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Tower Cranes – How do they work?

Saez Tower crane on site for Mantis Cranes


Mantis Cranes offer an extensive range of cranes for hire or sale including Luffing Jib Cranes, Tower Cranes and Self Erecting Tower Cranes. Tower cranes can be seen across all city skylines, but how do these imposing structures work?

The essential parts of a Tower Crane

base for a tower crane

Base Support: Located at the bottom of the tower crane, the base support is attached to a concrete pad on the ground.

How to erect a tower crane

Tower: The vertical element of the crane, gives the crane the required height. The tower supports the cab, counterweights and jib.

Attaching a tower section to a Mantis Cranes Tower Crane

Slewing Unit: Made up of a gear and motor arrangement, the slewing unit allows the crane to rotate.

Mantis Cranes Tower Crane being erected on site

Cab: Where the crane operator sits to control the crane. The cab contains the computer, controls and


Attaching the jib on a Mantis Cranes Tower crane

Jib: The working arm of the tower crane, the jib supports and positions the load being lifted.

Trolley / Hook Block: The trolley moves back and forth along the jib and the hook block acts as a pulley system to allow the hook to move.

How to erect a tower crane

Counter jib and counterweights: These are at the opposite end of the jib to balance the weight of the lift.

Erecting a tower crane for Mantis Cranes

What are the steps involved when erecting a tower crane?

After the crane arrives on site, the tower sections are built to the required height. A mobile crane is used to build the tower.  The mobile crane is also used to lift the jib, counter jib and counterweights into place. The slewing ring/turntable is positioned on top of the tower and finally, the jib, counter jib and counterweights are then added.

Crane Hire UK & Ireland

Mantis Cranes are a leading tower crane hire and self-erecting tower crane hire company operating throughout the UK and Ireland. For information on hiring or buying luffing cranes, tower cranes and self-erecting tower cranes, please visit us at or

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