HDS stands for Hydraulic Truck Crane, or to put it plainly, it is the vehicle on which the crane is placed. HDS cranes are lifting devices for lifting, moving or unloading goods. They are used in many industrial sectors. They are most often used for construction and renovation works. The HDS crane is a loading device equipped with a mechanical drive. It is mounted on vehicles or semi-trailers. These devices are subject to the Office of Technical Inspection.


Types of HDS Cranes

Cranes are divided by construction and their use in various industries. We distinguish between:

  • general-purpose cranes - fitted with a structure mounted on a vehicle chassis, the jib works both horizontally and vertically,
  • timber loading cranes - fitted with grabs to enable the lifting of timber,
  • Vehicle-mounted loader cranes behind the driver's cab,
  • vehicle-mounted rear-wheel loader cranes,
  • centre-mounted loader cranes.


Construction and design

Every HDS device, regardless of type, has common elements that form the basis. These are:

  • the base - otherwise known as the platform on which the crane sits,
  • set of supports - located on each side, they are responsible for balancing the increased weight of the crane,
  • boom - the most important part of the device, to which the load is attached,
  • Column - its function is to connect the platform to the boom and it has a vertical form.

The variable elements are:

  • hydraulic system - it makes the work of the machine easier and more precise; its task is to facilitate and speed up work with the load,
  • Hook - used to move large and heavy loads,
  • gripper - is attached instead of a hook. It is useful when the load to be handled is irregular in shape.


Elements responsible for lifting loads

This type of load handling devices uses various types of ropes, slings and hooks. They allow you to load goods, move the cargo from point A to point B and unload.

Ropes - cranes equipped with winches for securing loads use ropes. It is important that they are certified (manufacturer's recommendation). The rope must not sway, it must be straight and undamaged.

It will hang - belong to the ancillary equipment used during cargo securing. It can be steel or fiber rope, as well as chains and straps. Among the slings, there are single-leg, two-leg, three-leg, four-leg and closed-loop slings.

Hooks - are elements of the construction of the HDS crane. They are used to directly hang loads on them.


Maintenance and technical inspection of HDS cranes

Maintenance should be performed by a person with additional qualifications (UDT conservator). The operator can assess the general technical condition, but it is the maintenance technician's task to analyze and eliminate faults in detail. It is the duty of the conservator to check the technical condition of the drive mechanisms, load-bearing tendons as well as their fastenings and braking systems. It is also necessary to check the operation of control, signaling and lighting devices, as well as safety elements and movement limiters. The load-bearing structure and the fire protection system should be additionally checked once a year. Maintenance inspections should be performed every 90, 60 or 30 days depending on the type of crane. It is best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Technical examinations are also important during the operation of HDS cranes

Periodic surveys

They are carried out by an inspector from the Office of Technical Inspection, who checks the operator's and the equipment's maintenance licence. He verifies the electrical measurement protocols, the inspection book and the maintenance log. These examinations are aimed at checking if the safety and protective mechanisms function correctly and if the vehicle marking is legible and correctly placed. They take place periodically at the times indicated for each type of crane. These dates must be strictly adhered to.

In-service testing

The equipment should be subjected to in-service testing immediately after retrofitting, repair, replacement of components or reassembly of HDS lifts. The purpose of the performance test is to verify that the activities carried out have not contributed to a negative impact on the operation of the equipment.

Incidental research

It is carried out if, during maintenance testing, it is found that actions carried out previously have contributed to the malfunctioning of the crane. The purpose of the test is to identify the cause, determine the defect and have it repaired.


HDS crane operator's license (UDT)

In order to operate cranes, you need a licence from the Office of Technical Inspection. It is not as difficult as it may seem. Before taking the exam, you need to pass a specialist course. The training consists of both practical and theoretical parts. The instructors' task is to prepare trainees for the exam and, more importantly, to work as a HDS operator. The exam - just like the course - includes both theory and practice. Therefore, the knowledge of how to use the equipment is not enough to pass the exam. In order to prepare for the exam, theoretical aspects such as the principles of construction or maintenance must also be known. Qualification UDT for HDS cranes are unlimited and allow the operation of all types of this equipment.


Responsibilities as HDS Crane Operator

Before starting work, the operator must become familiar with the model on which he will work, because, as we already know, everyone can have other, additional functions. It is important to pay attention to the last maintenance records to ensure that the unit is in working order. If the operator notices any defects, he should immediately report it to his supervisor. During operation, carefully check the area in which the machine will move. The operator must be sure that the load being transported is securely fastened and does not pose a threat. It is also his duty to constantly observe the cargo.


What must not be done when working with a HDS crane?

The Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Code of Good Practice identify prohibited activities when operating a HDS equipment. The most obvious prohibitions include working on a faulty device and working without a licence from the Office of Technical Inspection. It is also forbidden to lift loads without knowing their weight and dimensions - this may result in overloading of the crane. It is forbidden to lift loads over the operator's cabin, workstations or people. It is important not to work on unstable terrain or near unconnected and ungrounded power lines. These are just a few of the many prohibitions that are discussed in detail during course for an HDS crane operator.