Image c/o Urban Toronto.
- Image c/o Urban Toronto.
Cranes: they are big, sturdy, and they currently proliferate across the Toronto skyline. They appear indestructible, yet they get erected and dismantled at a fraction of the time it takes for the buildings they help build to be completed. While cranes soar hundreds of feet high in the sky and can extend just as far, not many know how they are constructed, how they don’t tip over, and how they can carry so much weight.
Cranes do not tip over because there are large concrete pads that are poured weeks before the crane arrives to secure its stability. A concrete pad generally weighs 182,000 kg and has large bolts anchored deeply into it, which are connected to the base. A typical tower crane has a maximum lifting power of 19.8 tons.
The parts needed to build the crane are brought to the construction site usually on 10 to 12 tractor rigs, depending on the size of the crane. To construct the initial foundation of a tower crane, a mobile crane is used. A mast, which gives the tower crane its height, is attached to the base.
The crane used at the L Tower was a self-erecting tower crane. Thus, once its base was assembled, it could build itself taller to its maximum height, one section at a time. It did so by detaching the slewing unit (the top of the mast containing the gears and motor allowing it to rotate) from the top of the mast and pushing it upwards using large hydraulic rams. Then, a new piece of the crane was hoisted upwards and placed into the open gap by the climbing frame. When it is time to take down the crane, the process will be reversed.
Click here to see a video of the L Tower crane being erected and its construction.
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