What is a workstation jib crane?

Workstation jibs are a type of workstation crane that provides lifting coverage in a circular area. Jib cranes feature a rotating boom attached to a fixed mast or wall, and are designed for lifting and moving loads within a workstation or assembly line, particularly in spaces not efficiently served by other types of cranes.

Jib cranes are also called free-standing jib cranes, articulating jib cranes, mast-style jib cranes, and floor-mounted jib cranes.

What are workstation jibs used for?

Workstation jibs, much like other types of workstation cranes, are designed to assist with lifting, lowering, and moving loads within a confined area. They’re particularly useful in environments where coverage over a circular or semicircular area is beneficial. Here are some typical uses:

  • Material Handling: Workstation jib cranes are often used to move materials within a specific area. This can include lifting and moving parts in a manufacturing setting, moving goods in a warehouse, or handling materials in a construction site.
  • Assembly and Production Lines: These cranes can be a valuable tool on production lines, especially if the assembly process requires moving parts in a circular or semicircular path. For instance, they can help move a product from one station to another in a circular assembly line.
  • Maintenance and Repair Workshops: In workshops where equipment or vehicles are repaired, a workstation jib crane can be used to lift heavy parts or components. For example, in an automotive workshop, a jib crane might be used to lift and move car engines.
  • Machining and Fabrication Shops: In a machine shop or a fabrication shop, a workstation jib crane can be used to lift and position heavy workpieces onto machining centers, welding stations, or inspection tables.
  • Loading and Unloading Tasks: Workstation jib cranes can be used to load and unload materials from trucks or other transport vehicles, particularly in smaller or more confined spaces where larger cranes would be impractical.

In essence, a workstation jib crane is a versatile lifting tool that can improve productivity and safety in a wide range of industrial and commercial settings. It’s especially useful in situations where the work area is localized and the movement of materials or parts follows a circular or semicircular pattern.

How workstation jib cranes work

Workstation jib cranes are bolted to a metal frame of a building or attached to a post drilled into the floor. A hoist is attached to a trolley, which is attached to a rotating jib arm that can be moved or spun to transport loads in a radius of up to 15 feet.

The enclosed track of a workstation jib crane makes it extremely safe and ergonomic, meaning it requires very little force to move. This simple yet effective design has made workstation jib cranes essential products for stone facilities, machine shops, car manufacturers, warehouses, meat processing plants, paint facilities, and many other industries.


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Advantages of workstation jibs

The advantages of workstation jibs include:

  • Maximum Workstation Flexibility: Workstation jibs provide excellent coverage in circular areas that are not efficiently served by the main crane. They are smaller and more nimble than overhead cranes, allowing them to increase productivity through easy boom rotation and trolley movement. This flexibility speeds up tasks and provides a rapid return on investment​1​.
  • Improved Safety: Workstation jibs reduce injuries and improve safety. A low operator force is required to start and stop the boom rotation and hoist trolley, minimizing the physical strain on the operator and reducing the risk of accidents​​.
  • Versatile Application: Workstation jibs can lift and transport materials in semi or full circles around their support structure, and they can also move materials to adjacent workstations. They are compatible with various workstation tools, including hoists, manipulators, balancers, and more. This makes them an excellent choice for assembly line environments and other applications that require flexible, multi-directional movement of materials​​.
  • Ergonomically Friendly: Many tools can be cumbersome to operate all day, so workstation jibs take the lifting out of the work, enabling operators to avoid repetitive stress lifting issues. The small footprint of these cranes makes installation possible in small areas, such as between machines, enabling safer long-term use of heavy tools by operators​.

What is the difference between a workstation jib crane, a workstation crane, and an overhead crane?

Workstation jib crane, a workstation crane, and an overhead crane are all types of material handling equipment used in various industries, but they have different designs and are suited for different types of tasks. Here’s how they differ:

  • Workstation Jib Cranes: These cranes consist of a horizontal beam, or “jib”, that is attached to a fixed point, such as a wall or pillar. The jib can swing in a circular or semicircular path, providing coverage over a circular area. The hoist and trolley travel along the jib to lift, lower, and move loads. Workstation jib cranes are often used when there is a need for lifting and moving objects within a circular area or when the lifting tasks require a certain degree of rotation. They are commonly used in individual workstations, machine shops, or dockside applications.
  • Workstation Cranes: These cranes are typically designed for use within a confined area such as a workstation or an assembly line. They often span a rectangular area and are commonly used to move loads along a straight path, either horizontally or vertically. Workstation cranes can be either freestanding or ceiling-mounted, and are often designed to be lightweight and easy to operate. They are ideal for repetitive lifting of relatively light materials within a defined rectangular workspace.
  • Overhead Cranes: Also known as bridge cranes, overhead cranes consist of parallel runways with a traveling bridge spanning the gap. A hoist, the lifting component of a crane, travels along the bridge. Overhead cranes are typically used for heavy-duty applications and can lift much heavier loads than workstation jib cranes. They are commonly found in industrial environments such as manufacturing plants, warehouses, and shipyards. Overhead cranes usually cover a rectangular area and are best suited for moving objects in a straight line, both horizontally and vertically.

So, the main differences between workstation jib cranes, workstation cranes, and overhead cranes lie in their design, lifting capacity, and the shape of the area they can service. The choice between the three will depend on the specific requirements of your operation.

What is the lift capacity of a workstation jib crane?

Met-Track workstation jib cranes can lift between 250 – 1,000 lbs.

Questions to ask before you purchase a workstation jib crane

  • Do you have experts that will help me correctly specify my workstation jib crane?
  • Who will install my workstation jib crane?
  • What is the warranty?
  • What does your warranty cover?
  • Are the wheels in your track system made of metal (which lasts much longer) or plastic/rubber (which is cheaper and wears out)?
  • How long has your company been around?
  • Are your workstation jib cranes made in the USA?

Why choose a Met-Track workstation jib crane

Met-Track invented the workstation jib crane and is the worldwide leader in worksite safety. Our enclosed track and powder coatings make our workstation jib cranes the most durable and safest in the industry. Plus, our emphasis on excellent customer service means we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Met-Track workstation jib cranes comply with OSHA safety standards, and enclosed track equipment is less likely to come off-track, creating a safer work environment. Additionally, by making it easier to move large loads throughout a facility, workstation jib cranes can boost productivity on your worksite.

Alongside the time savings comes significant cost effectiveness. Our workstation jib cranes are highly durable–they are powder-coated (as opposed to enamel paint), making them less likely to chip. We also use metal wheels inside the enclosed track rather than plastic or rubber, so they don’t have to be regularly replaced. This means your purchase of a workstation jib crane will create job site benefits that last for years or even decades with minimal maintenance costs.

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