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Bridge Crane vs Gantry Crane

Nov 22, 2018

When you hear the word “crane,” you probably think of either the piece of mechanical equipment or the bird. In this case, you’ll want to keep the image of the lifting system “crane” in your mind. Sometimes, figuring out what type of lifting equipment you will need requires taking a step back. Maybe you just want to learn more about the benefits of cranes in comparison to other overhead material lifting options. Keep reading to find out more information on the bridge crane vs gantry crane, including what they have in common and how they differ.


Both principally used in industrial applications, the bridge crane and gantry crane can often be found in manufacturing facilities and other handling locations like a shop yard or factory. Bridge cranes and gantry cranes are both used to move bulk materials or shipping crates.


The bridge crane is one of the most common types of shop cranes in the world. This type of crane is characterized by one or more parallel bridge beams on which the trolley runs back and forth. It runs along an elevated runway, typically the length of the building or factory. The runway beams are raised high above the ground by a standalone system that is a part of the building, or by columns. At the end of the beam is a truck that directs the trolley’s movement. One important benefit of overhead cranes is that they permit flexibility for when and where the load can be placed onto the crane. Over a specified area, there are multiple lifting points.


The bridge crane comes in two different forms: single girder and double girder. Single girder overhead bridge cranes are normally used for loads under 12.5 tons, where double girder cranes are helpful for loads over 12.5 tons. Specifically for double girder cranes, other features can be added such as a maintenance walkway or auxiliary hoist. A few points you may want to consider before purchasing an overhead bridge crane include:


  • How long does the runway need to be?

  • Will the bridge be supported by the building structure, self-supported, or a combination of both?

  • Will the bridge be indoors or outdoors?

  • What is going to power the crane: motor, push-pull, hand-geared, or a combination?

  • What bridge capacity is necessary?

Only slightly different from the bridge crane is the gantry crane. This type of crane is helpful for buildings or outdoor projects that do not have a runway installed. Gantry cranes can come with single girder or double girder options, depending on the need, and can be made of a box girder or a standard profile beam. The bridge of a gantry crane is held up by two A-frame steel legs that remain on the ground. Typically, this type of crane is installed with casters so that the crane can move between locations. Sometimes, you’ll find a gantry crane that runs along tracks on the floor or uses a V-groove caster to keep the movement in a straight line. The end truck system that moves the crane back and forth on the runway can differ depending on the application and load.


When looking at both the overhead bridge and gantry cranes together, you’ll notice that they are quite similar. They are supported at both ends, therefore they have fantastic capacity potential. In addition, they regulate load movement in three dimensions, allowing for greater control. Finally, they have an efficient covering area and can be powered in a variety of ways. One main difference that you’ll want to notice is the price. Typically, the gantry cranes are less expensive than the bridge cranes.


If you’re considering buying a bridge crane or gantry crane, be sure to do your research before making a purchase. Since they are fairly similar, you’ll want to choose the one that is best suited for your application and force load.