With skyscrapers around the world reaching new heights, tower cranes play an essential role in building construction. Their length and ability to hoist large loads allows a variety of building materials to reach the top levels of a structure. In today's Explainer, we explore the anatomy of a typical tower crane.

The parts of a tower crane, image by Marcus Mitanis

The base of a crane is affixed to the ground with a concrete slab. From the slab, the mast of the crane rises. This vertical part connects to the slewing unit, which enables the crane to rotate. A long horizontal section called the jib or boom then extends perpendicular to the mast. The jib carries the weight of whatever is being hoisted. Some cranes are equipped with a luffing jib, which is able to move up and down. A fixed jib contains a trolley below which allows goods on the hook to move horizontally.

The parts of a tower crane, image by Marcus Mitanis

On the opposite end of the horizontal section, the counterjib carries the counterweight. Usually composed of concrete blocks, the counterweight provides balance to the crane by offsetting the load of the jib. The crane operator usually sits in a cab situated at the intersection of the jib and mast. 

The crane's operator cab, image by Marcus Mitanis

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