Remote control and automation technology enhance operator confidence and safety.
Remote control systems are constantly evolving – improving jobsite and worker protection along the way. HBC-radiomatic, a manufacturer of radio systems for the wireless control of cranes and other machinery, cites many benefits of this technology, including increased operator safety and jobsite productivity. In addition, remote control systems allow operators to see loads and the operation from all angles, offer quick and easy installation with ergonomic control and are cost effective. In an industry dominated by mighty machines, in some cases good things come in small packages.
“Remote controls and automation are a critical and necessary force to advance safety and efficiency in the industry,” said Shawn Waldrop, director, Torquer. “There is always a strong emphasis placed on worker safety, yet we continue to place skilled personnel at the front lines where dangers exist. Remote controls provide an air gap between our most valued assets and the risks they face daily.”
Being hands-on in any operation also tends to offer only a narrow perspective to the dangers and efficiency of the task at hand, added Waldrop. Working by remote control gives operators a wide field of view to the risks surrounding themselves and the undertaking.
When it comes the future of remote controls, HBC-radiomatic Regional Sales Manager Ryan Stortz said the possibilities are endless.
“With new safety standards being implemented and the ongoing
efforts to keep the operator and the operation safe, and to minimize equipment downtime, the implementation of radio remote controls will continue to be more prevalent in the construction and crane environment,” Stortz said.
ACT spoke to several remote-control OEMs to learn about their latest market offerings.
Intercomp’s TS30 CPU uses field-proven wireless communication to collect and process weight-related data when paired with Intercomp’s portable Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) or static wheel/axle truck scale systems. The CPU’s touchscreen interface features intuitive menu navigation and data entry to suit nearly all heavy haul or commercial fleet applications. Not only does this allows for simplified system deployment, but makes operation less complex as illustrated by the indicator’s ability to switch between WIM and static weighing at the push of a button.
The TS30 can wirelessly communicate with any RFX-enabled Intercomp portable wheel/axle scale, including the LS630-WIM and low-profile LP600. Two channel inputs allow for cabled operation in environments with large amounts of radio traffic or where radio use is prohibited. There is also space for an additional input channel. Aside from receiving weight data wirelessly, the CPU can control all scale functions remotely.
The functionality of the TS30 is extremely flexible and can fulfill the needs of almost any truck scale application. Customizations include user-created session and vehicle record fields that can be included on the weigh ticket produced by the built-in printer. The TS30 also has the capability of saving more than 2 million weight records that can be recalled, exported to USB, or transmitted directly to a computer via an Ethernet connection.
The principle of legitimate safety is at the core of HBC-radiomatic’s new product developments presented earlier this year at ConExpo in the company’s new generation of spectrum transmitter series. The renovated spectrum versions operates with completely updated radio technology and numerous new features for enhanced safety and operating comfort, including high- performing color displays, additional category 3 PL d safe commands according to EN ISO 13849-1:2015 and new batteries with significantly increased operating times, the company said.
This next generation of HBC’s spectrum radio controls will include an optional vivid 5-inch color display with automatic brightness adjustment and incorporates integrated front panel lighting. The displays will be capable of high-resolution data or video feedback for clear control in any environment.
Accidents during crane operations are often caused by human contact with the load. Most cranes are unable to control the rotational orientation of their loads, which requires ground crews to rotate and stabilize loads using tag lines or other direct physical contact. This places workers near heavy moving loads or exposes personnel to the risk of slips, trips and falls as they may need to move with the load while it’s transferred to its final location. Torquer provides a solution to load orientation problems with the patented remote-controlled system named HALO, which stands for Hands Free Autonomous Load Orientation.
The HALO delivers instant torque on demand by rapidly accelerating water within a circular tank. There are no gyroscopes to initialize up before torque is available. Spinning water in either direction produces a torque that turns the suspended load in the opposite direction. A simple handheld remote control device allows for safe operation from over a half mile away.
Eliminating tag lines means ground crews can be scaled down to only what is necessary for rigging the load and operating the remote control. It’s also important to note that HALO keeps rigging procedures familiar to the current practices by using a spreader beam. Once the load is safely rigged up, ground personnel can clear the fall zone and perform other tasks. Torquer HALO units are easy to manage, use simple battery power and can operate for a full 12-hour shift before needing to re-charge, the company said.