Materials in Motion

Gantry Cranes: Moving Under Load

One of the biggest benefits of using a Spanco Gantry Crane is the ability to move your gantry crane while it is carrying a load. While many manufacturers strictly limit the ability to move a gantry crane under load or prohibit it completely, all Spanco cranes are designed to be moved under load. Using a gantry crane that can move under load has several benefits.Spanco A Series Gantry Crane

Gantry cranes can be used in a facility without pouring foundations or permanent installation. They are ideal for rented facilities or potential future workflow changes because they can be easily disassembled and relocated. Unlike most permanent material handling systems, gantry cranes can also be used to move loads from indoors to outdoors or between buildings.

Spanco T-Series, A-Series, All-Aluminum, and E-Series Gantry Cranes can roll to all corners of a facility, making it easy to get full coverage. They are also designed with adjustable height and span capabilities, and T-Series cranes also have adjustable tread and cantilever capabilities, making it easy to move material over uneven floors, through narrow spaces, or under low clearances.


Every Spanco Gantry Crane is equipped with casters that allow the crane to be moved under load. All Spanco Gantry Cranes can be moved manually when carrying a load, and, depending on the crane capacity and which casters are used, some loads can be moved by just one person.

Most Spanco Gantry cranes are equipped with standard moldon polyurethane steel core casters. These standard casters can provide smooth operation and low rolling resistance on smooth concrete surfaces. Polyurethane casters allow users to move a loaded Spanco Gantry Crane with a force of approximately five percent of the system’s maximum rated capacity.

Nylacron™ casters, available for gantry cranes exclusively through Spanco, are an excellent option for manually moving high-capacity cranes under load. They can replace the polyurethane casters that come standard on Spanco Gantry Cranes and achieve even less rolling resistance than polyurethane. Nylacron casters allow users to move a gantry crane with a force of less than one percent of the system’s maximum rated capacity.

Another option available for Spanco Aluminum Gantry Cranes is the use of pneumatic tires. Pneumatic tires are ideal for outdoor applications because they are much easier to move over soft or uneven terrain, such as roof or grass surfaces. The softer rubber surface that allows pneumatic tires to travel over uneven terrain also generates more rolling resistance than polyurethane, but users can still move a loaded gantry crane with a force of approximately 15-20 percent of the system’s maximum rated capacity.

V-groove casters can be used with special v-groove track to allow a gantry crane to move in a straight line along a fixed path. Swivel-lock casters can also be locked to allow a gantry crane to travel in a straight line and can be unlocked to allow the crane to turn. Casters can also be equipped with wheel brakes to keep your gantry crane from moving when you don’t want it to.

All Spanco Gantry Cranes can be moved under load with any type of caster. If you’re not sure what kind of caster is best for your application, check out this blog on choosing the right casters.


Most Spanco Gantry Cranes allow manual movement under load, but some high-capacity applications require motorized movement. When you need a motorized gantry crane, a Spanco PF-Series Gantry Crane is the way to go.

PF-Series Gantry Cranes are available with standard heights up to 35 feet, standard spans up to 40 feet, and capacities up to 15 tons. The higher capacity and larger height and span of the PF-Series make it a cost-effective alternative to large bridge cranes when long distance travel would require long runways and many foundations and supports.

Motorized gantry cranes can use V-Groove Track Drives, Guide Angle Drives, Crane Rail Drives, or Trackless Drives to travel in a straight line along a fixed path. Unlike permanently installed cranes, these options can be moved easily and installed in a different location if the gantry crane ever needs to be relocated.


Use extreme caution when moving a gantry crane under load. Keep the load as close to the floor as possible and position the load in the center of the I-beam. Push the gantry crane; DO NOT push the load and do not use a lift truck or other vehicle to push or pull the gantry crane. Do not allow the load to swing or roll against support legs. Ensure that the floor is clean, level, smooth, and free of obstructions.

Other Benefits

The ability to move Spanco Gantry Cranes under load gives them a greater range of motion than stationary gantry cranes or permanently installed systems. Because they can also be moved throughout a facility, they are more flexible than permanent systems, and they provide safer and more efficient material handling than other flexible solutions, such as forklifts.

Because gantry cranes don’t require a poured foundation, they can provide a large range of motion in locations where permanent material handling structures can’t be used, such as rooftop applications. With capacities from 250 pounds to 15 tons and the ability to move under load, Spanco Gantry Cranes offer flexible, economical, and effective material handling solutions for many applications.