Understanding the process and expectations of buying an overhead crane—from the first contact with an overhead crane manufacturer, through the consultation and quote processes, and all the way up to installation. If you’ve determined that your business can benefit from the installation of a new system, then you’re probably in the beginning stages of researching companies who make or build .
An overhead is a complex and expensive piece of equipment. Prior to providing financing, your bank may want you to meet with a couple of different manufacturers to receive multiple quotes on the design and installation of a crane system. Even if you aren’t financing your new crane equipment, it’s still a good idea to bring in a couple of different companies to look at your facility and provide a scope of work and provide their expert opinion on the right crane for your business’ needs.
First Contact with an Overhead Crane Manufacturer
So, you’ve done your research, and you’re ready to take the next steps and bring in a couple of different overhead crane builders to come to your facility and bid on the project. If you filled out a contact form on a manufacturers’ website, then a salesperson will reach out via email or telephone to establish contact, introduce themselves, and learn about the following:
Who you are and what you do
Who your company is and what your business does
The different types of industries you serve
Your current lifting or material handling capabilities and any problems, or inefficiencies, that you’re currently experiencing
The next step will be to schedule a time and day for them to visit your facility. They’ll typically want to schedule a time to come out when production is up and running—so, don’t worry about scheduling a consultation on the weekends or during off-hours.
It’s actually more beneficial to their sales team to see what equipment is currently in use, see how it operates, and see where it’s located in the building. This helps them to understand how they might fit a new crane system into your building’s existing infrastructure and cause as little disruption to your existing processes as possible.
What Happens During an Overhead Crane Consultation?
Most often, these types of meetings are scheduled with your company’s Maintenance Manager or Production Manager and can last between 30 minutes to an hour. When the sales representative arrives, they’ll want to get right out to the production floor to get a quick tour of your facility, see how your production processes currently work, and get an understanding of the building’s floor space, support structures in place, and the size of the crane that they will be building.
During their time with you, they’ll be asking you a number of different questions—most likely filling out a form or spreadsheet with specifications, measurements, and observations. Some of the necessary information that they’re gathering to provide a quote can include:
A description of the lifting application and the environment
Existing cranes in facility—quantity, brands, capacities of existing equipment
Total number of cranes needing to be installed
Crane capacity / max hoist capacity
Number of picks, or lifts, per hour
What percentage of lifts will be at capacity?
Span, or length, of crane and runway system
Hook height / total lift height required
Power supply (480V, 230V, etc.)
Radio controls – yes / no?
If the salesperson can provide as much detail as possible to their team of estimators and engineers, then they can ensure that their team has a full understanding of the project and they can spec out and design a crane that is suitable for your unique building and lifting requirements.
Once the salesperson has gathered all of the information needed to design an overhead crane system for your facility, they’ll head back to regroup with their team and begin the quotation process for your crane installation project.
What Happens After the Overhead Crane Consultation?
There are all different types of overhead cranes, and the turnaround time of the quote can vary depending on the type of crane, complexity of the crane’s design, and what service classification it falls under:
Simpler cranes like jib cranes and workstation cranes have a quick turnaround time—manufacturers can typically turn a quote around for a jib or workstation crane in 1-3 business days.
A simple modular crane with a base trolley, hoist, and bridge design may take 5-7 business days to produce a quote.
A quote for specially-designed process cranes, or cranes with extra engineering built-in, can take 10-14 business days, or even a month, to produce for projects with a large number of cranes or distinct characteristics.
A quote for an overhead crane includes the price for the full scope of the project—including all costs relating to:
Engineering and design of the overhead crane system to meet customer specifications and ASME guidelines
Sourcing of all overhead crane parts and components
Design and manufacturing of new runway systems (if runways don’t exist or existing runways can’t be utilized)
Any disassembly and removal of existing overhead crane systems
Installation of new system and load test at time of electrical start-up
Timeframe / lead time to complete the project
Additional charges related to tax, freight, and any fees associated with obtaining permits may or may not be built into the quote, so make sure that you clarify whether there are any additional costs that are not included in the quote