Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SearchResearch Challenge (1212/18): What are those wheels doing?

My father used to work for a crane and shipping company... 

... and so I thought I knew a thing or two about cranes.  I grew up around them, and as a young man, I worked for several summers as an "yard hand" (that is, the guy who helped string the wire ropes around things that the crane operator would pick up--so I worked with a lot of cranes.)  

But I was surprised when I went past a nearby construction site and saw number of cranes (or things that look like cranes)--with wheels on the top!  

The obvious question is "What are these things?"   Here's the original picture, and a closeup of what look like big bicycle wheels at the top of several of the vertical posts.  

 This is my original photo, taken on a run past a large Google construction site.

Closeup of the wheeled things.

(I'll try to get a better picture tomorrow, but this will have to do at the moment.)  

The "wheeled poles" seem to have cables running down the sides but that's all I can see.  They're mysterious, and therefore perfect for the SRS Crew.  

Can you do it? 

1.  What are these mysterious wheeled poles called?  Why are there wheels on top?  What do they do?  

That's it for this week.  

Just so you know, I don't have any idea what they are either.  All I know is that they're about 20 meters high; each of the wheels seems to be about 3 meters in diameter (but I'm guessing).  Beyond that, I can't see any identifying marks or logos.  

Tell us what you find... and HOW you figured it out!  

Search on! 


  1. Replies
    1. Excellent finds, Remmij. (I hadn't see the long video before--so that was illuminating.)

  2. They appear to be pile drivers from a first impression, but I've never seen them like this before... time to search

  3. The wheels remind me of the winding gears used in coal mine derricks for vertical lifting, so my first thought was for why you would vertically lift on a building site? Hence my first thought of pile driver. Searched images [large pile driver] ["pile driver" wheel]. Found nothing similar looking. I checked the photo for exif data- no help. I then noticed it the first picture, that the roof looked a bit like a large flexible structure- like in a searched [stadium roof hoist] and [stadium roof installations] - discovered they use something called a strand jack. I searched this term and found they look nothing like this. I remembered that engineers often call temporary devices a jig so searched [stadium roof lifting jig]. I couldn't find anything resembling these picture- but did find a link to a Dutch company specialising in heavy lifting. I searched [vertical lift] but couldn't find anything resembling this structure. However, from the images I did find, I don't think it could lift a large mass without toppling given the width of the base. Hence I'm back to my original thought of a pile driver or maybe drilling rig. Search on...

  4. 1. What are these mysterious wheeled poles called? Why are there wheels on top? What do they do?

    Started looking for image with Bing, to try their close-up search. Some results but image too small to get better results. Also tried searching on Google but not results yet.

    This Challenge is harder to me because words are not something I use. Therefore, is like speaking another language

    Then tried [wheels on top of cranes] and [ crane diagrams]

    Types of crane
    On static cranes found: “They are fitted with a luffing jib which can be raised through 90-degrees from horizontal, with a trolley and hoist block that can move along the length of the jib.”
    Some cranes parts

    With [cranes with wheeled poles on top]

    The sky is the limit: human powered cranes and lifting devices Still need to read. Looks interesting but doesn’t give the answer

    With [crane luffing jib] on Images:

    dolly wheels?

    May 25, 2018. Hawaii's First Crawler Crane with Luffing Jib Debuts at Rental Car Facility Construction Project