient in moving loads. To learn more about monorails, visit our Monorails page.

*Request a Free Site Survey & Quote for a bridge crane, gantry crane, jib crane, monorail system or custom crane.

When evaluating your options for an overhead lifting system, it is important to invest in the proper system to improve efficiency, quality of work, and worker safety. Consider the following questions when making your decision:

  • What lifting capacity do you require?
  • What is the length of the lift?
  • What is the required area of hook coverage?
  • What will the system be used for?
  • How frequently will it be used?
  • Will you need to move the system to another location within my facility or to an entirely new facility?
  • What direction(s) do you need to move the load (up/down, forward/backward, left/right)?
  • What is your budget?
  • How will the crane improve the safety of the people handling the loads and the loads themselves?