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Sam Myers

When talking to lifting and rigging experts nationwide, they often ask us: 

“I’m in a warehouse—and even though I don’t have much space to work with—I still want an overhead crane to increase my productivity. What options are out there for me?”  

We understand. While you may think enclosed spaces limit your options, there are plenty out there, including a workstation crane.   

At Mazzella, we’re determined to match your facility with the best type of overhead crane. We also understand that investing in an overhead crane is no easy task.  

Our goal with this article is to help make this process a little easier, which is why we’ll be answering the following questions:  

What Is a Workstation Crane?   

Mostly found in indoor settings designated for one or two workers, workstation cranes were designed to thrive in light capacity, repetitive, and tedious applications, like assembly lines or loading docks.  

With their lifting capacity ranging from 150 lbs. to approximately 2-tons, these ergonomic cranes ease workflows and eliminate grueling labor for employees.  

Depending on the facility, it’s common to find workstation cranes either freestanding or ceiling-hung. Workstation cranes are exclusively underrunning as well.

Where are Workstation Cranes Used? 

Thanks to their ability to thrive in tedious and repetitive applications, workstation cranes are commonly found in warehouses, workshops, automotive plants, assembly lines, and distribution centers. 

They are lightweight ergonomic systems with enclosed tracks, which makes them easy to install in indoor facilities.  

Workstation cranes are ideal for applications where one or two workers are present. In Mazzella’s workshops, our workstation cranes are typically found in our chain department, our wire rope testing stations, and our hoist repair division. 

What are the Positives and Negatives of Using Workstation Cranes? 


Because of their modular design that doesn’t require existing support structures, workstation cranes are one of the easiest overhead cranes to install. On top of easy installation, if you’re using a workstation crane, they are also incredibly easy to move around in your facility. The force required to move a load is equivalent to 1% of the load, meaning it would only requires 10 lbs. of force to move a 1,000 lbs. load.  

Workstation cranes are also extremely customizable. While manufacturers have standard spans and lengths (typically 20, 25, and 30 feet), you can customize all dimensions of a workstation crane to fit in a particular space and plant layout.  

In addition, they are designed for future expansion as your production needs change.

Furthermore, workstation cranes can help prevent common injuries that workers have when lifting heavier loads, like back pain, joint issues, and broken hands and feet—creating safer and more efficient work environments.

For example, instead of a worker at a granite warehouse having to pick up sharp and heavy slabs of granite, they can use a workstation crane to safely move that slab.


While workstation cranes thrive in repetitive, lighter-duty loads, their biggest limiting factor is their limited maximum capacity. 

Organizations dealing with heavy duty lifting applications would want to turn to other overhead crane models, like a double girder crane or a full gantry crane.  

Because they are pre-engineered, they’re also limited to maximum height and width restrictions. 

What Impacts the Cost of Workstation Cranes?  

When determining the cost of an overhead crane, the final price will depend on many factors, including the length of the runway, capacity or maximum rated load, and the span of the overhead crane.  

Because of their versatility, workstation cranes have a wide price range—ranging anywhere from $8,000–$80,000

The wide range is dependent on the span and length of the runways, and if it’s free-standing or ceiling-mounted. (A freestanding structure could increase the price by about 30%.) 

For example, a workstation crane with a 1-ton capacity with a 20-25 foot system will cost about $30,000. One with a 2-ton capacity could cost $40,000. 

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What Should You Consider When Purchasing a Workstation Crane?  

1. What Is Your Current Building Layout? 

If you’re installing the workstation crane in an existing facility, the crane manufacturer will need to know your building layout and possible obstructions, such as overhead lights, fans, gas and water lines, pipes, heaters, and downspouts. 

When deciding potential spots for your workstation crane, it’s important to determine the thickness of your concrete floor and account for what may be embedded underneath it.  

Also, decide if you want your workstation crane to be free-standing or ceiling hung. If you would like your workstation crane to be freestanding, it’s important to note that there’s a 17-foot-high overall height restriction.  

2. How Much Customization Is Needed?   

As mentioned, workstation cranes are one of the most customizable overhead cranes available. But the more customizations you add on, the higher your final cost will be. 

Work with your design team and workers to determine what customization offerings are necessary and account for their current workloads. Also, make sure adding customizations will fit in your budget. 

3. What is Your Application? 

Not all overhead cranes are created equal. For workstation cranes, they thrive in lighter weight applications and in compact environments, but they lack the lifting capacity to carry heavier loads.  

Before purchasing a workstation crane, account for the crane’s potential: 

  • Lifts per hour 
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures 
  • Daily use  
  • Lifts at full capacity 

Is A Workstation Crane Right for You?  

Whether it’s their easy installation, their ability to remove manual tasks, or their convenient modular design, there are many positives that come with investing in workstation cranes.  

During your decision-making process, keep in mind the layout of your facility, the cranes’ expected applications, and if you will need any added customization. 

For facilities specializing in heavy-duty applications, you would be better off investing in a bridge or full gantry system.  

We understand purchasing any type of overhead crane isn’t a walk in the park. To help your organization make the right purchase, grab our in-depth Overhead Cranes: Top to Bottom e-book!  

Contact a Mazzella specialist today to learn more, order products, or schedule services.

Copyright 2024. Mazzella Companies.

Disclaimer: Any advice, graphics, images, and/or information contained herein are presented for general educational and information purposes and to increase overall safety awareness. It is not intended to be legal, medical, or other expert advice or services, and should not be used in place of consultation with appropriate industry professionals. The information herein should not be considered exhaustive and the user should seek the advice of appropriate professionals.