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Knuckle Boom vs Stiff Boom: What Will Uniquely Fit Your Needs?



Knuckle boom cranes, also known as articulating cranes, loader cranes, picker cranes and folding boom cranes, bring versatility and flexibility to the market. Before the knuckle boom, stiff boom cranes were the primary player in the North American crane market. Today, knuckle boom cranes are proven in the market and continue to increase in popularity. Countless new applications and industries are developing using such diverse equipment. So, how do the two versions differ, and what is my best option? These are questions we will address today.


While both crane variations are used to lift and move materials or products, they accomplish this quite differently. A stiff boom crane can only lift materials up and down using a hydraulic winch. While a knuckle boom can also be fitted with a winch to do the same as a stiff boom crane, having more articulating points, it operates more like a human arm, allowing the crane to pick in an optimum method. 


This design offers extreme mobility and agility when delivering loads and flexibility to work horizontally and maneuver loads requiring complex delivery zones, including but not limited to setup and operation in more confined spaces, delivery inside buildings and across structures, which is a limit with the stiff boom. Knuckle Boom cranes offer an unobstructed truck deck surface, as the crane is folded and not stored over the truck’s deck. Knuckle boom cranes have a high power-to-weight ratio, offering high truck payloads and lower fuel costs.


Stiff boom users often use giant cranes, but when converted to a knuckle boom crane, they soon realize they don’t need cranes as significantly due to how they lift. Knuckle Boom cranes have dramatically increased reach and lifting capacity and can now compete with even larger stiff boom cranes. The PALFINGER TEC line is a prime example of this – the TEC series offers increased load stability and capacity by reducing boom system deflection while providing a lightweight but strong product. It is clear that users have numerous options to fit their needs and that the knuckle boom is quickly becoming the most versatile to suit requirements. Therefore, PALFINGER is a clear choice when choosing a knuckle boom crane. We offer an excellent product with best-in-class surface coating KTL, a cathodic dip painting process. It protects your product using a multi-step coating process, following environmental standards, allowing long-lasting surface protection for your investment for years.

We have numerous options to fit your needs. Check out our full line of knuckle boom cranes that can handle the unique needs for your industry.

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