Articulating Boom Crane Training

Early in 2020, Nationwide Crane Training began offering articulating boom crane training (ABC), a.k.a. knuckle boom, in order to meet the demand for education and certification in this growing field. With thousands of individuals vying for an ever-increasing number of jobs as articulating crane operators in The United States, having nationally accredited training and certification is really the only way to stay competitive in this vibrant job market.

NCT uses course materials, in-person instruction, and practice test materials developed and approved by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). This industry-leading education is helping to grow the next generation of knuckle boom crane operators and giving existing operators more opportunities to earn more income and job security through increasing the skill set they offer to their current or potential employers.

If you’re not familiar with articulating boom cranes, you may have questions surrounding the specifications and purpose of them, as well as the necessary licensing and certification for operating articulating boom cranes. Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions about knuckle boom cranes and helpful answers that will put you on the right track.

What is an Articulating Boom Crane?

Articulating boom cranes, also known as knuckle boom cranes or articulated cranes, are designed with at least one point of articulation (a hinge or joint) in the boom assembly. This allows the boom to “fold” back on itself for transport and manipulation of the load. Articulating boom cranes use hydraulic pistons to provide the necessary lift which also allows for faster and smoother operation.

What is the Difference Between a Knuckle Boom Truck and a Crane?

Practically, these are two synonymous names for the same piece of equipment. Technically speaking, however, the knuckle boom crane is actually the articulated load lifter that is fitted to a trailer or truck. The combination of the two pieces of equipment—truck and crane—creates a knuckle boom truck.

What is the Difference Between an Articulating Boom and a Telescopic Boom?

Instead of a hinged boom, telescoping boom cranes feature a boom that utilizes multiple segments that retract into the preceding segment to alter the length of the boom and the total reach of the crane. 

While articulating boom cranes and telescopic boom cranes serve similar purposes, the main differences between the two types of load-lifting equipment are:

  1. The manner in which the reach of the boom is extended (“folding” rather than “telescoping”)
  2. The manner in which the boom can be manipulated (moving the load in a perpendicular direction compared to the base unit, for example)

Is an Articulating Boom Loader (ABL) the Same as a Knuckle Boom Crane?

While these two pieces of equipment share certain similarities—namely, the articulation style of the lifting boom—they are different in many ways. The main difference is the manner in which the equipment is used. Articulating boom loaders (ABL) are typically used in delivery-type applications whereas articulating boom cranes (ABC) fulfill more varied needs—including lifting equipment and materials at job sites.

If you or any of your operators need ABC or ABL certification, NCT provides the same top-tier training for these specialized pieces of heavy machinery as we do various styles of cranes. The boom loader courses are very similar in style and delivery to the crane training classes.

Do You Need a Special License to Use a Knuckle Boom Truck?

Licensing and certification requirements for articulating boom cranes and knuckle boom trucks can vary and depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • The capacity of the load-lifting device
  • The maximum height of the load-lifting device
  • The type of work for which the device is being used (construction versus delivery)
  • The location (state or municipality) in which the load-lifting machinery is being used

For example, you may need certification if the boom can hoist more than 5 tons. Additionally, you may need nationally accredited certification if you’re using an articulating boom crane in the construction industry but not if you’re using the device in a delivery or service-oriented field, such as telecommunication.

The flow chart below can help you more easily answer that question. Simply answer the prompts and follow the arrows.

When in doubt, always consult with local authorities in order to determine which types of licensing and certification you need based on the type of equipment you’re using and what you will be using that equipment for.

Do You Need to Be Certified to Operate an Articulating Boom Crane?

The answer to that question depends on the type of articulating boom crane you’re using (usually based on capacity and height) as well as how that equipment is being used. 

For example, you won’t likely need certification if you’re using an articulating boom crane in a delivery capacity, such as dropping off raw materials at a construction site. However, you will need certification if that delivery is determined to be an active part of the construction process (e.g., lifting an air conditioning unit into position atop a structure or delivering raw materials to an upper story of a multi-story structure).

How Do I Get NCCCO-Certified to Operate an Articulating Boom Crane?

Nationwide Crane Training offers articulating boom crane training to prepare you for NCCCO certification. Currently, we offer these services as part of our private classes—closed-enrollment classes held anywhere in the country at a location determined by the sponsor of the course, usually an employer. 

To learn more about NCT’s articulating boom crane operator training and certification or to request a class in your area, reach out today. Call (877) 628-2762 or contact us.

articulating boom crane certification requirement