Crane Upgrades: Should You Modernize Or Replace?

Cranes are capital-intensive investments you can’t just buy when your inspections reveal an issue. Besides, they are built to last you for a long time. And even if you do have the money, a fault in your crane and hoist equipment doesn’t always mean it is time to get a new one.

Why buy a new and expensive crane when you could modernize the faulty or worn-out components for a fraction of the cost? So, does that mean you’ll never replace your crane setup? Will it always be safe for use?

Ultimately, you’ll replace your crane – albeit only in certain circumstances. What circumstances? When should you modernize or replace your crane and hoist equipment?

This article contains the answers you seek!

When Should You Modernize Your Crane?

First, you need to understand that repairs aren’t the same as modernization. Crane modernization, like the name, means you upgrade your crane setup to meet current industry requirements.

Also, crane modernization could mean that you added a few structural upgrades to your setup to match additional workloads. So, it is different from repairing a faulty hoist.

Furthermore, know that crane modernization can be on-site or off-site. The former is for small to mild upgrades. But for cases where a contractor will disassemble your setup for wholesome modifications, then off-site operations is the most likely step.

That said, when is the right time to modernize your crane?

Inspection Revealed A Fault

If your crane setup works fine, you neither need a replacement nor modernization. But if your inspections suggest otherwise, seek a crane modernization expert first. Why?

Crane and hoist equipment can be tricky; you might think the setup is faulty while it is not. So, to be truly sure, an inspection can guide you.

Related reading: 6 Inspection Types That You Should Ensure For Your Crane

Your Crane Setup Experience Excessive Wears

The chances are that your inspection suggests repairs for your crane components. However, if the problem exists after the repairs, it might be time for modernization. It might be that the “component” has completely worn out or can’t keep up with your production requirements.

In any case, crane modernization can help you correct excessive wear. And if the reason to start is the age of the machine, know that it’s completely normal. How so?

As a standard practice, any crane setup that has been in service for at least 30years needs modernization. Ordinarily, the equipment would have gone through a series of wears over those 30years. Wears aside, that timeframe is a long time. There would already be new technological developments that you and your employees would need.

Pro tip: while you might be tempted to replace your crane setup after 30years, know that older cranes are often better than the newer ones structurally and functionally. They only need upgrades to jump up to speed.

You Increased Your Production

Crane modernization doesn’t automatically translate to a faulty setup. In some cases, your crane and hoist equipment will be in perfect condition but can’t handle your new production requirements. In such cases, you don’t need to go all out and get a piece of new equipment.

Instead, you can upgrade your crane and its components to meet the new lifting and production requirements. However, and like we stated earlier, such significant upgrades mean the modernization expert might have to dissemble your crane setup and take the whole thing off-site.

In essence, you might want to make an arrangement with the contractor for a makeshift crane until yours is ready. That way, your production won’t suffer.

When Should You Replace Your Crane?

Safety Concerns

As much as we will advise you to save cost, don’t do so at the expense of safety. Once your crane and hoist equipment is the reason for several injuries, it is high time you replaced it.

And don’t just stop at replacement, do a post-evaluation. That way, you can prevent future occurrences of injuries around your crane area.

Expired Warranties

If you check your crane setup, you will see that each component comes with a warranty. And often, the warranties are somewhat the lifespan of the components.

So, if your crane component starts developing a fault after the warranty expires, it is time to get a replacement. But you might still want to check with a crane service professional first.

A Major Decline In Performance

If you experience only a dip in performance level, repairs might suffice. However, when you start recording absurd, all-time-low productivity levels, modernization can’t help. In that case, only a replacement will fix the error.


Crane modernization is undoubtedly a cost-effective approach to managing your crane setup. And often, it is the only adjustment you need. However, once safety conditions and productivity decline, you need to replace the components.