F.A. Wilhelm Construction – a general contractor and construction manager headquartered in Indianapolis, IN – specializes in multi-story high-rise building construction. The company often self-performs concrete, masonry and steel construction, in addition to many other specialty trades.
On its Terex Peiner SK 315 tower crane, F.A. Wilhelm Construction uses a HoistCam HC190 camera to help the operator better see lift signaling on the jobsite.
“Self-performing is another way to demonstrate accountability and achieve the best value for our clients,” according to the company’s website. Hand-in-hand with that is F.A. Wilhelm’s cornerstone value on safety. As a charter member of the Coalition for Construction Safety, the company participates in safety initiatives related to employee training, project safety planning, subcontractor safety and more.
Recently, on a multi-story construction project in downtown Indianapolis, Wilhelm’s tower crane operator had a problem with visibility. The operator was lifting structural components and building materials on the site using a Terex Peiner SK 315 hammerhead tower crane.
Operating at a height of approximately 240 feet, blind spots were an issue. More importantly, the risk of human error involved in multiple people signaling a lift from the ground to the tower crane operator presented the critical need for a solution that would assist the entire crew.
Hook camera solution
A HoistCam HC190 camera was purchased and installed on the tower crane hook.
“Operator visibility will be limited, if not nil, with respect to the loads they’ll be working with,” said Randy Miller, equipment manager. “Prior to choosing the HoistCam HC190 camera, we had utilized multiple signal people on the ground, which introduces the ability for human error.”
Miller chose the HC190 model with a dual 150-foot antenna cable kit. The antennas are mounted at the jib tip and at the cab. This feature is important on tower cranes in order to provide a strong camera signal in an environment where jib lengths are very long.
The HC190 features Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ), allowing the operator to adjust the view from the cab using a joystick. It also features day/night vision for improved clarity in changing light conditions.
In researching wireless camera technology options, Miller carefully studied the documentation provided by Netarus representatives. He wanted a keen understanding of exactly how the application would function from the operator’s perspective in the tower-crane cab. He said he appreciated the instructions and flexibility illustrated in the detailed system diagrams, which helped in his product decision-making.
Complements ground crew
The HoistCam camera does not replace a signal person, but instead complements the work of the ground crew, and allows the operator first-person visibility of the entire jobsite as well as the load being lifted in the blind. The features and benefits of the Netarus solution that were most attractive to Miller were the Bluetooth technology, battery life and the definition and clarity of the camera lens.
Increased visibility fills in the gray area that hand signals leave to interpretation and gives the operator more confidence when making lifts in blind spots.
“Availability was a big reason, too,” he said. Camera components are kept in stock at the company’s Virginia manufacturing facility, allowing customized systems to be built to meet individual customer specifications and delivered and installed quickly.
“We’re impressed with how the HoistCam camera offers the operator the ability to see both the load and jobsite,” said Miller. “We like the system PTZ feature, which spins the camera remotely, and the added visibility of exactly how the load is being lift.”
He said workers quickly saw the increase in safety and awareness that the HoistCam camera system provides on the jobsite.
“The increased visibility fills in the gray area that hand signals leave to interpretation, and it gives the operator confidence to react when quick decisions must be made,” he said.
Netarus manufactures and sells industrial-grade video monitoring solutions. The HoistCam platform suite provides remote monitoring, recording and management analytics reporting to operators and site supervisors.