Outriggers have made a massive difference to the capability of cranes since their invention as they have increased the safety of these heavy lifting machines that were more likely to become unbalanced. They also mean that cranes can be made to be much smaller without the worry of a lack of balance.
What are outriggers?
These are essentially the ‘legs’ of a crane and often resemble a spider – especially the namesake Mini Spider Crane at GGR Group! The outriggers act as supports that spread the weight of the crane over a larger area which in turn allows the crane to lift more without tipping over. This is much like if you find yourself on slippery ice it is easier to keep balanced when more of your body weight is spread over the area..
Outriggers typically retract or fold out from the crane so they can be positioned correctly. The ability to retract them means the crane becomes more compact and can be transported easily which is very true for our notorious URW-1006 Mini Spider Cranes that can go from a width of 7230mm to 2000mm when the outriggers are folded. This crane can fit through double doors and other small gaps.
The Importance of Outrigger Mats
Unfortunately, while outriggers increase the crane’s stability the decreased surface area of the crane on the ground increases the likelihood of the weight of the crane causing damage to the ground. The pressure from the outriggers can cause the crane to begin to sink which can throw the crane off balance, potentially causing it to tip.
Outrigger mats counteract the pressure of the outriggers on the ground, distributing the weight over a larger surface area so it cannot sink. The materials used also form a barrier between the outriggers and the ground so if the ground bearing pressure is weak there is less of an effect.
We go into further detail on outrigger mats in this blog here.
Cranes with Outriggers
Not all cranes have outriggers as they don’t always have a use for them, especially if a crane has a wide enough base to support it. Many mini cranes however benefit greatly from outriggers as it allows them to remain compact while still being a heavy-lifting competitor.
Our spider cranes are best known for their outriggers which are a main perk of choosing these for your lifting project. On the Mini Spider Crane, four outriggers support from all sides for a fully balanced lift. These cranes can lift up to 10 tonnes and weigh as little as 1000kg – a very versatile product suited for many jobs.
This crane type is ideal for heavy lifts and heights due to a lifting ability of up to 30 metres and incredibly versatile outriggers which can be adjusted to different lengths, so it is able to fit in different-sized gaps. The Starworker 1600 even has extendable outriggers on one side, making the crane particularly adept at working on uneven terrain and slopes.
The same Starworker 1600 featured in a 4-day event of holding a sculpture of the earth above Hardman Square in Spinningfields, Manchester. The crane had to support the structure for the full event and relied on its outriggers for needed stability.
This crane benefits from foldaway hydraulic legs that can be adjusted to suit tight spaces and has a stroke of 900mm for working on rough terrain and slopes. By using the stabilising outriggers, you can lift more weight with a wider working radius as they prevent potential tipping caused by lifting and moving loads.
The TMC 525 Articulated Crawler Crane showed off its flexible jib at Leeds Industrial Museum when it had to deliver loads over a building while having limited space to extend its outriggers. Despite being unable to fully extend its outriggers it still managed to get the support it needed to complete the job.
While not a traditional crane it has the features of a crane and forklift in one to give you the height of a crane with a forklift’s handy fork attachment. The Telehandler’s outriggers are at the front of the machine where the majority of the weight of the load will be when something is being lifted. The outriggers stabilise the machine enough to lift heavier loads at a larger height.
With the recent introduction of the Faresin Electric Telehandler to our fleet the machine features all the same strengths of its diesel counterpart just with the advantage of being eco-friendly. The machine has shown massive popularity due to its amazing features and as a here-and-now sustainable option that is ready for the market.
GGR Group are a specialist company for lifting solutions that supply a range of cranes with outriggers as well as cranes without. At GGR we provide personalised advice and bespoke lift plans for our customers and are always happy to help. To speak to one of out team you can contact us by phone or by clicking here.