Overhead cranes are commonly used in the refinement of steel and other metals such as copper and aluminium. At every step of the manufacturing process, until it leaves a factory as a finished product, metal is handled by an overhead crane. Raw materials are poured into a furnace by crane, hot metal is then rolled to specific thickness and tempered or annealed, and then stored by an overhead crane for cooling, the finished coils are lifted and loaded onto trucks and trains by overhead crane, and the fabricator or stamper uses an overhead crane to handle the steel in his factory. The automobile industry uses overhead cranes to handle raw materials. Smaller workstation cranes, such as jib cranes or gantry cranes, handle lighter loads in a work area, such as CNC mill or saw.

Almost all paper mills use bridge cranes for regular maintenance needing removal of heavy press rolls and other equipment. The bridge cranes are used in the initial construction of paper machines because they make it easier to install the heavy cast iron paper drying drums and other massive equipment, some weighing as much as 70 tons.

In many instances the cost of a bridge crane can be largely offset with savings from not renting mobile cranes in the construction of a facility that uses a lot of heavy process equipment.