The knuckle boom crane, also referred to as a loader or an articulating crane, is a hydraulically-powered articulated arm fitted to a trailer or truck (thus becoming a knuckle boom truck). The crane, when attached to the truck is used for for loading/unloading the vehicle. Once the cranes job is completed, it can be folded and stored neatly and conveniently due to its numerous jointed sections (one or more of which may be telescopic) on the back of the knuckle boom truck.
The knuckle boom crane folds down to a compact size, but also extends a long way, giving it many advantages over a stiff-boom or telescopic crane, such as increased payload, a lower profile, long reaches that compete with telescopic cranes, increased control and versatility.
Truck and trailer mounted booms like the knuckle boom truck for hire and for sale include (among a great many others) Bronto, Nifty, GSR, Ascendant and Aichi, which can allow for a reach of up to 32 metres and working heights up to 62 metres as well as self drive access platforms with working heights up to 22 metres. These cranes can be mounted to the flat bed truck with an operator’s cab mounted between loader and chassis cab.
Unlike most cranes, the operator must move around the vehicle to be able to view his load; hence modern cranes may be fitted with a portable cabled or radio-linked control system to supplement the crane-mounted hydraulic control levers.
Often the crane will have a degree of automation and be able to unload or stow itself without an operator’s instruction. The versatility of the crane can be seen in the fact that it can function like a regular straight boom, after which it can fold up as per specific requirements.
The narrower roads in Europe have contributed to the popularity of Knuckle boom trucks. Traditionally not as popular in North America, these trucks have recently begun to penetrate the reticent audience. Now that more contractors and business owners understand the benefits of these cranes, demand for them has increased steadily.
The increased popularity of knuckle boom trucks can also be put down to loader preference as well as that with the use of one of the smaller booms, the need for a certified crane operator is eradicated. The increased attention world-wide means that the cranes are more widely available and are currently for sale through a number of vendors. The most well known crane manufacturers is HIAB. An industry leader in truck cranes, HIAB is the number one selling brand of articulated truck crane in the world today.
The knuckle boom truck, also referred to as the grapple truck, describes a truck that has an articulated loader mounted on to its frame which is used for loading and sometimes hauling loads. A grapple loader is defined by ANSI Z245.1 as: a hydro-mechanical device able to rotate on an axis with a grapple or bucket attached at the end of the boom. The knuckle boom truck traditionally has a boom crane attached to a vehicle (such as a flat bed truck).