How to Read a Crane Load Chart

How to Read a Crane Load Chart

Operating heavy machinery like cranes is no simple task. When controlling this equipment, it’s crucial to understand your crane’s capabilities and limitations or risk putting your equipment, materials and workers in jeopardy.

Crane capacity charts give crane operators the information they need to ensure safe crane operation for a given lift. This guide will teach you how to read the load chart of a crane to calculate your crane’s load limits accurately.


What Is a Crane Load Chart?

Crane load charts communicate a crane’s lifting capabilities. Using these charts, crane operators can ensure their cranes do not exceed their lifting capacities when in operation by calculating maximum load limits regarding the boom angle and length.

Crane capacity charts contain many vital pieces of information:

  • Boom angle: The boom angle is between the boom’s longitudinal and horizontal centerlines. Considering crane stability is crucial when calculating the boom angle to avoid lifting weights at unsupported angles, resulting in loss of balance.
  • Lift capacity: Lift capacity communicates how much load a crane can carry based on its load dimensions, lift height and lift angle.
  • Lift range: This metric is the required boom length based on the lift height and distance.
  • Deductions: When assessing load capacity, you must deduct the crane’s load, wind conditions, and accessories like lines, rigging, blocks, and/or ball.


How to Read a Crane Load Chart

The left column of the crane capacity chart displays the crane’s lift radius in meters, which is the machine’s reaching capability. The top row of the chart expresses the available boom lengths for your crane type. You’ll find two numbers in the intersections of each row and column. The first number indicates the crane’s load capacity at a specific lift radius and boom length, and the second number, sometimes in parentheses, is the corresponding boom angle.

Using this information, you can identify the boom length required for your project and match it to the achievable operating angle. Then, locate the corresponding load rating for your boom length and radius, which will reveal the crane’s lifting capacity.

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Looking to buy a crane instead? Check out our guide on BUYING A CRANE VS. HIRING A CRANE.