Telescopic Cranes: A Comprehensive Glossary for Service Truck Technicians

Welcome to the comprehensive glossary of terms dedicated to telescopic cranes—an invaluable resource tailored for mechanics and technicians in field service, especially those operating service trucks equipped with telescopic cranes. These versatile and adaptable cranes are pivotal in simplifying heavy equipment repair, rendering them indispensable across various industries.

The primary objective of this glossary is to provide clarity and comprehension regarding the extensive terminology associated with telescopic cranes. It delves into the nuances of their components, operation, safety features, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned professional well-versed in the intricacies of crane technology or someone new to the world of cranes, this glossary is an excellent reference. It facilitates the navigation of technical language, enriching your understanding of telescopic crane systems.

Join us as we explore the terminology and essential considerations that define these powerful machines, contributing to the safe and efficient execution of lifting operations.

Telescopic Crane Basics


Cranes are heavy-duty machines that use cables and pulleys to lift and move loads. They operate on basic mechanical principles and have capabilities beyond what humans can do, making them an indispensable tool in many industries for tasks such as material handling and positioning.


Telescopic cranes are known for their telescoping mechanism that enables their boom to collapse and extend using a hydraulic-powered cylinder. This feature provides unmatched adaptability for various situations, allowing operators to quickly adjust the crane’s reach and height. As a result, telescopic cranes are highly versatile and efficient solutions for lifting operations in different settings. They are perfect for navigating confined spaces and handling projects with dynamic lifting requirements. Additionally, telescopic cranes can be mounted on trucks, which makes them easy to transport between worksites. Moreover, these cranes can significantly enhance the capability of a mechanic on a service truck.

Electric/Hydraulic Crane

An electric/hydraulic crane combines the traditional hydraulic lifting mechanism with electric power for enhanced control and efficiency. In this configuration, an electric motor powers the hydraulic pump, which, in turn, drives the hydraulic system responsible for the crane’s lifting operations. Integrating electric components adds more precision and responsiveness to the crane’s functionality. Electric/hydraulic cranes are often chosen for their reliability, ease of operation, and the ability to perform tasks with both power sources working in tandem. Summit manufactures two models of electric/hydraulic cranes, the 4416 and 6422

Hydraulic Crane

A hydraulic crane is a type of lifting equipment powered by hydraulic systems, utilizing fluid pressure to generate the mechanical force needed for lifting and lowering heavy loads. These cranes typically consist of hydraulic cylinders, pistons, and fluid reservoirs. The hydraulic system allows precise control over the crane’s movements, making them well-suited for applications requiring accuracy and versatility. Hydraulic cranes are commonly used in various industries due to their robust lifting capabilities and efficient operation. Summit manufactures hydraulic cranes with lifting capabilities ranging from 6K to 14K

Crane Maintenance

Maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of heavy-duty machines like cranes. It involves periodic inspections, routine repairs, and adherence to maintenance schedules. Regular maintenance improves the crane’s reliability and enhances the overall safety of lifting operations.

Crane Rating

Crane Rating, also known as Rated Capacity, refers to the maximum load capacity a crane is designed, certified, and rated to lift safely under normal operating conditions. This specification is crucial for determining the crane’s capabilities and ensuring the safety of lifting operations. A crane’s certification and design are essential in validating its lifting capabilities. A meticulous certification process ensures it aligns with industry standards for safe and efficient operation. Structural integrity and high-quality components determine a crane’s rating.
Regular evaluations of the crane’s structural integrity and components enhance safety and reliability.

Crane Safety

Ensuring safe crane operations is of utmost importance. General crane safety requires a set of practices, procedures, and precautions to minimize risks during lifting operations. It involves following industry standards, regulatory guidelines, and manufacturer specifications. Prioritizing safety measures is critical while operating cranes. This includes correctly using safety features, adhering to load limits, and implementing protocols to avoid accidents, injuries, and property damage. These guidelines ensure both safe and efficient crane operations while also protecting workers and equipment.


Regulatory Framework

The regulatory framework governing crane operations is established by key organizations dedicated to setting standards, ensuring mechanical integrity, and safeguarding workplace safety. Understanding and complying with these standards are imperative for the responsible and secure use of cranes.


The American National Standards Institute. ANSI is a private organization that works within practically every industry to provide a general framework for fair standards development and quality conformity assessment systems.


The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. This organization publishes more detailed/current standards than OSHA. OSHA often references them.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes federal standards and general safety requirements for a wide range of industries. Their rules are enforced through fines and penalties.

Components of Telescopic Cranes

It is essential to comprehend a crane’s fundamental components and parts for its safe and efficient operation. Each piece plays a specific role in the lifting process, contributing to the crane’s overall functionality and reliability. The crane’s regular inspection and maintenance of these parts contribute significantly to its reliability and longevity.

Structural Components and Basic Elements


There are different types of booms available, including telescopic booms. A boom is the part of the crane that extends to give the crane the ability to lift a load over an area. 


Also known as a traveling block. The assembly of the hook, swivel, bearing, sheaves, pins, and frame is suspended by hoisting ropes.


The hook is the attachment point for the load. It securely fastens to the load, allowing the crane to lift and transport materials safely.

Hydraulic Reservoir

The storage tank for hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic systems control various crane functions, providing the necessary power for smooth and precise movements.

Moving Parts and Mechanisms

Rotation (Slew)

The rotational mechanism, often called the slewing ring or slewing ring bearing, is a crucial component of crane design, especially for telescopic cranes. It enables the crane’s upper section, which includes the boom and the load, to rotate horizontally in relation to the lower part of the chassis. This substantial bearing is critical in achieving precision and flexibility during load placement and movement, making it a pivotal element in crane operation.


A wheel with a groove for a wire rope to run on. It is a crucial component in the load block, contributing to the proper movement of the wire rope during lifting operations.

Wire Rope

Wire rope is a strong and durable cable used in wire rope hoists to lift heavy objects. The hoist employs a motor, usually electric, to wind the wire rope around a drum and lift objects. It is an excellent choice for heavy lifting due to its strength and range, making wire rope hoists versatile.

Hydraulic Cylinder

A vital component of the telescopic crane system, the telescopic cylinder is a hydraulic mechanism designed to extend or retract the telescopic boom sections. This hydraulic cylinder operation ensures precise control over the length adjustments of the boom, contributing to the crane’s versatility and efficiency in managing diverse lifting requirements.

Telescoping Boom

The telescoping boom comprises a foundational base boom, from which one or more additional boom sections can be extended or retracted. This ingenious design allows for the seamless adjustment of the boom’s length, providing enhanced flexibility and adaptability in various lifting scenarios.


The winch is responsible for the lifting and lowering of loads. It is a critical component powered by a motor that winds or unwinds the wire rope to move the load.

Winch Drum

A cylindrical object around which the wire rope is wound during lifting. It plays a central role in determining the crane’s lifting capacity and line speed.

Telescopic Crane Operation

To operate a telescopic crane safely and efficiently, it is necessary to have a comprehensive understanding of its controls, reach, lift capabilities, and working parameters. Mastering these elements ensures the precise and secure handling of loads in various work environments. The operation of a telescopic crane requires a combination of technical skills, knowledge of crane capabilities, and a keen awareness of the surrounding environment. To execute lifts accurately and securely, operators must follow manufacturer guidelines, adhere to safety protocols, and consider load requirements. Regular training and awareness of the crane’s operational capabilities contribute significantly to the overall safety and efficiency of telescopic crane operations.

Crane Controls

Telescopic cranes have various control mechanisms to manage their movements. These controls can include both traditional pendant controls and modern wireless remote control systems. Summit provides a wireless remote control, a main control panel, and a cab control panel as part of the Advanced Safety Electronics system that is standard on all trucks with hydraulic service cranes. 

Pendant Control:

A handheld remote control is used by the operator to control the crane’s movements. It provides a direct and tactile interface to control the crane’s functions precisely.

Wireless Remote Control:

A remote control system that allows the operator to control the crane wirelessly. This provides flexibility and improved visibility during lifting operations.

Key Working Parameters

Horizontal Reach

The maximum distance the telescopic crane’s load can be placed from the center of rotation. This capability is crucial for accessing and maneuvering loads in diverse locations, making telescopic cranes well-suited for applications where lateral reach is essential.


A telescopic crane’s horizontal rotation ability is vital for accurate load positioning. The upper part of the crane, comprising the boom and load, can rotate horizontally, thanks to the presence of a slew ring. Rotation plays a crucial role in achieving precision during load placement.

Vertical Lift

Vertical lift is the ability of the telescopic crane to elevate and lower a load in a straight, vertical direction. Understanding the crane’s vertical lifting capacity is vital for positioning loads accurately and avoiding any potential obstructions or hazards.


The operator controls the winch, dictating the winding or unwinding of the cable to hoist or lower the load with precision. The winch’s ability to regulate the speed and direction of the cable’s movement is instrumental in ensuring controlled and safe lifting operations. Various telescopic crane applications rely on this feature as it is crucial in actively manipulating the position of the load.

Working Radius

The working radius is the distance from the center of rotation to the point where the crane will carry out its work. It defines the operational parameters and accessibility of the crane to load destinations. Operators should consider and adhere to the specified working radius to prevent overextension or positioning issues during lifting operations.

Working Range

The working range of a crane is defined by:

  • The extension of the boom to its minimum and maximum distances.
  • The elevation of the crane at its minimum and maximum extension.

These ranges directly influence operational parameters and the crane’s accessibility to load destinations. Considering a crane that meets or exceeds all these criteria within its normal operating specifications is strongly recommended.

Load Handling and Capacity

Effectively managing loads is crucial to operating a telescopic crane safely and efficiently. It requires a comprehensive understanding of various terms and factors related to load handling and capacity. Moreover, a clear understanding of these terms and how they interact is essential for crane operators to make informed decisions, prevent overloading, and safely and efficiently handle loads during lifting operations. Regular reference to load charts and strict adherence to load limits are essential to maintain a secure and controlled lifting environment.

Key Terms

Capacity Chart

The capacity chart for a telescopic crane provides crucial information about its rated lifting capacities under different load conditions and setups. Operators refer to this chart, usually located on the crane or in the manual, to determine the crane’s capabilities for specific lifting scenarios.


The space or distance from the crane to the point of the nearest obstruction. Understanding clearance is vital to prevent collisions, ensuring the crane has adequate room to maneuver safely.

Lifting Capacity

Lifting capacity refers to the maximum weight that a crane is designed to lift safely. Understanding the crane’s lifting capacity is essential for selecting the appropriate equipment and ensuring safe lifting operations.


Refers to the object or material being lifted and transported by the crane. Accurate assessment of the load’s weight and dimensions is essential for safe and efficient crane operation.

Load Block

The load block is a critical component of a crane assembly, consisting of pulleys and a hook. It plays a crucial role in the lifting process, ensuring the safe and efficient movement of materials. The pulleys guide the wire rope for controlled lifting. Understanding the load block’s functionality is essential for crane operators to execute lifts accurately and safely.

Load Chart

A document that provides detailed information about a crane’s lifting capacity. It contains data on the boom angle, boom lift, and load radius, assisting crane operators in safely calculating lift requirements.

Load Moment Indicator Data

Load Moment Indicator (LMI) data refers to the information provided by a Load Moment Indicator system, a safety device incorporated into cranes to monitor and display crucial data related to the load being lifted. The LMI system prevents overloading and enhances crane safety.

Application and Considerations

Maximum Lifting Capacity

The capacity of lift, in weight terms, of the crane. Also known as lifting capacity.

Maximum Load Capacity

Similar to lifting capacity, it indicates the maximum load, a crane, can handle under specified conditions. This specification emphasizes the highest capacity at which a crane can safely operate.

Weight Limit

The maximum allowable weight a crane can lift or carry. The total weight of the load, rigging, and any additional equipment being lifted includes the weight of each individual


Working Load Limit

The maximum load, a particular piece of lifting equipment, such as a hook or sling, is designed to handle safely. It is a critical consideration when selecting equipment for specific lifting tasks.

Safety Features for Telescopic Cranes

Telescopic crane safety is vital. As a result, modern cranes have advanced features to reduce risks and enhance security. Telescopic cranes come equipped with safety features that help prevent accidents, protect equipment, and ensure personnel safety. To operate telescopic cranes responsibly, it is crucial to undergo regular training, strictly adhere to safety protocols, and actively be aware of safety features.

Advanced Safety Electronics (ASE) and Critical Features

Advanced Safety Electronics (ASE):

ASE is an innovative safety control system integrated into Summit’s telescopic cranes. It harmonizes the functions of the crane, body, and chassis, providing real-time monitoring and control to enhance overall safety during lifting operations. 

Anti-Two Block

A critical safety feature that automatically disengages all crane functions when activated, preventing the two-block condition. This condition occurs when the load block contacts the boom head, which can severely damage the crane and compromise safety.

Overload Protection

A vital safety feature that safeguards the crane against damage when the load exceeds the maximum rated capacity. For this reason, the feature may include sensors, alarms, or automatic disengagement of crane functions to prevent overloading.


The stop function acts as a safety feature to limit the travel of various crane components. By halting specific movements or functions as needed, it enhances control and prevents unsafe conditions.

Crane Stability and Outrigger Deployment


The service truck can extend its outrigger legs from underneath the body to create security and stability while using the crane. To prevent tipping and ensure a secure working platform, it is imperative to properly deploy outriggers. Technicians can use Summit’s wireless remote to deploy outriggers at a safe distance. The system will also auto-level the service truck.


A fundamental safety consideration for telescopic cranes. The ability of a crane to maintain a balanced and secure position during lifting operations is crucial for preventing tilting, tipping, or any unsafe deviation from its intended position.

Stability Capacity Chart

Provides a graphic representation and information about the safe working limits of a telescopic crane concerning stability. This chart typically illustrates the relationship between the load being lifted, boom length, boom angle, and the crane’s tipping or overturning potential.

Technical Specifications and Terminology

Crane operation personnel must understand the technical specs and terminology of telescopic cranes. These specifications provide critical information about the crane’s capabilities, limitations, and overall performance. Therefore, being familiar with these technical specifications and terminology is crucial for effective communication, safe operation, and accurate planning of telescopic crane activities. Regular training and adherence to manufacturer guidelines are vital for responsible and efficient use of telescopic cranes.

Understanding Technical Specifications

Boom Angle

The angle above or below the horizontal longitudinal axis of the base boom section. It influences the crane’s reach and lifting capacity, affecting its ability to handle loads at different angles.

Boom Stop

A device that limits the angle of the crane’s boom, preventing it from exceeding the highest recommended position. This safety feature helps maintain operational stability to avoid unsafe conditions.

Boom Tip

The outermost end of the crane boom holds the lifting sheave. The attachment point lifts the load. Precise control of the boom tip is crucial for accurate load placement.

GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight)

The total weight of a vehicle, including all its components and the load it is carrying, is measured at a specific point in time. Monitoring GVW is essential to comply with road regulations and ensure the crane operates within safe weight limits.

Working Within Limits
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

The maximum allowable weight specified by the vehicle manufacturer that a fully loaded crane can safely carry without risking damage to the vehicle’s structure or compromising safety. Adhering to GVWR is crucial for preventing overloading.

Load Rating:

This general term encompasses the various weight specifications associated with a piece of lifting equipment.

Lift Angle

The angle of lift influences the available lifting capacity of the crane. When planning and executing lifts, it is essential to ensure the crane operates within its optimal performance range.

Line Speed

The rate at which a load can be raised or lowered. Understanding line speed is crucial for maintaining control during lifting and lowering operations, preventing sudden movements that could compromise safety.

Max Line Pull

The maximum extension of the wire rope and the feet-per-minute rate of lift. It establishes safe lift parameters, considering the stresses the lines undergo during operation.

Maximum Rated Capacity

A crane’s maximum safe capacity is critical for preventing overloading and maintaining its structural integrity.

Practical Application and Safety Measures

Maximum Load Capacity

Similar to lifting capacity, maximum load capacity indicates the maximum load a crane can handle under specified conditions. This specification is crucial for planning lifts and ensuring the crane’s safe operation.

Safe Working Load

The Safe Working Load (SWL) refers to the maximum amount of weight that a piece of lifting equipment, such as a hook or sling, can handle safely during normal operation. Safe load compliance is crucial for equipment and operation safety.

Working Load Limit

The working load limit is a crucial guideline for safe lifting operations. It is the maximum weight that a specific equipment is designed to support, managing the load and lengthening the equipment’s lifespan.

Load Handling Best Practices

Load-handling best practices are essential for safe and efficient lifting. These guidelines cover load placement, controlled lowering, and effective communication during lifting operations. Proper training and strict adherence to these guidelines can prevent accidents.

Operational Safety

Safe crane operation requires operators to know equipment capabilities, adhere to safety protocols, and understand load limits. Effective communication within the lifting team is also crucial. Prioritizing operational safety prevents accidents, protects personnel, and maintains equipment integrity.

The Last Word on Telescopic Crane Terminology

Telescopic cranes have become common in service trucks, especially in the construction, mining, and utility industries. These machines are essential for carrying out complicated tasks with accuracy. Operating them with caution and expertise is crucial to maintaining a perfect balance between safety and efficiency. Seeking professional guidance is not just recommended but necessary for anyone running a telescopic crane.

Navigating the Heights with In-Depth Knowledge

This glossary serves as a guide for understanding the intricate world of telescopic crane terminology. Experts have meticulously outlined rules for safe and efficient crane operations, and using accurate language is vital for preventing accidents and reducing the risk of injuries. By adhering to these rules, we can ensure operational correctness and benefit all stakeholders involved.

A Crucial Resource for Crane Professionals

For mechanics responsible for maintaining heavy machinery, particularly telescopic cranes, this glossary is an essential guide. It simplifies the complex jargon associated with these cranes and provides a reliable reference for a better understanding of their intricate systems. The glossary emphasizes safety, accuracy, and excellence in all aspects of crane operation, maintenance, and regulatory compliance. The knowledge contained within this document provides a solid foundation for responsible crane operation. By applying this information, we can create a safer environment that values safety, accuracy, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in the field of telescopic crane operations.   Continue gaining insights about cranes with the related post  A Guide to Selecting the Right Mobile Service Truck Crane.