When To Modernize Crane Equipment And When To Replace It

Your overhead crane equipment represents a substantial investment for your company, and there’s a lot that goes on in your operation that depends on that equipment. That means your crane equipment needs to be in prime working order all the time to ensure proper operation for optimal productivity and worker safety.

In a perfect world, you would be able to depend on your overhead crane or hoist equipment forever. In the real world, however, equipment breaks down over time, and even the most reliable equipment is in danger of becoming old and obsolete.

Though because your crane equipment is such a large investment, dealing with old or outdated overhead crane equipment is more complicated than simply replacing it. You may be able to get away with a less-intensive crane equipment modernization operation to keep the equipment in proper working order. In some cases, however, it may be a better decision to replace the equipment altogether.

How do you know what to do with your crane equipment? Consider the following.


There are many circumstances where overhead crane modernization is all that’s required to boost the performance of equipment and maintain productivity. These modernizations may include changing the power supply, expanding capacity, installing a radio control system or replacing the hoist. Here are some circumstances in which modernization may be the right way to go:

  • If an individual system on the equipment fails, such as the drive control system
  • If the safety measures such as handrails or walkways are worn out
  • If the equipment is more than 30 years old

In these cases, modernizing the equipment may be the way to go. Cranes introduced within the last 25 years have higher capacities than older equipment. That means, if everything else is in good condition, a modernization can boost your productivity without the need for an entirely new crane. Safety measures such as handrails and walkways can be replaced relatively easily, and so can individual systems.


Nothing lasts forever, unfortunately, and there are some circumstances in which it makes more sense to replace your existing crane equipment. Although modernizations can be a cost-effective way to squeeze more life out of your equipment, there comes a point when keeping old equipment in service represents too great a risk, in terms of productivity and safety. You should seriously consider replacing your crane equipment if you’ve experienced any of these situations:

  • The equipment has recently required multiple repairs
  • Warranties on any of the major components have expired
  • Multiple injuries have occurred that are related to the equipment’s use
  • Performance records show a decline in productivity related to the equipment

If any of these conditions exist, replacing the existing crane equipment may be your only course of action. Although replacing the equipment comes at a significant cost compared to modernization, the long-term benefits of ensuring continued productivity and worker safety far outweigh that cost.


If you’re unsure of which course of action you should take for your crane equipment, talk to your crane’s manufacturer or your supplier. These experts may be able to provide you with additional insight regarding the expected lifecycle of the equipment as well as suggest modernization efforts that might help, given your equipment’s condition.

Crane 1 provides complete preventative maintenance and repair services, which can serve to extend the life of your equipment and keep it in proper working condition for longer. Reach out to us today and you may be able to avoid making the difficult decision to replace your equipment.

The image at the top of the post is one of four cranes at DC Water in Washington DC that was modernized by CRANE 1 with new hoist drums, controls, drive motors, cab controls and chairs as well as environmental conditioning system