Complete control

16 December 2011

In the final controls equipment review of this year Cranes Today reviews new joystick controllers for mobile applications, along with a radio control receiver and a device for splitting hydraulic power between tools while still powering a crane.

Miller Electric Manufacturing
Miller Electric Manufacturing recently launched the EnPak Hydraulic Tool Control (HTC), an improvement for its EnPak Mechanic Series, which will allow mechanics to run hydraulic tools and a crane together easily.

The hydraulic tool control permits simultaneous use of a hydraulic crane and 5 or 8 gallon-per-minute hydraulic tools, obviating the necessity of switching between crane and circuit controls.

A Miller Electric spokesperson commented: “The HTC provides a common hydraulic power distribution location for easy plumbing to tools and the crane circuit.”

In addition it provides flow rates to accommodate 5, 8 or 10gpm hydraulic tools, or two 5gpm tools, making it easy to switch between different flow rates and alternative equipment.

The HTC does not require complicated tooling, the company claims, allowing it to be easily configured within EnPak and the truck.

“The new EnPak HTC will provide significant benefits to truck integrators and end users alike,” said Chris Wierschke, product manager for Miller Electric. “For integrators, the HTC saves considerable installation time, and provides a clean and compact design that allows for advanced functionality without adding countless fittings, relief valves and new hosing.

“Field crews will be able to improve their productivity by operating the crane and auxiliary tools at once off the same hydraulic pump without any complicated controls or equipment.”

Miller Electric’s HTC also includes another feature already found on the firm’s line of EnPak generators and air compressors, which works to reduce fuel consumption and engine wear while reducing noise on-site. An auto start/stop function on the HTC works to ensure the engine runs at just enough revolutions per minute to perform the job.

In addition, the use of extra, specialized controls is not necessary to keep EnPak up to speed during hydraulic tool use, the company said, as may be required for similar systems.

Radio remote control manufacturer Hetronic released its newest receiver for mobile hydraulic applications, the RX ES-CAN- HL, at the end of July this year.

Hetronic says its latest product is suitable for a variety of crane operations, whether used with crawlers, tower cranes, loader cranes, offshore cranes or harbour cranes, and say that at least part of this diversity comes from it’s easy-to-mount design.

Once fitted the RX ES-CAN-HL features two CAN interfaces that can be used to run protocols either simultaneously or separately. These protocols are fully customisable, and can be programmed using Hetronic’s H-Link configuration software.

H-Link was released by Hetronic earlier this year and enables the user to set parameters for feedback features, available as full or half duplex, and logic functions. Hetronic says that the RS EX-CAN-HL receiver can be paired with most of the firm’s transmitter series, including the popular Nova series often used for mobile hydraulics.

Designed to function as a rugged receiver suitable for harsh off-highway mobile applications, Hetronic says the receiver is capable of a smooth performance even in such environments.

The receiver meets and exceeds the performance requirements for Category 3 Performance Level d/SIL 3 safety functions, as set out by the machinery directive, with two independent stop relays and analogue on/off inputs.

Hetronic says that the RS EX-CAN-HL can offer operators versatile options for situations requiring safety interlocking features.

Penny & Giles
US controls business Curtiss Wright has released a number of new controllers suitable for construction machinery this year through its Penny & Giles business unit.

Two of these releases were the JC1500 and JC6000 joysticks, both of which are targeted at the heavier duty construction machinery applications, including cranes.

The firm says its JC6000 single-axis controller can be used with wheel loaders and other heavy plant where the spring ‘return-to-centre’ feature is seen to be of benefit for cross-axis loads.

The manufacturer claims that there are over one million different configurations for its JC6000 joystick controller range, thanks to a suite of optional features that allow tailoring of the joystick to suit whatever an application requires. Features available for the JC6000 include long-life potentiometer track sensors with auxiliary contacting directional switch tracks, as well as Hall effect sensors to ensure efficient and precise operation even when subjected to magnetic fields.

For construction equipment requiring a higher degree of manoeuvrability, single-axis friction hold versions are also available, as opposed to the spring return-to-centre version. Along with CAN (J1939) and CAN-extended input interfaces, Penny & Giles claims that the CANbus output options on the joystick allow OEMs even more specificity when configuring the control systems of each machine using the joystick.

The body casting of the JC6000 has been redesigned to include a new gaiter and increase the unit’s cross-axis fatigue life by a factor of five compared to its predecessors.

The JC1500 joystick retains the aesthetic and low profile design of Penny & Giles’ earlier JC150 series of potentiometer joysticks while sharing the same panel mountings, handles and grips as the JC150 and JC6000 series’, allowing easy replacement or upgrading between models.

While the joystick itself shares some of the same features of the JC6000, such as the spring-to-centre or friction-hold lever action and Hall-effect rotary position sensor technology, it also features a second output that allows for error checking of the system’s integrity.

The sensor assembly on the JC1500 is IP69K rated.

J R Merritt
Industrial switchgear manufacturer J R Merritt has been producing industrial control products from joysticks to rotary systems and seating systems for nearly a century.

The firm moved into the mobile equipment controls market in the 1990’s, and it’s most recent release is the M4 finger-operated bang/bang joystick controller, suitable for in-cab control panels, portable radio control systems and pendant control boxes.

Despite its lightweight and compact design, with a mounting footprint of just 1.9in x 1.9in above the panel and 2.7in x 2.7in below it, J R Merritt has designed the M4 to handle hardwearing applications in harsh environments.

Even where corrosive gases may be a factor, it’s rugged construction with non-ferrous components fitted into a glass-filled Zytel housing makes it capable of reliable function.

The M4 has an IP54 rating, and J R Merritt says it has a long life cycle compared to snap axis switches due to its compression style spring return design.

Handle activated auxiliary functions are available for the controller, with a sealed 2Amp 24VDC N.O. momentary push button along with a variety of optional extras that allow the user to customise the M4 for each application.

Options available for the controller include one or two axis control, a mechanical interlock for non-simultaneous joystick operation, a cross gate, and a choice of tapered, two-piece or round ball handle configurations.

Miller Electric Manufacturing Miller Electric Manufacturing
Hetronic Hetronic
Penny & Giles Penny & Giles
J R Merritt J R Merritt