Do you need a runway?

Visualize an overhead crane’s runway system as the train tracks for a big crane. It’s made up of strong beams, tall columns, and tracks where the crane’s wheels roll.

There are two ways to set up the beams. For some cranes, the beams are like bridges on top of strong columns. Others hang from the ceiling, using the roof’s structure to hold them up.

Types of runways

If you want to add a new crane to your building, you have to make sure the columns can handle the crane’s weight. There are two ways to do this. Tied back columns connect to your building, like a friendly hug, giving extra support. Free-standing columns are like strong pillars that don’t touch the building’s insides.

Tied back columns help the crane stay steady and balanced. Runway systems come in two main types: Top Running and Underhung.

So, in simple terms, the runway is like train tracks for cranes, and we’ve got different ways to set it up to make sure everything stays safe and strong. Contact us today for more information on runway systems!

Top-Running Runways

Free-standing Workstation


Stand-alone workstation bridge cranes are header-braced across both ends. The header and runway beams are connected to the top of the column with a rigid moment connection. This removes the need for knee-braces and other braces, which in turn keeps the workstation free of obstructions and allows for maximum use of the work area. Header-bracing also eliminates the need to brace the crane structure to the building structure, which affords maximum flexibility in runway location.

The bridge rides on the top of the structure, providing maximum hook height. The additional hoist hook height gained by the unique momentary connection and top running design ranges in many cases from 10-24 inches.

  • Available in one- thru five-ton capacities
  • Runway lengths of up to 50 feet
  • Spans of up to 39 feet
  • Easy installation, bolt-together construction
  • Support columns bolt directly to concrete slab
  • Modular design = easy relocation
  • Pre-engineered for quick delivery
  • Stainless steel food-grade and other stainless non-corrosive systems available
  • Complete CAD drawings supplied with each system
  • Runway systems designed to AISC specifications
  • Pre-engineered and approved by a licensed professional engineer
Free-standing Runway


A great choice for when maximum hook height is desired. Because this system doesn’t have a brace, it requires at least six inches of concrete to mount it to the floor. Because freestanding crane structures don’t require support headers, they allow the crane to ride on the very top of the structure, affording maximum hook height – frequently as much as 10-24 additional inches. Maximize production space by adding a second or third overhead bridge crane onto the runway.

  • Capacities typically range from one- to 25-ton
  • Spans available up to 100 ft and, in some cases, more
  • Unlimited runway lengths
  • Supports mount directly to a 6-inch concrete slab or reinforced concrete footers
  • Hand gear, push type, electric and pneumatic cranes available
  • Many configurations pre-engineered for quick delivery
  • Ships complete with runway electrification, hardware and assembly manual
  • Complete Auto CAD drawings included
  • Runway designs follow AISC specifications
  • All systems approved by a licensed professional engineer
  • Food-grade and other non-corrosive equipment available
Click here for Harriman Material Handling's downloadable PDF of our turbo crane brochure

Semi Freestanding Runway

Semi Free-Standing

When a new or existing building has enough reserve capacity to resist the longitudinal and lateral forces, Harriman can attach the columns and runways to these buildings, reducing the amount of steel required. Ideal for situations requiring minimum floor obstructions and maximum headroom (hook height). Engineering services are available through Harriman to help determine if your building has the required strength to support one of these budget-friendly runway systems.

A main feature of a semi-freestanding overhead traveling crane system is a top running single- or double-girder bridge crane designed with the bridge on the top of the runway. The crane runway is positioned on self-supporting columns. For greatest use and versatility, consider adding two or more bridge cranes onto the same runway.

  • Capacities vary from one to 50 tons
  • Available in unlimited lengths
  • Columns fasten directly in to a 6-inch concrete floor (or adequately sized foundation)
  • Push, motor driven, and hand geared bridge cranes available
  • Custom engineered to meet your building specifications
  • Ships complete with runway electrification, assembly manual, hardware and anchor bolts (if required)
  • Comprehensive approval drawings supplied in AutoCAD format
  • AISC-specified runway systems
  • Custom explosion-proof and food-grade systems are offered
  • Licensed engineers review all system designs
Header-braced Runway


Harriman top running header-braced overhead crane systems are self-supporting and ideal where minimal floor obstructions are essential and the lowest obstruction in the building is high enough for the system to be installed while still giving adequate headroom (hook height). No knee braces are required, increasing production space. The runway is supported by the freestanding support columns, each pair tied together by a header. Header-braced systems are ideal when the lowest obstruction in the building is high enough that it doesn’t limit hook height. To maximize use and flexibility of production space, consider installing multiple overhead cranes on the same runway.

  • Standard capacities from one- to 25-ton and, in some cases, heavier
  • Spans available up to 60 feet and beyond
  • Infinite runway lengths available
  • Columns bolt directly to a 6-inch concrete slab (or reinforced concrete foundations)
  • Electrical motor driven, hand geared, push type, and air-powered overhead cranes available
  • Pre-engineered designs allow for quick deliveries
  • Ships complete with hardware, assembly manual, runway electrification and anchor bolts (if required)
  • Detailed approval drawings submitted in AutoCAD
  • AISC specifications used throughout design process
  • Stainless steel systems available for use in food industry or other corrosive applications
  • Bolt-together construction allows for easy installation, relocation, and expansion
  • Professional engineers approve all system drawings
Knee-Braced Runway


Freestanding knee-braced industrial crane systems are great where maximum hook height is desired and additional floor obstructions created by the knee braces don’t pose an issue. Because the system is braced this way, no attachment back to the building or other structures is required. Because no support headers are required, an overhead bridge crane can ride along the very top of the structure, allowing for maximum hook height – in many cases an additional 10-24 inches. Consider adding a second or third overhead bridge crane onto a runway to maximize production space and increase productivity.

  • Capacities typically range from one- to 25-ton and higher
  • Spans available to 100 ft and, in some cases, longer
  • Unlimited runway length
  • Supports mount directly to a six-inch concrete slab (or reinforced concrete footers)
  • Hand gear, push type, electric and pneumatic cranes available
  • Many configurations pre-engineered for quick delivery
  • Ships complete with runway electrification, hardware, assembly manual and anchor bolts (when foundations aren’t required)
  • Complete AutoCAD drawings included
  • Runway designs follow AISC specifications
  • All systems are approved by a licensed professional engineer
  • Food-grade and other non-corrosive equipment available

Underhung Runways

Free-standing Underhung Runway


Underhung runway systems are designed to support the stand-alone workstation bridge crane from the lower flange of the runway girder. These girders are commonly constructed from I- or W-flanged beams. Heavy-duty patented track runways are available for high-usage applications. The patented track is fabricated with a hardened lower flange to resist wear. Underhung runways and monorail spurs can use the same track, the interconnectivity serving as a cost-effective means of transferring loads between building bays via transfer switches. By design, nothing obstructs the path of the runway, making easy system extension possible.

  • Bolt-together construction requires no certified welder
  • Normally range from ½- to 15-ton capacity
  • Standard spans up to 55 feet
  • Unlimited lengths available
  • Accommodates transfer switches
  • Columns bolt to as small as a 6-inch concrete slab (or reinforced concrete footer)
  • Motorized, hand chain, push type, and pneumatic-powered bridge cranes available
  • Standard systems are pre-engineered
  • Ships complete with assembly manual, runway electrification and hardware
  • Computer-aided design drawings supplied
  • Designed to AISC specifications
Ceiling-Mounted Underhung Runway


Our underhung ceiling-mounted runways attach directly to the ceiling or roof structure of a building. Ceiling-mounted workstation bridge cranes are bolted directly to the ceiling frame or trusses or else hung from suspension rods or tube brackets. Custom support brackets are available for sloped and pitched ceilings. The crane’s traveling bridge is suspended under the runway track system.

  • Maximizes floor space
  • No runway columns = unobstructed material flow
  • Multiple overhead cranes can be on the same runway to maximize use and flexibility
  • Uninterrupted load transfer from one building bay to the next
  • Transfer switches allow the hoist and trolley to move from crane to crane, or from a crane to a monorail spur
  • Capacities normally vary between ½- and 15-ton
  • Up to 55 foot spans standard
  • Unlimited available runway length
  • Ships complete with runway electrification, assembly manual and hardware
  • System drawings are supplied in AutoCAD format
  • Manufactured to AISC specifications
  • All runways reviewed by a professional engineer
  • Motorized and manual cranes available

Enclosed Track Runways

Free-standing Enclosed Track Runway

Free-Standing Workstations

A free-standing bridge crane is intended to be bolted to the floor and to support loads that will be moved vertically and horizontally. One worker can manipulate the load along a series of tracks, including curves and monorails, inside a closed system. This design works well in an area with limited headroom and/or a ceiling that is not strong enough to support a mounted bridge crane.

  • Enclosed track cranes are up to three times easier to move than traditional bridge cranes
  • The design protects the rolling surface from the build-up of dirt and dust, making the wheels easier to move
  • The smooth running surface means less resistance
  • The low profile of the steel track allow the system to be installed where headroom is a problem
  • The low track weigh reduces operator push-pull forces
  • Long spans allow the system to be installed where support assemblies are infrequent.
Enclosed Track Ceiling-Mounted Runway


Ceiling-mounted bridge cranes are great for applications with limited floorspace, facilities with large mobile equipment, and facility layouts that might change in the future. Ceiling-mounted systems also allow you to readily expand runway lengths and the number of bridges, and add links to monorail crane systems.

  • Capacities: 250 to 4,000 lbs.
  • Bridge Lengths, overall: up to 40’
  • Runway Spans: up to 40’
  • Height — Floor-to-Trolley Clevis: determined by ceiling structure