Truck-mounted cranes are machines most often placed on the chassis of a truck. They are most often used for trans-shipment or assembly works. Their main advantages include impressive mobility and high lifting capacity. Due to their characteristics, cranes are most often used on construction sites in industry, construction and the service sector. However, in order to maintain all safety precautions, HDS must be installed correctly.

Definition of HDS cranes

According to official nomenclature, HDS cranes (hydraulic truck mounted cranes), otherwise known as loading cranes, are cranes mounted on truck chassis. The cranes are usually located between the driver's cab and the body or at the back of the body. All HDS cranes must be checked by a technical inspectorate. Cranes with a lifting capacity of up to 250 kg are not subject to technical inspection. The HDS crane is a type of container crane which has the ability to move containers vertically and horizontally. The crane also has the ability to move loads over both short and long distances. This type of crane can also move loads that are too heavy for other types of cranes, thanks to its robust construction and greater lifting force. Cranes are used in a variety of applications in modern industry, for example, in land ports around the world, railway terminals and warships. The legal basis for the technical supervision, operation, repair and modernisation of HDS cranes are regulated by two regulations:

  • Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 7 December 2012 on types of technical devices subject to technical supervision (Journal of Laws 2012 No. 0 item 1468), issued on the basis of Article 5(2) of the Act on Technical Supervision.
  • Ordinance of the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology of 30 October 2018 on the technical conditions of technical supervision in the operation, repair and modernisation of materials handling equipment (Journal of Laws 2018 item 2176).


What is the maximum weight of cargo lifted by HDS cranes ?

HDS cranes are a type of crawler-mounted equipment with a horizontal, slewing mast. Their usefulness is best seen during the construction of high bridges or buildings and other large structures. The maximum weight of the load lifted by HDS cranes largely depends on the manufacturer, but it is estimated that it is about 500 tonnes. There are also cranes which do not have a weight limit.

Are HDS cranes safe ?

It is the operator's primary responsibility to keep himself and others safe. HDS crane operator must take the necessary precautions to be able to do their job efficiently and safely. Safety precautions that should be used in certain situations include:

  • Avoiding contact with towers and overhead wires.
  • Load indicator calibration checked before each use.
  • Operation with maximum permissible boom angle.
  • Adequate clearance between the ground and the centreline of the load.
  • Maintain an adequate distance between any overhead or adjacent obstacles, for example: trees, power lines.

How to install HDS cranes on construction sites?

Typically, the chassis of HDS cranes is placed in a suitable chassis system of up to 8 axles, very often a number of steering axles are used, which allow better turning and manoeuvrability on tight construction sites. In HDS cranes, the mechanisms responsible for lifting construction elements and materials are based on a group of winches and a swivelling jib mounted on a rotating platform. Thanks to this assembly, it is possible to safely and efficiently lift and lower the load in any direction. The vast majority of hydraulic truck-mounted cranes are ready for immediate use without the need to install the boom. There are also structures that must be assembled on site including but not limited to individual boom elements or additional working attachments. The design of the jib consists of a system of hollow sections and telescopic segments which are extended hydraulically. Often, for mobile truck cranes, the method of extending the jib with an additional telescopic arm mounted at the end of the jib is used. Mobile cranes operate on so-called footings, i.e. pillars mounted on a suitably stable and load-bearing surface. If the surface is rough and uneven, crane legs can be positioned using additional sleepers, which make the support surface larger and more stable.

What tests are HDS cranes subject to?

Mobile cranes are subject to full technical supervision. This requires periodic examinations, ad hoc inspections, ad hoc operational tests and ad hoc accident and breakdown tests.

  • Periodic inspections - are carried out in order to check whether the operator has followed the recommendations issued by the UDT (Office of Technical Inspection) inspector, which are included in the protocol from the previous inspection. In addition, the UDT inspector checks whether any damage has occurred during use, or whether the crane's general condition has changed. The examination also serves the purpose of precise verification of correct operation of safety and protective mechanisms.
  • Ad hoc exploitation tests - are ordered at the moment of modernization, repair, element replacement and after HDS cranes re-assembly. The main aim of the examination is to detect whether the performed assembly or repair had no significant influence on the safe operation of the crane. Very often, ad hoc inspection is carried out in connection with replacement, repair or modernization of lifting links, gripping and securing devices and lifting mechanisms or support structure.
  • Ad hoc post-accident and post-failure inspections - are performed only at the request of the operator when an accident or a failure occurred while using HDS crane. The main aim of this examination is to detect the cause of the incident and to indicate the damages with recommendation to repair them.

The types and scope of tests to which HDS cranes are subject are regulated by the Regulation of the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology of 30 October 2018 on the technical conditions of technical supervision in the operation, repair and modernisation of material handling equipment (Journal of Laws 2018 item 2176).

Advantages and benefits of using mobile cranes.

The main benefit of a mobile crane is that it can be moved with relative ease to any location. The most popular is the telescopic crane which consists of a telescopic jib and a hoist mounted on a chassis. The number one crane in the United States, Asia and most European countries is the semi-trailer mounted self-erecting crane. The construction of mobile cranes for transport purposes is designed in such a way that assembly and disassembly is as easy and effortless as possible. This means that, in the case of an emergency, the crane can be easily moved from one construction site to another, taking advantage of the change in configuration from a flat-pack transport state to an assembled working state.