With the growing demands of the construction and logistics industries, the need for versatile, efficient engineering solutions is palpable. Among the many innovations that have emerged in this landscape, Hiab machinery has proven to be one of the most ubiquitous and essential. From Hiab hire to outright purchases, these machines have become almost commonplace of the last few years.

But what is Hiab, exactly, and why is it so vital in the operation of cranes and other lifting technologies?

What is a Hiab?

At its core, a Hiab (derived from the brand name “Hydrauliska Industri AB”) is a type of truck-mounted crane that is used to lift, move and load heavy items. Beyond its crane capabilities, Hiab can include various features that expands its utility in numerous sectors, such as:

  • Manipulators
  • Forklifts
  • Demountable systems

Originating in Sweden in the late 1940s, Hiab has steadily evolved, incorporating advanced technology and ergonomic design to meet the evolving needs of modern industries. Its marriage of robust design with precise control systems has made Hiab machinery an indomitable force in the world of cranes and heavy lifting.

Components of a Hiab

To understand the true essence of Hiab machinery, it’s crucial to dissect the core components that make these devices work seamlessly.


The central aspect of any Hiab is its crane, typically mounted onto a truck or trailer. It’s the crane’s structure and design that determines the weight capacity and reach of the Hiab, with newer models integrating telescopic booms for better reach and manoeuvrability.

Hydraulic System

Powering the movements of the Hiab crane is its hydraulic system. This is the beating heart of the machinery, converting the force exerted by the hydraulic fluid into the mechanical energy necessary to raise and lower loads.


Operating a Hiab is a graceful dance of precision, orchestrated through a sophisticated system of controls. These controls can range from simple levers and joysticks to advanced electronic interfaces, empowering operators with the ability to perform complex actions with relative simplicity.


How the Hiab is affixed to its platform is a critical consideration. Mounting systems can have a significant impact on the stability and safety of the machinery. Common types include:

  • Fixed mountings
  • Slide-and-tile mountings
  • Demountable systems

Types of Hiab

Not all Hiabs are created equal, and the specific design and function of each type are tailored to distinct applications.

Truck-Mounted Hiab

Mounted directly onto a truck chassis, these Hiabs offer mobility and independence. They can travel to the site of operation, eliminating the need for transporting the load separately.

Trailer-Mounted Hiab

For more flexibility and versatility, trailer-mounted Hiabs provide similar lifting power but can be hauled by different vehicles. This adaptability makes them suitable for a broader range of tasks.

Container Handling Hiab

A specialised Hiab designed for the specific task of handling containers, these models are equipped with a spreader that can lock into the corner castings of ISO shipping containers, therefore enabling swift and secure handling.

Hiab Capacities and Specifications

Understanding the capabilities of a Hiab is critical to its safe and effective operation.

Weight Capacity

Hiab machinery is rated for the maximum weight it can lift or move safely, a specification that varies from model-to-model. It is imperative that any task adheres strictly to these weight limitations in order to prevent risking structural damage and, most importantly, to eliminate safety hazards.


The reach, or max extension of the Hiab crane, is another crucial factor. Depending on the model, this can extend well beyond the length of the vehicle, therefore allowing for strategic placement of loads even within tight construction sites.


To ensure stability, particularly when lifting heavy loads or extending the crane to its maximum, outriggers are deployed. These are support legs that extend from the vehicle in order to distribute the weight and counteract the dynamic forces of the lift.

Applications of Hiab

The versatility of Hiab machinery is matched only by the diverse array of industries that benefit from its capabilities.

Construction Industry

Hiab are indispensable on construction sites, therefore helping to lift and transport everything from building materials to equipment. Their ability to work in confined spaces makes them ideal for urban development projects.

Transportation and Logistics

In the transportation sector, Hiab machinery shines in loading and unloading cargo from trucks and containers. Its precision and payload make it a preferred choice for these high-traffic areas.

Utilities and Telecommunications

The maintenance and installation of utility poles and telecommunication equipment often require lifting heavy objects to great heights. Hiabs offer the perfect blend of strength and accuracy for such tasks.

Emergency Services

In the event of an accident, or when rapid response is necessary, Hiab machinery aids in clearing debris and lifting heavy objects to facilitate rescues and recovery.

Safety Considerations

The power of a Hiab machine must be wielded with adequate responsibility, meaning that you need to ensure your operators are trained to a high standard before getting in the driver’s seat. This is to allow for the safe manoeuvring of the machine, no matter where it might be on premises. From smooth and slippery surfaces to rough and loose terrain, the right training is paramount when operating a Hiab machine.

Operator Training

Operating a Hiab requires specialised training and certification. It’s not just about manipulating the controls; operators must also understand the following when it comes to Hiab use:

  • Load charts
  • Proper rigging techniques
  • Specific safety protocols


Regular maintenance checks are vital for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of Hiab machinery. Any wear and tear, no matter how minor, can have significant consequences during a lift.

Safety Features

Modern Hiab models are equipped with numerous safety features, including:

  • Overload protection
  • Emergency cut-off switches
  • Load indicators

Understanding and utilising these features can make all the difference in preventing accidents.

Advantages of Hiab

The adoption of Hiab machinery offers a plethora of benefits for any enterprise.


Hiab machinery streamlines lifting and moving tasks, therefore reducing the time and manpower required for these operations. With their advanced technology, they also improve the precision and speed of complex lifts.


The adaptability of Hiabs allows for a single machine to fulfil a variety of tasks, therefore reducing the need for multiple pieces of equipment and saving on both space and investment.


While the initial investment in a Hiab may seem substantial, the operational savings over time, paired with its longevity and durability, make it a cost-effective solution for long-term use. A Hiab is not merely a piece of machinery; it’s a culmination of engineering, utility and efficiency. Whether it’s lifting steel girders on a construction site or delicately placing sculptures in an art installation, the role of Hiab machinery in our daily lives is both profound and varied.

Of course, there are many companies out there, including us here at Emcon, who offer Hiab hire. If it’s something you need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ua and find out how we can help.