Knuckleboom trucks, and any other equipment that involves raising weight above the height of the truck, require special safety equipment to prevent the truck from tipping over due to loss of balance. Outriggers are an essential safety feature that these trucks should have before the boom is raised. This is to protect equipment, as well as those who operate it. Most standard production commercial equipment is produced with outriggers; however, older models, or trucks that have been converted may not have them installed. When looking for used knuckleboom trucks for sale, always make sure outriggers are included, and if not - have them put on immediately.

The Purpose of Outriggers

Outriggers are the extendable “feet” that most knuckleboom trucks and other commercial equipment have installed to keep the vehicle balanced, and prevent it from tipping, or flipping over. By extending the outriggers, the truck has the additional support it needs to prevent any weight from the crane to cause it to lean - eventually losing balance.

Knuckleboom Trucks and Center of Gravity

The reason why both new and used knuckleboom trucks for sale are at risk for tipping over is because they have a high center of gravity. The center of gravity is the point at which an object’s weight causes a change in its gravity. The higher the center of gravity, the greater the chance it will tip over - versus objects with a lower center of gravity. When the boom on a crane truck is raised, the weight of the boom and whatever it is lifting, drastically raises the center of gravity of the truck, making it much more unstable. As this weight is maneuvered - such as when loads are lifted and positioned - it affects center of gravity even more, especially diagonally. When the force of weight above the center of gravity becomes heavy enough, the weight below the center of gravity is not sufficient enough to keep the higher weight from pulling it over.

How Outriggers Prevent Tipovers

Despite an unbalanced center of gravity, outriggers that are properly positioned will keep equipment, such as knuckleboom trucks, from flipping by technically reducing the center of gravity. When this external support is positioned in the direction of any leaning weight - and the direction the vehicle is likely to tip over - it prevents a shift in weight from occurring.  

Outrigger Technology

Previously, outriggers consisted of extendable legs and feet that had to be manually pulled from under the vehicle and set in place. This provided some support, but in a very non-exact manner. Some older, used knuckleboom trucks may still have manual outriggers, but technology on newer units has greatly advanced - increasing safety along with it. Today, most commercial vehicles equipped with outriggers are electronic, which are controlled and set remotely. They can also balance themselves on various types of surfaces - including those which are uneven. This was a main problem with the manual versions. Now, operators can activate their own outriggers. The devices themselves (based on the weight of the truck, and lifting and surface conditions) will then position and set automatically to provide needed support.

Outriggers are an essential part of safety equipment that all knuckleboom trucks should include before they are operated. Whether outriggers are manual or electronic, all operators should be carefully trained in how to properly use them to prevent serious accidents caused by an unbalanced truck. When in the market for used knuckleboom trucks for sale, make sure the units have outriggers installed. If not, ensure this is done before putting any of these mighty machines to work!

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