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Knuckle boom cranes are an amazing piece of engineering technology. Also called a loader crane, articulating crane, and a picker crane, the knuckle boom crane has changed the way people load and offload in a variety of industries. It looks similar to the traditional straight boom crane, but the knuckle boom crane has two booms; a main boom and an outer boom. These two booms have a knuckle between them, which allows more options for the loader crane operator.
Look at your fingers; hold your index finger out straight, and then bend your finger at the knuckles. The knuckle boom crane works in the same manner. The addition of these two knuckles on the crane allows for many more different uses compared to a straight boom crane. These knuckles also make it easier to fold into a smaller size, but at the same time it can extend further to reach loads at a distance. This kind of “fold and extend” ability is missing in the traditional stiff boom cranes.
For the loading and unloading of heavy cargo and machinery in restricted spaces, the knuckle boom loader crane has no equal. This kind of crane has proven to be very useful in Europe, where truck size restrictions are stricter, and roads are narrower than North America. However, it is also gaining more popularity in other parts of the world. These types of cranes have been particularly utilized in the transport, construction, forestry, mining, marine, and petroleum industries. They may be small and easier to use in constricted spaces, but that does not make them any less effective because they can be used to lift cargo of up to and exceeding 60 tons. The knuckleboom can even be outfitted with a winch for additional lifting options.
How is the knuckle boom crane used? First, it depends on where it will be used. For example, in the construction and transport industry, it is fitted onto a truck; for marine use, this crane is mounted onto a boat. It can also be mounted on a dock or railcar, and its ability to fold up for storage during transport makes it a more versatile option compared to the traditional stiff boom crane.