Crane 101

Mountain Crane is proud to support crane training and safety! This website was created so anyone could learn about all the types of cranes, crane parts, and special equipment required for a successful lift or pick . For more in-depth details about our company, visit to learn more and see how we can help you Reach Higher!

Crane Boom Types

The boom is probably the crane’s most outstanding and identifiable feature. This is the long, telescopic or fixed arm that is used to move objects


The most recognizable part of a crane, the boom is the arm of the crane that holds the load and allows the crane to move the load closer to or away from the crane by lowering and raising the Boom.

Lattice boom

A type of boom made from steel welded in W or V patterns like lattice, to give it extreme strength while minimizing weight. Lattice booms are most common on Crawler and Tower cranes, although there are lattice trucks. Jibs and Luffers are usually of lattice construction.

Hydraulic boom

A type of boom made from telescoping sections. The sections can be extended to increase the crane’s reach, and collapsed for transport. Most All-Terrain and Truck cranes have Telescoping Booms.

Other Crane Parts

Cranes are more than just booms. There are multiple parts working in unison to keep weights in check and systems in line.


Counterweights are mounted on the back of the crane behind the boom to offset the weight of the load. Counterweights are removable for transport, and can be stacked to increase the cranes capacity. Some Cranes even have mobile counterweight like the MAXX-ER which are towed behind the crane like a trailer and connected to the boom via steel cables.

Wheels and Outriggers

All-terrain, Rough-terrain, and Truck cranes have wheels for mobility. Many can be legally driven on the highway. These cranes are equipped with outriggers which extend from the chassis and improve stability when deployed.


Crawler cranes are equipped with tracks for mobility. Because the tracks are so wide the crawler cranes rarely need additional outrigging for stability, however their mobility is limited as the tracks move very slowly and they require relatively smooth ground to travel on.

Wire Rope

The cables cranes use to lift heavy loads are known as wire rope. They are made of steel wires twisted into a helix forming an extremely strong “rope”.

Jib & Luffing Jib (luffer)

A jib is an extension of the main boom that is often somewhat horizontal in relation to the main boom. Generally a Jib is fixed, and a Luffer or Luffing Jib is a hinged jib that can be moved up and down in relation to the main boom.

Lower Carriage or Carbody

The lower half of a crawler crane upon which the tracks are mounted is called a carbody. The lower half of a wheeled crane is usually referred to as the lower carriage.

Upper Carriage or Upper works

The part of the crane that houses it’s engine, operators cab, wire rope drum, and anchors the boom, is referred to the upper carriage or upper works.

Load Blocks and Headache Ball

The load block or hook block is the lifting point where the load and its rigging are attached to the crane. Load blocks are made of steel, and must be heavy enough to keep tension on the wire rope when no load is attached.


Cranes operate by utilizing mechanical advantage. The lifting force of a cranes motor multiplied by a system of pulleys called “sheaves”. Each additional pulley increases the mechanical advantage. With two pulleys the force required to lift a 100lb object is reduced to 50lbs. With 4 pulleys the force required to lift a 100lb object is reduced to 25lbs. Some cranes can use load blocks with 10 or more sheaves!

Hoist Drum

The hoist drum or cable drum resides behind the main boom in the upper works. The drum is usually driven by hydraulic motors and can hold thousands of feet of wire rope in large cranes. A fully spooled drum on an LR-1600 weighs almost 40,000lbs!

A Fleet
For any Need!

Mountain Crane offers the largest fleet of cranes in the Mountain West! Our diverse fleet has the right crane for your job! Also check out our bare rental options.