Overhead Crane Maintenance: Best Practices and Common Issues

A crane is a device used to raise and lower a load as well as move it horizontally. While there are many kinds of cranes, overhead cranes are one of the most important since they offer dependable and effective material handling solutions thanks to their railed support system that crosses the bridge horizontally.

Regular maintenance of the crane is necessary, just like with any other piece of machinery or equipment, to optimise performance, streamline operations, maintain safety, and assure the best possible results. In this post, we will address typical problems that operators may come across during the overhead crane’s lifespan as well as a list of best practices for overhead crane maintenance.

Best Practices for Overhead Crane Maintenance

Safety and equipment longevity are two crucial factors in overhead crane maintenance. Prioritising maintenance helps to maintain worker and environmental safety because overhead cranes are frequently used close to people, equipment, and precious assets. Additionally, maintenance helps safeguard the investment made in these pricey types of machinery by addressing wear and tear, lubricating parts, and avoiding significant malfunctions. The frequency of repairs is further decreased through proper maintenance procedures, reduced downtime, and increased production.

Thus, the danger of mishaps and injuries can be greatly diminished by performing routine inspections and swiftly correcting any potential problems. Some of the best practices that can be followed are:

Regular Inspections

Inspections conducted on a regular basis assist find possible problems before they develop into serious ones. Daily, monthly, and yearly inspections can be planned.

Before the start of each shift, daily inspections involve looking for any loose or damaged parts, wear, or strange noises. Furthermore, the operation of safety tools like limit switches and emergency stop buttons can also be checked.

A more thorough inspection of the crane’s parts is performed during monthly inspections. This entails inspecting electrical connections, checking wire ropes and electric chains for damage, and looking for breaks or abnormalities in structural components. Here, it is important to use thorough inspection checklists and to adhere to the manufacturer’s service and maintenance recommendations.

On the other hand, annual inspections must be performed by a licenced inspector or another qualified individual. All crane components, including load-bearing elements, hoists, brakes, and control systems, are meticulously inspected during these inspections.

Stick to the Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Installing an overhead crane in your plant entails significant financial investment, and to assist you in maintaining it effectively, the crane manufacturer always provides a comprehensive handbook or maintenance schedule book. This resource contains service advice tailored to the specific crane’s duty cycle and capabilities.

It is crucial to strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to crane maintenance, including lubrication schedules and inspection intervals. By following these recommendations carefully, you can ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your crane.

Lubrication and Cleaning

To reduce friction and stop premature wear, the working elements of the crane must be lubricated often. Areas like wire ropes, sheaves, gears, and bearings should be lubricated. Additionally, routine crane cleaning helps get rid of corrosive substances, dirt, and other things that can harm its components.

Operating Environment Considerations

The operating environment plays a vital role in determining the lifespan of overhead cranes and their components. To safeguard the crane against adverse environmental conditions such as excessive heat, chemical exposure, fumes, steam, dust, or high moisture levels, special metal coatings may be necessary.

Failure to consider these factors during the design and quotation phases can lead to corrosion, oxidation, and accumulation of dirt and grime on crane components. Taking proactive measures to address environmental challenges is crucial to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of overhead cranes.

Training and Education

The effectiveness of crane maintenance relies heavily on operators and maintenance staff receiving adequate instruction and training. Operators need to be familiar with the manufacturer’s recommendations, safe operating techniques, and potential risks associated with overhead cranes.

Training programs should cover lubrication methods, and inspection strategies, and emphasize the importance of promptly reporting any abnormalities or issues that arise. By ensuring operators are well-informed and trained, the overall maintenance of overhead cranes can be carried out more effectively and efficiently.

Common Issues with Overhead Cranes

Even with routine maintenance, overhead cranes may encounter typical problems. Operators and engineers can take preventative measures and resolve these issues as soon as they arise by being aware of them.

Electrical Problems

Overhead cranes may experience electrical issues because of poor wiring, loose connections, or malfunctioning motors, among other things. These problems may result in unpredictably moving cranes, power outages, or even electrical risks. These issues can be found early on and fixed with the help of routine inspections and adequate electrical maintenance.

Following are a few of the frequent problems with overhead crane electrical systems:

Problems with contact Interruptions between the conductor bars and the collector may arise.

This issue can be attributed to the accumulation of carbon graphite dust on the brush, resulting in electrical connection shorts. Moreover, the corrosion of copper rails on the conductor bars can occur due to the operating environment or prolonged periods of inactivity of the crane. The overhead crane system may experience irregular control issues because of these contact interruptions.

Problems with push button pendants and radio control systems.

This can be due to interference from radio waves in certain environments, such as facilities performing induction heating or induction welding, which can disrupt communication between the transmitter and receiver of overhead crane radio controls.

Over time, push buttons or levers on pendant controls and radio controls may stick or become unresponsive, necessitating repair or replacement. Further, pendant controls can also become disconnected or pulled out of the hoist during crane manoeuvring, requiring checks for disconnection or rewiring if any loose wires are found.

Problems due to a faulty circuit

The faulty circuit in the crane’s electrification system is indicated if your overhead crane is blowing fuses. To inspect the system and locate the issue, it is essential to get in touch with a crane service provider at the earliest.

Wear and Tear

Wear and tear can occur over time to a variety of crane parts, including wire ropes, pulleys, and gears. Reduced load capacity, higher strain on the crane’s structure, and potential mishaps can all arise from this. To avoid breakdowns, regular inspections and prompt replacement of worn-out parts are crucial.

End truck wheels, of overhead cranes, even require frequent maintenance, replacement, or adjustment. Over time, normal usage leads to natural wear and necessitates wheel replacement. At times the existing rail system installations tend to wear out wheels faster, especially if the runway wasn’t properly surveyed, causing misalignment or rail tolerance issues.

To prevent premature wear, it’s crucial to have the crane runway system designed, tested, and regularly inspected by a reliable manufacturer. Early signs of wear indicate potential larger issues that should be addressed promptly to prevent further complications.


Misalignment in overhead cranes occurs when the structure or components are not correctly aligned, leading to load imbalance, increased stress on specific parts, and potential failures. A misaligned crane travelling along the runway can cause severe stress and damage to the entire system, resulting in accidents, crane failure, downtime, and costly repairs or part replacements.

Further, improper tracking also causes excessive wear on wheels, bearings, flanges, and motor drives. Regular inspections are crucial for identifying misalignment issues and taking prompt corrective actions.

Deformed or Faulty Crane Hooks

In order to support loads in a precise direction, crane hooks are essential. However, if the weight is not sufficiently supported, the internal integrity of the hook is compromised, which could result in bending, stretching, or cracking. Additionally, if the load extends the neck opening, there is a chance that it will slip off the hook. To prevent this, at the beginning of each shift, hooks and other rigging hardware must be regularly inspected for any damage or deformities to maintain safety.

To Wrap Things Up:

To maintain overhead cranes, regular inspections, lubrication, and training are necessary. These procedures are essential for guaranteeing safety, increasing the equipment’s lifespan, and improving operational effectiveness. Operators can increase the dependability and performance of these crucial material-handling machines by adhering to suggested rules and quickly resolving typical problems.

Furthermore, you may reach us by email at enquire@indef.com or by phone at +91 (22) 489-33303 to speak with our crane specialist if you need advice for your next project and want a crane that sticks to industry norms.