purchasing and using steel for projects

How Should You Choose A Service Body For Crane Use?

Building a custom work truck is never easy, but building a truck to support crane operations adds several additional critical decision points. The choices you make will determine both the capabilities of your truck and its safety. This latter point is particularly crucial, as crane trucks present numerous job site hazards that aren't present with other vehicle types.

Fortunately, choosing the right truck service body can ensure that your truck is both capable and safe. When considering a service body for your crane truck, make sure you take these three essential factors into account.

1. Capacity Rating

Crane manufacturers may use several different metrics when rating their equipment. For example, you'll typically see tonnage and distance when looking at cranes. However, maximum payload and maximum boom length aren't always useful metrics. Instead, foot-pound ratings more accurately describe a crane's capacity at any boom length.

Fortunately, service bodies usually list maximum crane capacities in foot-pounds. Calculate your maximum likely load by multiplying the necessary boom length in feet by the payload in pounds. This value tells you the capacity of the crane you'll need and, consequently, the minimum capacity rating for your truck's service body.

2. Outrigger vs. Stabilizer

Any service truck intended for crane use requires outriggers or stabilizers to help secure the truck during lifting operations. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, they describe different pieces of equipment. Understanding the difference is important since service truck bodies are often available with either option.

In technical terms, an outrigger is an extendable load-bearing arm that can transfer a crane's weight to the ground via its support pad. Outriggers become the primary load-bearing mechanism for the vehicle, relieving the wheels of this role. On the other hand, stabilizers provide extra stability, but the wheels must still bear some of the truck and crane's weight.

3. Compartment Configuration

While the crane may be the star of your service body, it's far from the only important feature. Your crews most likely need access to many other tools when on a job site, and that's where your service body's compartment configuration comes into play. Choosing the right configuration can help your crews to work more efficiently and safely.

There are as many compartment configurations as there are work trucks, and some service body manufacturers offer custom designs. Since so many options are available, it's best to view a few in person to determine which will adequately support your needs. When viewing compartment options, don't forget to also consider the space necessary for crane controls and additional equipment.