What is the big deal about Spider Cranes?

Spider cranes have taken the region by storm. Why is that? What is it about a spider crane that makes it so popular that rental companies are striving to get their hands on them? What has led contractors in the Middle East to include them in their planning schedules, and why do architects consider their diversified applications during building designs? Who is benefitting from them and why? These are some of the questions permeating throughout the region.

Let’s analyze these and see how we can answer these and other pertinent questions.

Spider cranes have become known as tough workhorses. Some units, like UNIC’s URW245, can lift more weight than the crane’s own total laden weight. This little monster only weighs 1500kgs but can lift a whopping 2400kgs. There are other examples as well; for instance, the URW295 has an unladen weight of 1850kgs but can lift 2900kgs. Spider Cranes are designed to fit in and execute lifting operations that would otherwise not have been possible, or alternatively, dangerous methods would have been employed to execute them.

URW295 Crane in action inside a building.

Spider cranes are extensively used in building projects that require upgrades. A good example of this is during the recent upgrades of The Dubai Mall, wherein the contractor had to convert 17,000m² of parking lot into a usable mall area. Part of the job entailed lifting beams into positions that weighed in excess of 1 ton each. There was no opportunity to use mobile cranes, and winches had become slow since they needed to be installed and moved every so often, depending on where the lift should occur.

Unic’s URW706 was extensively used for this mall upgrade, as the beams were placed at heights varying between 15 and 19 meters. The contractor acknowledged this spider crane as “the best piece of lifting equipment he has ever used in executing a job.” For more pictures and details on this exciting job, please read the article published in the magazine called “ME Construction News”. –

Dubai mall extensions using the URW706 Spider Crane

UNIC Mini Spider Crane Range

What does the range of cranes comprise of? UNIC’s extensive range covers crane capacities from 1T up to 10T lifting capacity. Some cranes are small enough to enter through a normal single door, making access very easy. Outriggers can be placed at multiple positions (max, mid, and min-extension), allowing the cranes to work in almost all locations.

These cranes are most often used inside buildings, between floors, to install glass or façade panels on the outside of the building. The cranes can work below their own position from 60m below up to 128m below, depending on the size of crane used.

This is the reason many façade companies use Spider cranes in between tower floors, lifting unitized panels and/or plain glass panels from a point below and installing them. Many people have heard about the construction of the Tower known as Dubai Uptown Tower in Jumeirah Lake Towers. Here, 2 x URW376 cranes were used to install all unitized façade panels on this impressive building.

Dubai Uptown Tower with semi- Completed unitized Façade panels
URW376 Crane positioned in between floors for the installation

What can be done if I need to use a spider crane at a level or position where the crane cannot crawl to the desired location?

This has proven to be one of the more exciting challenges we have encountered. Firstly, there is the option of using other cranes, such as mobile or even tower cranes, to lift and position the spider crane into place. At times, when access has been particularly difficult, we have utilized larger spider cranes to lift smaller spider cranes into position. You can witness some of these wonderful solutions in action.
URW 547 lifting a URW095 indoors
URW376 being lifted by mobile Crane
URW547 being lifted by Tower Crane
One of the most exciting jobs we have been involved in was when the larger URW706 was required to work in a location where the crane couldn’t access at all. We came up with an ingenious idea to dismantle the URW706, lifting all the dismantled components, piece by piece, using another URW706. Once all the items were in place, we reassembled the crane, thoroughly tested and certified it, and successfully completed the required installation.
URW706 crane fully dismantled

URW 706 individual components being lifted by another URW706 to where it is required to operate.

After reassembly, testing and certificating, the unit was ready to lift. See the short time lapse video below and enjoy

Project Awareness

Some of the most prestigious projects throughout Dubai have benefited from the unique abilities of spider cranes. These projects include EXPO2020, Royal Atlantis, Dubai Opera House, Museum of the Future, and Dubai Uptown Tower, to mention but a few.

In conclusion, it is clear what all the “buzz” is about and why spider cranes should be in your planning schedule for any of your 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.