Typical attachments and lifting devices used with Spider Cranes

Spider cranes are versatile and compact lifting machines, known for their ability to access confined spaces and work in challenging terrains. These impressive machines are made even more versatile by the wide array of attachments and lifting devices they can accommodate. In this discussion, we’ll explore the typical attachments and lifting devices used with spider cranes, highlighting their essential roles and applications.

Jib Attachment

The jib attachment is an extension arm that provides additional reach and flexibility for spider cranes. It’s particularly useful for lifting loads over obstacles or reaching into complex structures, enhancing the crane’s maneuverability and versatility on the job site. The two main jib attachments are known as “flyjibs” and “Searcher hooks.” Here are some classic examples in use.

Use of flyjip to ensure a glass panel can be installed under an overhang.​
Flyjib used to reach the center of a circular structure that was installed ​

Vacuum Lifting Device

For delicate, flat or curved materials like glass panels, a vacuum lifting device is an invaluable attachment. It utilizes suction cups to securely grip and lift these materials without causing damage or leaving marks. These attachments are widely used in the installation of glass facades, larger than normal windows for villas, hotels or general buildings. These attachments can also be used in the installation of GRC Panels or sandwich panels.
Lifters for Long glass that need to rotate During installation
Curved glass installations
Great example showing the use of a mini spider crane with a curved glass lifters for specialized installations

Spreader Bar

A spreader bar is used to distribute the load evenly when lifting large or bulky items. It attaches to the crane hook and provides multiple attachment points for slings or cables, ensuring a stable and balanced lift, especially when dealing with awkwardly shaped loads.

Man Basket

When it comes to tasks that require personnel to be lifted to elevated locations, a man basket attachment is used. This secure platform provides a safe and stable area for workers to carry out tasks at height, enhancing efficiency and safety on the job site.

Manipulating Heads

Manipulating heads are attachments fixed to the tip of the Unic Spider Crane’s boom, delivering the ultimate combination of reach and precision. These heads are engineered to provide the utmost precision while extending the crane’s reach, making them invaluable tools in various applications. The manipulating head is designed as an excellent device for lifting and manipulating large-format glass and comes in various sizes and lifting capacities. When attached to the Unic mini spider crane, these provide customers with the added advantage of the crane’s extended boom reach, making it perfect for glazing at height. The highly flexible manipulating head is designed to attach directly to the UNIC crane’s boom and is independently powered with electric actuators that allow precise movement of glass loads. This attachment comes with 360° continuous rotation, the ability to slew left and right, tilt up and down, and can be operated via its radio remote control.

The use of a manipulating head to install glass over-head
Installing glass at a height in excess of 30m using the UNIC 1006 crane, with the manipulating head attached to the cranes flyjib.

Overhang Beams

Overhang beams have revolutionized the lifting solutions industry. This is a beam with varying capacities from a few hundred kilograms to large units capable of lifting many Tons in weight. They are often used in the installation of glass and other items, where a crane cannot reach due to the overhang of a building. They are also bringing a brand-new dimension to building towers, in that the tower no longer needs loading bays installed. This speeds up the work, as overhang beams can be used to off load items between floors and wherever required.

A small 500kg capacity overhang beam installing glass with a “below hook” vacuum lifter


The flexibility and adaptability of spider cranes are significantly enhanced by the wide range of attachments and lifting devices available. These attachments empower spider cranes to handle diverse lifting tasks across various industries, making them an indispensable tool for modern construction and material handling operations. Understanding the utility of these attachments is essential for optimizing the performance and efficiency of spider cranes in complex projects.

Spider Plus Construction Equipment Rentals LLC is the sole representative and distributor of UNIC Europe. Our team is composed of highly skilled lifting solution providers, and we are more than just another rental outfit. Please send us an email at enquiries@spiderplus.ae for any lifting solutions you may need or other situations where one or more of the full range of UNIC cranes may be required.

We look forward to hearing from you.