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Top 10 Construction Crane Facts

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NMT Crane Hire prides itself on offering quality crane hire throughout the UK. Cranes are integral pieces of machinery in construction, helping transform urban areas with building offices, bridges, skyscrapers and more. Every modern skyline in a bustling city was built with the help of a crane. Here are some facts about construction cranes.

10 Facts About Construction Cranes:

1. Cranes were built by the Ancient Greeks

The first human-made crane was built by the Ancient Greeks around 500BC. It looked very different to the modern cranes we have today, instead of steel or metal they were made out of wood. Human or animal power was used to pull heavy objects up – but these early crane designs helped build some of the most recognisable and beautiful structures of the ancient world.

2. The crane arm (“jib”) was added in the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, the “jib”, or crane arm, was able to move both horizontally and vertically – mainly because it was used to unload cargo ships in a harbour.

3. Steam engine technology was added to cranes in the 19th Century

With the invention of the steam engine in the 19th Century, the new technology was also applied to provide cranes with power, which eliminated the need for humans and animals used as a source of power.

4. The first mobile crane was manufactured in the 1950s

In the course of the 1950s, there was a significant change in the material used to manufacture cranes. Strong steel was used and also placed on the back of trucks, which saw the introduction of ‘mobile cranes’.

5. 200,000 cranes are estimated to be in use around the world

Around the world, there are over 200,000 cranes in use, of which 125,000 cranes are used in the construction industry and between 80,000 – 100,000 cranes are used in general and maritime industries.

6. Tallest crane in the world is a Liebherr type 357 HC-L

The tallest crane in the world is the Liebherr type 357 HC-L and it can lift up to 18 tons at 44 metres a minute. This crane was used in the construction of the world’s tallest building: Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia.

7. Cranes are dangerous, leading to 42 deaths each year in the UK

There are around 42 crane-related deaths each year.

8. Only 11% of crane accidents are caused by mechanical failure

Out of all the crane-related accidents that occur on a construction site, only 11% are due to mechanical failure. If these failures are spotted early, then further damage can be prevented, which is why cranes are inspected daily and yearly.

9. There are over 20+ types of crane types

Like many other products and machinery, there is a wide variety of different types for an array of purposes or to be used for specific projects. Some of the main crane types include tower cranes, mobile cranes, truck-mounted cranes, and rough terrain cranes.

10. Cranes share their name with a bird

We previously discussed our 5 most interesting facts about cranes, but construction cranes share their name with the tallest flying bird in the world.


We hope you have enjoyed our list of 10 most construction crane facts. To find out more about our crane hire services here at NMT Crane Hire, please contact our team by calling us on 0800 026 6985, or filling out our online enquiry form.

5 Tips for Crane Hand and Voice Signals

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With the introduction of new construction crane standards and certifications, there are some key tips that people sitting these tests need to remember when taking the signal person test.


1. Understand crane operations and limitations

When a signaller understands what crane operations, limitations and results may occur when certain signals are given to direct a crane operator, then they can use this information to carry out tasks and direction more effectively. For example, if a crane is about to be put into an overload condition then a signal person needs to signal the gain or loss of capacity to the crane operator quickly and clearly.


2. Special assignments as a signal person

As a signal person, it is important to understand each of the different signals and what they mean. For example, the ‘blind pick’ relay signal is assigned to lifts being made in a prohibited zone, or during lifting activity that uses a suspended personnel platform.


3. Present the hand signals correctly

When signalling the movements must be standardised and performed clearly so that they are easily understood. This is key so there is no room for misinterpretation. No allowance should be made for lazy hand signals.


4. Give voice signals in the correct format

When carrying out signals there is a set format that must be followed: function and direction; distance or speed; function and stop.


5. Understand what to do when there’s a failure in the communication process

All signals are continuous, whether that be via hand or voice, therefore this means that when an unplanned event occurs to the signal person they should give a ‘stop’ or ‘emergency stop’ signal. This allowed for the event to be sorted and the load moved on without causing an incident. There may be times when the operator cannot see or hear the signals, suspecting an unplanned loss of contact has occurred. At this point, they should stop moving the crane and load until they regain communication and the situation rectified. It is integral that a signal person also knows what to do during an unplanned event.



If you would like any more information on crane safety, or you would be interested in learning more about the services NMT Crane Hire provides, please get in touch with one of our friendly team members by calling us on 0800 026 6985, or fill out one of our online enquiry forms.

Deadline for CPC Training Approaches: Are Your Drivers Ready?

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Deadline for CPC Traning Approached: Are Your Drivers Ready

Most of us are not aware of the fact that there is CPC training for heavy vehicle drivers to take. Many times, it has so happened, that we have actually gasped when we see a very huge vehicle or lorry being driven on the highway, and have pondered how is this driver able to manage and drive such a big vehicle so efficiently. Well, this is the magic of CPC Training.rnrn Continue reading “Deadline for CPC Training Approaches: Are Your Drivers Ready?”

What Is Heavy Haulage and When Do You Need It?

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What Is Heavy Haulage and When Do You Need It

The grand statue of a tower crane is a symbol of sheer height, yet the whole process of constructing and transporting a crane to a new site is synonymous with size. For a big piece of machinery like a crane, you need an accommodating delivery service that can transport the largest objects both safely and efficiently. Heavy haulage is a specific industry that has been tailor-made for oversized objects such as cranes; the industry is an essential piece of the puzzle in sculpting our skyline.

What is Heavy Haulage?

The classification behind heavy haulage stretches further than the size of your object. There are a number of categories that diagnose your load with specific speed limits and weight restrictions. Category 2 and 3 vehicles, which is where the majority of heavy haulage vehicles reside, are limited to 40 mph on motorways and 35 mph on dual carriageways, and depending on the precise weight of the vehicle, you may need to be granted permission to transport the goods.

Heavy Haulage Weight Restrictions

With loads exceeding a gross weight of 78 tonnes, you will need to inform the Highway and Bridge Authorities with at least 2 clear days of notice. The same goes for loads over 147 tonnes, except in this case, the notice period is extended to 5 days and the Police must also be informed. There are a number of categories that require notice and special permission, so to familiarise yourself with all these guidelines, take a look at the Special types enforcement guide.

Despite the rules and regulations, heavy haulage is not an exclusive industry. Although this method of transportation is mainly reserved for agriculture, construction and in the delivery of static homes, there is a reason why so many companies opt for one big haul over multiple journeys with smaller lorries. Although the premium of heavy haulage may exceed the costs of smaller delivery options, the cost of multiple trips will soon add up to one higher than a single, larger service. This method is also less time consuming, and allows all the parts of a crane, for example, to be delivered in a more timely fashion, speeding up the entire construction process. Heavy haulage is only an option to consider if your use of a crane conforms with a CPA contract, where you will need to provide everything but the crane for your build.

If you are in the process of constructing all the parts to your latest build and need a crane transported to your site, you can call on the services NMT Crane Hire to deliver the goods. Just contact us on 0800 026 6985 or you can use our online form to leave us a message.

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The Science Behind Tower Cranes

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The Science Behind Power Cranes

tower crane







If you have marvelled at a tower crane and asked yourself “how do those things work?” don’t worry, you are not on your own. A feat of engineering, tower cranes have been at the forefront of construction and innovation for centuries, yet knowledge of their mechanics and their functionalities are still reserved for experts and practitioners. To shed light on this industry, NMT Crane Hire study the science behind tower cranes.

Foundations For Tower Cranes

One of the most important aspects in ensuring a crane strays upright is making sure a suitable foundation has been laid. Like any building or skyscraper, a foundation needs to be sewn in order to secure the structure and to prevent any mishaps. Typically, a foundation for a tower crane will be secured with cement (again, like a building or skyscraper) and in certain cases, steel beams will be used for added security to the structure. The usual formatting of a crane’s foundation will consist of the base of the crane being attached to a concrete pad via large anchor bolts. Following on from this step, the pad will be connected to the steel beams, which are reinforced with concrete pillars. This foundation gives the crane a wider base platform, and as it is secured with concrete, this significantly reduces the chances of any tower crane toppling, even in extreme conditions. Modern-day cranes and their foundations are built to withstand winds of up to 145mph, meaning they should comfortably deal with category 4 hurricanes and storms.


Another vital component of a tower cranes structure is the counterbalance. Evidently, tower cranes are not built to just stand up and look pretty; they are responsible for manoeuvring large materials at great heights. When operating heavy materials at height, one of the main concerns is the risk of toppling, and that is why tower cranes are usually fitted with a counterweight. However, the equation for working out how much weight is needed for a specific load is far more sophisticated than one would think. Here is the equation in full to help you determine the appropriate counterbalance weight for your crane:

Step 1: Determine the amount of weight being applied to one end of your crane

Step 2: Measure the distance between the weight and the pivot point

Step 3: Multiply the amount of weight by the distance between the two points

Step 4: Measure the distance of the opposite side of the level (the space which is available for the counterbalance.)

Step 4: Divide the total applied torque (the force which causes the rotation) by the distance of the counterbalance weight.

How Heavy Can They Lift?

As mentioned in the equation above, the amount of counterbalance required depends on the weight of the materials. As cranes are required to lift high and to lift big, just how heavy can they haul? The maximum unsupported height for a crane is around 265 feet, but this height can increase if the crane is attached to the side of a building. With that in mind, the typical tower crane offers a lifting power of around 19.8 metric tonnes. As previously explained, this amount of weight changes depending on the height of the crane, the conditions in which the crane is lifting and a number of other variables, and with a number of safety concerns, it is important to air on the side of caution when deciding how you load your tower crane.

NMT Crane Hire are experts in the field of crane hire, so if you wish to find out more about all of our services, contact us today on 0800 026 6985 or leave us a message via our online contact form.

The Different Types of Cranes

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To the untrained eye, one crane may look just like another. They're tall, made of metal, and often brightly coloured. 

But there are actually many different types of crane with various different benefits and uses. Primarily used in construction, these different types of crane can facilitate a wide range of projects; getting your choice of crane right as a construction project manager is vital, as it could prove a deciding factor in the overall process. 

We've put together this guide to take you through these different crane types, explaning their advantages and suggesting which situations they might be most useful in. 

Tower Cranes

If you were to ask a child to draw a crane, the tower crane would be the end result. 

Tower cranes are the most well known type of crane, and easily the most visible. These lanky pieces of machinery decorate our skylines across the UK and much of the globe, so it's no surprise that it's where most people's minds go initially.

With a counterbalance to the rear of the jib, these types of crane are most commonly used in the construction of buildings and skyscrapers. Some can stand higher than 250ft and boast a lifting capacity of up to 20 tonnes, making them perfect for the big jobs. 

During construction porjects, these cranes are typically fixed to the ground with a concrete base and huge bolts to keep them from moving – given the scale of operations these cranes are typically involved in, that's just as well. 

Mobile and Vehicle-Mounted Cranes

Putting a crane onto wheels seems like a simple and straightforward idea, but this move has allowed construction companies to tackle the most difficult terrains. For years, cranes had been permanent fixtures on building sites, lying rigid and structured on a construction site. But once the mobile crane was developed, new scope was given to architects and planners to allow them to build and expand into areas which would otherwise be difficult to reach.

Moving cranes around without a vehicle would be impossible, and with mobile (also referred to as vehicle-mounted) cranes it's possible to move construction projects around the country far more quickly. As cranes often required to move, and are never permanently in the same place, it makes complete sense that adding further flexibility and manoeuvrability would be a huge advantage. 

NMT Crane Hire have an abundance of mobile cranes in their arsenal, ranging from small 70 tonne cranes to our largest crane, the 700 all terrain crane.

Harbour Crane

Shipping and trading constitutes one of the largest industries in the world. To accommodate the sheer size of the sector, a crane of a similar stature is needed. Often referred to as container cranes, these machines operate on a rail system – a device that allows the cranes to move along tracks to seek the appropriate container. 

Unsurprisingly, these behemoths can easily lift two 20-foot containers at once, making the task of processing thousands of containers a day a little less arduous.

Crawler Cranes

A crawler crane, while still a heavy-duty machine, offers great versatility for anyone needing to lift and move heavy materials. It features a set of tracks, or crawlers, instead of wheels, providing stability and mobility on uneven terrain. 

This type of crane is preferred for projects requiring significant lifting capacity or when access to the site is limited. Its main advantages lie in its ability to manoeuvre on rough ground, distribute weight evenly, and lift heavy loads to considerable heights. Crawler cranes excel in projects like bridge construction, building skyscrapers, or handling materials in areas with restricted access.

Whatever the nature of your project, we're confident here at NMT that we've got a solution for you. 

Get in touch with us today for a no-obligation initial chat, and we'll work with you to establish which of our products you'd benefit from the most. 

Call us on 0800 026 6985 or fill out one of our online contact forms. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Craziest Crane Uses

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When we think of a crane, we picture a loud, urban landscape with a lanky, yellow structure manoeuvring large objects high into the sky. For the most part, this is the environment cranes are resigned to. Yet, sometimes, these pieces of machinery disregard stereotypes to leave us picking our jaws up off the floor.

Outside of the construction sites, cranes have created some spectacular, death-defying moments from base jumping to conducting scientific research on the moon. So, besides from constructing a building, what can you do with a crane?

Hold A Protest



In total Jackass fashion, stuntman Steve-O revolutionised the traditional ‘peaceful sit-in’ by clambering up a 100ft crane in protest of SeaWorld. Recording the whole ordeal on Facebook, Steve-O and his small, inflatable Orca grabbed headlines all around the world with one of his most dangerous stunts yet. A subsequent night in jail seemed worth it for the cause, however, as the hashtag ‘#SeaWorldSucks’ trended worldwide, forcing the Orlando aquarium to halt their Orca breeding programme.

Steve-O and the Jackass crew have performed hundreds of meaningless stunts over the last 15 years, but this may just have been their most significant.

Test The Limits Of The Body



David Blaine has pushed his body right to the very edge on multiple occasions to wow his audiences, yet one of his oldest stunts is still his most famous. Back in 2003, the American magician and illusionist imprisoned himself in a plexiglass box for 44 days, with only 4.5 litres of water a day to keep him company. Suspended by a crane on the doorstep of Tower Bridge, Blaine pushed the limits of the human body right to the very edge, drawing huge crowds for each of the 44 days.

As Crane uses go, this is one of the most extraordinary.

Explore Space



For as long as science as a concept has existed, mankind has strived to push the boundaries of exploration and research. This desire for knowledge eventually lead scientists to the moon back in the 60’s and ever since then, a number of tests and research projects were carried out to further our understanding of our neighbouring planets.

The invention of the lunar crane has long been a major tool when studying the moon, collecting rocks and gathering materials for scientific research. In terms of the most meaningful crane uses, researching the solar system has provided scientists with a greater understanding of our galaxy.

Make A Hit YouTube Video



The internet is littered with videos that make you laugh, cry and cringe. But when two Russian free climbers ascended the crane atop of the Shanghai Tower, it created a video which will make any viewers’ palms’ instantly sweaty. With no harnesses in sight, these two daredevils stroll along the 650ft high crane without a care in the world. The resulting footage has become one of the most watched videos on the platform, racking up an impressive 62 million views.

While cranes have their uses, none of the others are as perilous than this. But hey, anything for a like, ey?

Fuel Your Inner Adrenaline Junkie



What is the one thing you need for base jumping? Height! (And a parachute, you’ll need one of those too). Cranes offer the perfect platform for anyone looking to base and bungee jump, and NMT have recently provided a 700-tonne crane for the annual World Base Jumping competition.

If you fancy yourself as a stuntman/daredevil/lunatic, then base jumping off a 90ft crane offers the perfect platform to get your kick.

Build The World’s Tallest Building



Ever since the crane was invented, humans have had a desire to build taller and taller and taller. The end result is the 2,700ft monument that looms over the Emirati desert. The building is so tall that crane operators live in their cranes for a whole working week, as the time it takes to descend the tower would leave them with only a few hours before they make the climb again.

The desire to build bigger is one of the purest crane uses there are, and who knows? Perhaps in a few years, architects will construct a building even taller than the Burj Khalifa.

Film A Blockbuster Movie



Cranes may not be synonymous with movie sets, but they have been used to capture some of the most iconic shots in film and TV history. Construction work and industrious work may be the most common of crane uses, but these huge pieces of machinery also offer a certain degree of subtlety and creativity when needed.

If you are in the process of filming the next Oscar-nominated flick, or if you need a crane for any one of these projects, contact NMT Crane Hire today to speak to one of our operators.

How Much Can A Mobile Crane Lift?

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How much Can a Mobile Crane Lift?

On any construction site, mobile cranes are brought in to do all the dirty work. They are synonymous with lifting objects of any shape and size way into the sky, but their strength mustn’t be underestimated either. But just how heavy can they lift?

Some cranes can lift over a 1000 tonnes without breaking a sweat, but mobile cranes provide a more dynamic service than the big, robotic brutes that deadlift up and down all day. Although mobile cranes and tower cranes are far more versatile and maneuverable, they also have to roll up their sleeves and help shift some weight.

Before we start detailing specific load charts, let’s add in some context for comparison. In the construction of buildings, the typical tower crane can lift an unsupported weight of around 20 tonnes, depending on the conditions, while still being able to move the object around with relative ease.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that tower cranes are used in the construction of buildings, however. In most cases, mobile cranes are restricted in the height which they can lift, but the weight often puts tower cranes to shame.

Across the NMT Crane Hire site, there are a number of mobile cranes used for a variety of jobs.

The nimble city mobile cranes are quick and comparably featherweight in comparison to other mobile cranes, but you will still be able to lift weights of 13-70 tonnes with these machines. When dotting about to different locations and lifting respectable amounts of weight, city mobile cranes do just the trick.

In a complete contrast to the city cranes, when working on treacherous ground, all terrain mobile cranes prove to be a sturdy alternative. With a lifting capacity of up to 160 tonnes, all terrain mobile cranes also double the load chart of a mobile crane, while still being firmly locked into position.

So far, we have looked at mobile cranes which can be used for the quick and easy tasks, and mobile cranes which can cope on almost any surface, but for those jobs which require immense lifting power, it is time to call in the big guns. Our heavy crane selection can lift anything from 200 to 700 tonnes, while still being fully mobile. Although this weight cannot be lifted to the height of a tower crane, sometimes height has to be substituted for unrivalled lifting power.

Depending on the type of work which is being carried out on your site, lifting power isn’t the only criteria to consider. Follow the links to the individual pages for every type of crane listed above to find out more about their specifications.

To speak to one of our advisors, contact us on 0800 026 6985 or use our online form to request a callback.

NMT perform complex rig & lift with AC700 and AC250

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NMT supplied their 700 ton Terex for a complex lift,which involved aerial rigging the 36 metre luffing jib at a site in Snetterton,Norfolk.rnrnIMG_1304Although it was a awkward set up and involved a 250 ton crane as the rigging crane,the crane was ready to work in less than 8 hours.

NMT lift ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ ship

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S1170016NMT used a 220 ton and 250 ton crane to tandem lift a ship, built especially for the latest ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ film.  The same two cranes were also used to light the set.  The ship was constructed on site, filmed and then loaded onto transport to be moved to a new location.  A great piece of engineering.Well done to all concerned.