What is a Jib Crane? A Look at the Design, Types, and Components of Jib Cranes

What is Jib Crane

Jib Cranes are lightweight crane systems that use a pillar fixed on the floor or wall as a support to move. The pillar supports the rotation of the jib consisting of a moveable hoist. These are usually used in factory production lines, industrial settings like warehouses and docks- to load and unload shipping containers, and similar lightweight lifting applications – for unique and repetitive lifting tasks. Jib cranes are remarkably adaptable and can be coupled with overhead bridge cranes to maximize output. They can lift and move loads weighing up to 15 Tons.

Owing to their relatively simple design, Jib cranes are helpful in production environments as they improve safety, increase worker productivity, and reduce workplace injuries. Their ergonomic design is very appealing in a production environment, are easy to operate and usually require less to little maintenance.

Aside from being referred to as Jib Cranes, they are also known as boom cranes.

Jib Crane Design and Components

Below are some of the components and terms commonly used when describing jib cranes:

-Reach/Boom – A horizontal beam that the trolley travels back and forth on.

-Mast/Pillar – A vertical beam used to support the boom on Freestanding and Mast Jib Systems.

-Movable Hoist – Used to lift, position, and lower a load.

-Trolley – Can be manual, pneumatic or motorized. The trolley carries the hoist, wire rope/ chain, and the hook along the entire length of the boom.

Different Types of Jib Crane Systems

The different types of jib crane systems that are available according to each system’s range of capabilities, advantages and disadvantages, and available design options are :-

  1. Freestanding Jib Cranes
  2. Foundationless Jib Cranes
  3. Mast Type Jib Cranes
  4. Wall-Mounted Jib Cranes
  5. Articulating Jib Cranes

Freestanding Jib Cranes

– Freestanding Jib Cranes are the most common type of jib system, because they can be installed virtually anywhere – indoors or outdoors. These can be used underneath large bridge crane systems, or in open areas where they can support individual work cells. They can be used outdoors at loading docks or marinas, and indoors for assembly operations where multiple jibs can be used in simultaneity. 

– As compared to other systems, freestanding systems offer- 

  1. The highest capacities
  2. Longest spans 
  3. Greatest amount of rotation. 

Freestanding jib cranes are among the most expensive systems and the most permanent setup, because of the special foundation that is required to anchor and secure the crane and support the load during a lift.

Foundationless Jib Cranes

– Foundationless jib cranes are another type of freestanding jib crane that are slab-mounted and bolted to 6″ reinforced concrete for indoor use. These types of jib crane systems don’t require a special foundation and can be installed almost anywhere in a facility as long as the area meets the requirements of the manufacturer.

– Since there’s no special foundation required, these Jib Cranes can be installed faster as you don’t have to wait for a poured concrete foundation to cure. They can also be easily shifted/moved within a facility, if necessary.

– While their ease of installation, cost-effectiveness, and portability make freestanding jibs attractive for certain applications, they do have a much lower capacity than those jib cranes with a poured foundation.

Mast Type Jib Cranes

– Mast type jib cranes are an economical alternative to freestanding systems as they don’t require a significant foundation. These types of jib cranes only need 6” of reinforced concrete to support the crane- as they require extra support from an existing overhead support beam or structure.

Mast type jib cranes are similar to freestanding systems and can be used for the same type of heavy-duty applications. Although, they do require an overhead beam or support structure to provide support in addition to the foundation.

Wall-Mounted Jib Cranes

– Wall-mounted jib crane systems can be used along structurally adequate walls or building support columns, or as a supplement to an existing monorail or overhead bridge crane. The main advantage of using this system is the space-savings that it offers. They don’t require any type of floor or foundation support, and they can also be installed very close to the underside of the lowest ceiling obstruction, providing maximum clearance both under and above the boom.

– These systems can be designed to swing under obstacles or around obstructions, OR fold out of the way of overhead cranes to ensure no interruption of production.

– Even though these types of jib systems are among the most economical in price and design, the major disadvantage of using a wall-mounted or column-mounted jib crane is that the design does not allow for full 360° of rotation. Mainly, they require a column or support capable of withstanding the loads, which, in most cases, requires a structural engineering survey and approval prior to installation.

Articulating Jib Cranes

– As compared to traditional jib cranes with one boom, articulating jib cranes have two swivel arms that can lift loads around corners and columns, and reach into or under machinery and containers. The primary boom arm allows for 200° swivel and the outer arm allows for up to 360° of rotation—providing a greater coverage area and more flexibility closer to the mast or column.

– Articulating jib systems can be floor, wall, ceiling-mounted, or mounted on a bridge or track system. This variety of configurations allows for precise load positioning and spotting loads around obstructions – through open doors or rotating close to the mast or building column—an area where it can be more difficult to maneuver traditional jibs.

– An Articulating Jib Crane system might not be the best choice for heavier duty and more frequent lifts. Their design wouldn’t allow for higher capacity lifts and their span is somewhat limited.

Conclusion / Things to consider 

If you’re installing a series of jib cranes or just a jib crane, it can maximize production and enhance workplace safety at your workplace & minimize workplace injuries. Jib cranes have a perfect layout to handle maximum numbers of lifts and give a more convenient means of moving material jointly with an existing overhead crane system or a work cell.

Keep these things in mind to ensure that you prepare a jib crane that is the most suitable, economical, and most productive for your application: –

  • Duty Cycle/Classification– Picking the correct duty cycle/service classification helps in knowing if the components are durable enough to survive the load & usage needs.
  • Area of rotation– Freestanding and Mast Style Jib Cranes offer 360-degree movement, while Wall-Mounted cranes give 180-degree movement.
  • Height under Boom-The distance from the floor to the bottom of the boom of a Jib Crane is the height under the boom. Even the factor lifting height and hoist size are required.
  • Actual working span needed– The working distance is approximately the length of the boom minus ½-trolley length at each end.


At INDEF, we design and build high-class overhead crane systems. We have over 60+ years of experience in this industry and can build custom solutions for all your material handling needs.

For more assistance on determining the right jib crane for your lifting needs, call us today on +91 (22) 489-33303 or write to us at enquire@indef.com