Cranes are easily the most efficient type of equipment available for moving items up a vertical axis. There are stationary cranes that are either built on site (tower cranes) or installed into the framework of the building they will be functioning in (overhead cranes). There are also many types of mobile cranes that can be used to take care of jobs where flexibility is a requirement.
Unless you have a facility that will need a crane for a long-term repetitious task, as may be the case in industrial manufacturing, it is often cheaper to rent a crane to suit your specific task. Cranes can be rented through most heavy equipment suppliers.
The most common type of construction cranes are tower cranes. These are the giant structures you will see looming over many building sites. They are typically used to lift building materials such as steel girders or concrete slabs into position, as well as to lift larger equipment like welders and acetylene torches into place.
These cranes can reach up to 265 feet unsupported or can stretch to much greater heights if secured into the building it is producing. They can lift a maximum weight of 40,000 pounds if the load is situated at the base of the jib. The farther along the jib the load is, though, the less weight can safely be lifted.
Smaller mobile cranes are also very common around construction sites. They are typically used to handle small and light loads and can be very useful for accomplishing lifts inside buildings after the roof or higher stories have been constructed, limiting the tower crane's access.
Industrial cranes are usually considerably smaller than tower cranes. This is not to say that they handle smaller loads, which is often not the case, but that they do not always need to lift items as high as a tower crane does.
Overhead cranes are an excellent example of industrial cranes. They are most commonly used in the steel manufacturing industry to handle material throughout the fabrication process. An overhead crane is composed of two rails, which usually run along the walls of the facility. There is a beam that runs perpendicular to these two supports, and the crane itself is attached to a trolley on this beam. This means that the crane can reach anywhere inside a rectangle bounded by the support rails.
Another common form of industrial cranes is the jib crane. Jib cranes consist of a horizontal beam (the jib, or boom), which is fixed to a wall or a floor-mounted pillar. The crane is attached to the jib on a trolley, allowing it to traverse the length of the jib. The jib is often designed to be able to swing through an arc, which gives it some lateral movement.