How Long Can an Overhead Crane or Gantry Crane Last?

January 22, 2024

We often get questions like this“How long will my crane last?”. So we've summarised this article on the lifespan of some common overhead cranes and gantry cranes.

Generally, the lifespan of cranes with working duty A1~A2 is 30 years, cranes with working duty A3~A5 is 25 years, and cranes with working duty A6~A7 is 20 years.

Lifespan of Overhead Cranes and Gantry Cranes

The actual lifespan of the crane is affected by the actual use of the situation, it is difficult to calculate a fixed value, so here is a list of some commonly used bridge gantry crane design life, that can be used as a reference.

1. Manually operated cranes (including manual hoist cranes):

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 3.2×104~6.3×104
  • Usage: Rarely used
  • Lifespan: 30 years

2. Cranes for workshop assembly:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 6.3×104~1.25×105
  • Usage: Less frequently used
  • Lifespan: 25 years

3(a). Cranes for power stations:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 3.2×104~6.3×104
  • Usage: Rarely used
  • Lifespan: 30 years

3(b). Cranes for maintenance:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 3.2×104~6.3×104
  • Usage: Less frequently used
  • Lifespan: 25 years

4(a). Workshop crane(Including electric hoist cranes):

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 6.3×104~1.25×105
  • Usage: Less frequently used
  • Lifespan: 25 years

4(b). Workshop crane(Including electric hoist cranes):

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1.25×105~2.5×105
  • Usage: Infrequent light-duty use
  • Lifespan: 25 years

4(c). Cranes for busier workshops(Including electric hoist cranes):

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 2.5×105~5×105
  • Usage: Infrequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 25 years

5(a). Hook cranes for freight yard (including electric hoist cranes for freight yard):

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1.25×105~2.5×105
  • Usage: Less frequently used
  • Lifespan: 25 years

5(b). Cargo yard grab cranes or electromagnetic cranes:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 2.5×105~5×105
  • Usage: More frequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

6(a). Hook crane for waste plant:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1.25×105~2.5×105
  • Usage: Less frequently used
  • Lifespan: 25 years

6(b). Waste plant grab crane or electromagnetic crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 2.5×105~5×105
  • Usage: More frequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

7. Bridge grab ship unloader:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1×106~2×106
  • Usage: Frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: Less than 20 years

8(a). Container handling crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 2.5×105~5×105
  • Usage: More frequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

8(b). Shore container crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 5×105~1×106
  • Usage: More frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

9. Metallurgic crane:

9(a). Rolling mill roll crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 6.3×104~1.25×105
  • Usage: Rarely used
  • Lifespan: 30 years

9(b). Scrap charging cranes:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1×106~2×106
  • Usage: Frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: Generally 10~15 years, less than 20 years

9(c). Heating furnace crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1×106~2×106
  • Usage: Frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: Generally 10~15 years, less than 20 years

9(d). Front of Furnace Molten Iron Casting Hoisting Crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 5×105~2×106
  • Usage: More frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

9(e). Back of Furnace Steel Pouring Casting Hoisting Crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1.25×105~5×105
  • Usage: More frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

9(f). Slab handling crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 5×105~1×106
  • Usage: More frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

9(g). Special Hoisting Crane on the Metallurgical Process Line:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1×106~2×106
  • Usage: Frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: Generally 10~15 years, less than 20 years

9(h). Hoisting Crane for External Use in the Metallurgical Process Line:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 5×105~1×106
  • Usage: More frequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

10. Hoisting crane for foundry workshop:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 1.25×105~2.5×105
  • Usage: Infrequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 25 years

11. Forging crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 5×105~1×106
  • Usage: More frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

12. Quenching crane:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 2.5×105~5×105
  • Usage: More frequent medium-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

13. Loading and unloading bridge:

  • The total number of working cycles that can be completed from the beginning of use to the end of life: 2.5×105~5×105
  • Usage: More frequent heavy-duty use
  • Lifespan: 20 years

Statistics of the Actual Service Life of Hoisting Cranes:

(1) A1~A3 Light-duty series hoisting cranes are in good condition. According to statistical analysis of the probability of scrapping for this series of hoisting cranes, the lifespan is generally around 40 years. For example, gantry cranes used for lifting gates in hydropower stations, with nearly a thousand of various sizes of hydropower stations, many hoisting cranes have been in service for over 35 years, and some have exceeded 40 years.

(2) A4~A5 Medium-duty series hoisting cranes are in average condition. According to statistical analysis of the probability of scrapping for this series of hoisting cranes, the lifespan is generally around 30 years (with two major repairs and two complete paintings within 30 years). The period from the start of use to scrapping, with only one major repair and painting, is approximately 25 years.

(3) A6~A7 Severe operating conditions for the heavy-duty series hoisting cranes. According to statistical analysis of the probability of scrapping for this series of hoisting cranes, the lifespan is generally around 20 years (with two major repairs and two complete paintings within 20 years). The period from the start of use to scrapping, with only one major repair and painting, is approximately 17 years. Examples include gantry cranes and loading/unloading bridges in railway station freight yards.

(4) A8 Extremely severe operating conditions for the heavy-duty series hoisting cranes. According to statistical analysis of the probability of scrapping for this series of hoisting cranes, the lifespan is generally within 20 years. These types of hoisting cranes are typically used in metallurgical conditions, and after the expiration of their service life, they must be scrapped forcibly, regardless of whether they pass inspections.

When Does a Crane Need to be Scrapped?

  • Crane after many overhauls, the main beam after two deflection repairs and serious deflection or repeatedly produces cracks, it marks the end of the safe service life.
  • The use of performance can not meet the requirements, after repair and soon can not meet the use of demand.
  • Structural fatigue is serious, there is no repair value.
  • Crane steel structure corrosion in the coastal area works more than 1 ~ 2mm, the structure must be comprehensive strength, rigidity, compression bar stability analysis and calculation. Those that do not meet the requirements are subject to mandatory scrapping.

The service life of overhead cranes and gantry cranes varies considerably depending on their operating class, use and maintenance, and is influenced by factors such as operating conditions, frequency of use and the type of loads handled. The key for operators is to monitor performance, structural integrity, signs of wear or fatigue, and follow a maintenance program to ensure safety and extend the life of the crane. Ultimately, understanding these factors and committing to regular maintenance can maximize crane life while ensuring operational efficiency and safety.

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