Mike Evanco, marketing manager at Spanco, which specializes in bridge, jib, and gantry cranes, explains: "With uncertainty in the market, I believe companies are looking to make smaller investments to solve their material handling needs. "This is a sentiment that is echoed by our marketing channel. Just last week a Spanco dealer explained that when the economy is slow, our gantry crane sales go up. A gantry crane is the type of lift solution that companies and their purchasing managers turn to when larger capital investments are off the table.

"Gantry cranes can provide up to 15 tons of lift capacity and are entirely portable. They don’t require installation costs, and they aren’t as expensive as other solutions. In fact, most gantry cranes are "plug-and-play," meaning they can be assembled on the floor with nuts and bolts and used right away." Efficient solution

According to Evanco, it is necessary to compare that to the expense and time associated with pouring foundations for jib cranes, or having to shut down production lines to install a large, expensive double girder or workstation bridge crane system. He explains: "A gantry crane can be rolled directly into an employee’s workstation and be lifting in seconds. This does not mean that a gantry crane is always the best and most efficient lifting solution for an application, but when capital investment is the determining factor, they make for an acceptable and versatile purchase.

"Spanco frequently sells gantries into general industry and specifically focuses on solutions for mechanical contractors, power generation facilities, water treatment plants, and metal fabrication facilities." Elsewhere, Engineered Material Handling (EMH) has just introduced a full line of standard gantry crane "solutions" that the manufacturer claims helps facilitate the ordering process for customers.

New initiative

The new initiative allows customers to design, price and order a diverse range of gantry crane solutions to fit numerous applications by themselves. Its standard gantry cranes are available in single-leg or double-leg configurations, and in 3-ton, 5t, 7.5t, or 10t capacities with all incorporating appropriately sized hoists and end trucks and available in spans between 20ft and 56ft.

On the project front, COH has completed the installation and commissioning of a 300-ton powerhouse gantry crane for a large hydropower plant. The manufacturer has designed, supplied and installed the machine for a large hydroelectric utility located in Ontario, Canada. Its new gantry had to be installed on a 1 km long dam that crosses the Canadian-US border with each country exploiting half of the St. Lawrence waterway.