Controls28 February 2012
Ikusi and Cervis have been collaborating in the US for ten years now, having just celebrated the anniversary of this partnership last month.
The flagship product to come out of this joint venture is the i-Kontrol family of transmitters. Compatible with the TM70 range of products, and described by the companies as a range with multiple features, the i-Kontrol has has been designed to be forward-compatible so that its functionality can be upgraded as its software and the technologies behind it progress.
Designed for hoisting machine applications for industrial and mobile hydraulic cranes as well as tower cranes, the transmitter can be configured with On/Off or proportional control as needed.
Cervis says the i-Kontrol is ergonomically designed to suit handling for any of these applications, with anti-slip handles and the option to include push buttons on either side of the transmitter allowing customisable control options.
Two dual-axis, step or stepless joysticks can be used for control, or alternatively there is room on the controller for up to five step or stepless paddles, along with configurable toggle switches, push buttons, potentiometers and binary or rotary switches.
Capable of operating on a number of bandwidths, at 419, 433, 865, 870, 915 and 918MHz, users are able to manually switch between channels to avoid potential interference or allow the automatic working channel selection software to handle this.
Each i-Kontrol transmitter can be fitted with a CANbus physical layer receiver to use CANopen protocols for feedback. Alternatively transmitters can be configured to use IQAN, SAE J1939, Profibus DP and RS-232/RS-485 protocols.
For work in harsher environments, Ikusi says the i-Kontrol has an internal anti-condensation system and a high level of impact resistance. However if there is ever an issue with the i-Kontrol, it also features Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) that can be easily extracted from the transmitter to allow quick and easy transfer of user-defined settings from a faulty transmitter to a replacement, reducing operational downtime. Described by each manufacturer as a highly-customisable control, options include an LA70 IR range limiter, a data cable for direct connection options, and a colour TFT digital display to handle feedback from the receiver. This display features a ‘scope limitation’ function, allowing the display of multiple datasets simultaneously as feedback.
Italian knuckleboom crane manufacturer Fassi has announced plans for a new smartphone-based crane monitoring, remote diagnosis and controls app. The new HMI (Human Machine Interface) will be launched early next year.
In a statement announcing the device, Fassi explains that the system is aimed at helping operators understand the high levels of information presented by modern cranes. The company said “Today’s on-board systems for cranes—often remote controlled—are so chock-full of information that they require high levels of concentration from the operators during the quick and accurate movement of the machines.
“And that is not all; the near future is only going to see an increase in the available functions tied to the new systems. Whether or not these increases are going to be accepted by operators will depend in large part on the quality with which this feedback is provided.”
The company expects this trend to continue, with cranes offering more information and requiring operators to make use of it in order to work safely. The company says that the aim of the new app is to make the crane as easy and safe to use as possible, maximising system efficiencies for rapid analysis and interpretation of information, especially in light of the projected increase in functions required for managing today’s systems.
As well as presenting information from the crane in an easy to understand fashion, the app will give access to the crane’s ‘black box’, allowing for remote diagnosis. It will allow users to set parameters for remote control levers, conduct rapid analysis and interpretation of crane-use statistics, consult Fassi Geo Locator to reach Fassi support centres quickly, and enable crane interface using a graphic display for immediate data readings.
J R Merritt
J R Merritt has released a new rugged IP67 compliant hall-effect finger switch suited to use in harsh industrial applications, while compact enough for incorporation into remote control systems.
The housing of the FS1 finger switch is constructed using Zytel, and according to J R Merritt the sealed housing makes it ideal for work in environments where corrosive materials are present.
Operation of the proportional switch is said to be particularly smooth thanks to the contactless Hall-effect sensors, which use a magnetic field for positioning detection before the information is sent back to the control device.
As this replaces the use of levers and other more typical mechanical methods of control with contact-free sensing methods the typical wear-and-tear expected during a controller’s working life is reduced.
The firm says that the reduced ingress of dust and other materials thanks to the sealed housing substantially improves the working life of the switch, which it rates as 20 million cycles.
Touted as suitable for a wide range of on or off-highway machinery applications, the rugged FS1 finger switch is also compact enough for use in radio remote control systems, with a 1.9” x 1.3” footprint including its rubber boot.
It can be connected to any system compatible with its 12” 24 American Wire Gauge (AWG) Teflon superflex wire, featuring a Molex connector.
J R Merritt says the features of the FS1 either comply with or exceed the EN61000-6-2:2005 standard for Electromagnetic Compatibility Immunity (ECI), which it has expanded on to include a radio frequency interference immunity of 100V/m at 80–1,000MHz and Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) immunity of 15kV in air or 8kV in contact.
It also complies with EMC emissions regulations EN61000-6-4:2007, to Class A Group 1, 80–1,000MHz.
Swedish radio remote controls manufacturer Tele Radio has released the second generation of its Tiger remote control product line, Tiger G2, with a selection of transmitters geared to both industrial applications and general mobile construction machinery requiring duplex functions.
Of the new series two transmitters are suited for use with mobile hydraulic applications and tower crane control, the TG-TX-MDL10 and the TG-TX-MXL12.
One of the main distinctions between the two handsets is that the TG-TX-MDL contains a display for feedback and only ten two-step pushbuttons, while the TG-TX-MXL12 has no display and two extra buttons.
The TG-TX-MXL12 however achieves a superior battery life, with its rechargeable battery providing 24 hours of operating time when in continuous use compared to the TG-TX-MDL10’s 16 hours.
While Tele Radio says that the Tiger G2 range includes both compact remotes and larger transmitters, as ith the previous Tiger series, the two Tiger G2 remotes for mobile hydraulic and tower cranes are a slightly more compact next step for the larger transmitters in the series, dimensioned at 210mm x 76mm x 37mm.
Using narrow-band FM modulation, both controllers operate at frequencies of 433–434MHz with 69 channels available.
Each transmitter can be used with up to 10 receivers and can receive external feedback from devices such as weight indication systems, as well as analogue and digital internal feedback from receivers via CANopen, Profibus and Modbus interfaces.
For the moment the receivers in the Tiger G2 series have seven function relays, but Tele Radio intends to release another version featuring 17 relays, all of which will be monitored by three processors for increased security and reliability.
Feedback is displayed through indicator lights and vibration alerts, or through the screen on the TG-TX-MDL10, and Tele Radio says the software can be extensively reconfigured for each application, with machine ID numbers selectable as feedback data.
Each transmitter is IP65 rated and features two relays for the STOP function. Along with another two relays in each unit, the STOP function is compliant with SIL3 IEC 61508 and PLe standards. The system is also certified to the CSA standard for the US and Canada.