Stay in control

21 March 2017

Paola De Pascali reviews recent development in remote controls for use in construction crane applications.

Tele Radio is pleased to offer the new Tiger G2, the next generation of the Tiger system. Tiger G2 transmitters come in a more compact design, as well as the larger size found in the previous Tiger system. Tiger G2 aims to put safety first, with a stop function and two relays in its receivers approved according to the SIL3 IEC 61508 standard and performance level ‘e’ (PLe).

The receiver can be programmed to transmit the crane ID number as feedback to the transmitter. This feature is useful for controlling several applications – multiple cranes, for example – with the same transmitter. All Tiger G2 transmitters can receive feedback from weight-indication systems, or internal feedback from the receiver’s digital inputs.

Feedback is indicated through the transmitter’s light indicators, the display or the built-in buzzer. The Tiger G2 software can be extensively adapted to each customer’s needs.

Another Tele Radio model, Panther, transmits at the widely approved 2.4GHz band with an excellent range of up to 500m under optimal conditions. Panther is designed to ensure very high flexibility. The transmitter buttons can be redirected to activate any relay or series of relays.

Pressing just one button can start an almost unlimited chain of events, for example, activating several relays with a specified amount of time in between. The transmitter LEDs are programmable, while the relays can be assigned momentary or latching functionality, and can be set to interlock in any way desired.

Panther is made to withstand tough environments, and the receiver housing is classified with IP66. German controls manufacturer tecsis has launched the new Twistlock Sensor, which logs loads directly at the spreader and provides reliable measurement data. It is designed to guarantee simple operation and the highest functional safety.

In addition to its weight, any potential asymmetry in a container’s weight distribution has to be recorded simply and precisely, so the loads are logged directly at the spreader throughout the entire loading procedure.

The new Twistlock F9305 sensor also has a long-life measuring spring, and speedy operation can ensure a simple retrofitting.

The F9305 provides high shock and vibration resistance and low temperature drift.

The company also offers pressure sensors for mobile hydraulics, such as the new P3427 pressure sensor, which is specifically developed for the robust requirements of mobile hydraulic applications like cranes and lifting platforms. It is available in pressure ranges of up to 1,000–10,000psi.

The sensor uses the standardised CANopen protocol, which is an alternative for pressure measurement, or a J1939 protocol.

An integrated y-connector is designed to simplify the safe installation, and reduce shock and vibration loads. This connection also prevents the ingress of dirt and moisture.

The standout features of this sensor are its load-cycle stability and high long-term stability. It has been designed to provide excellent temperature behaviour through its high EMC protection, making it particularly safe from interference. The sensor is delivered in a corrosion resistant stainless steel version, meeting the requirements of IP6K9K protection.

Scanreco has recently announced the launch of its brand new 4.3in colour display for its range of Mini and Maxi transmitters.

The new Scanreco 4.3in colour display is designed to increase possibilities and enhance performance for the operator.

The high-performance display offers excellent visibility, with 16 million colours (24 bits) in all kinds of outdoor and indoor environments. The technologically advanced smart colour display excels in strong sunlight where traditional displays struggle. An ambient light sensor optimises the display settings for all possible environments, from a dark winter night in Stockholm to a sunny day in Los Angeles.

Optically bonded shockproof glass protects the display, as well as providing antireflection. Scanreco’s Mini transmitter can easily be customised to suit customers’ requirements. With its modular design, the Mini can accommodate one to six linear levers or up to three joysticks, as well as several push-buttons and switches. Despite the compact format, all controls are sized and positioned to support daily usage for many hours without causing operator fatigue.

Maxi transmitters are engineered for maximum performance. The Maxi is Scanreco’s most advanced and versatile transmitter, with room for many control elements, as well as function labelling. The ergonomic housing comes in two basic versions – with linear levers or joysticks. The Maxi has a modular design and is thus easily adaptable.

Scanreco Mini and Maxi transmitters have a bundle of standard and optional settings and features to improve the operator experience. The maximum speed of proportional movements can be adjusted sing a ‘turtle/rabbit’ toggle switch in five steps. A high performance colour display, monochrome display or LEDs enable operator feedback from the controlled machine.

Automatic frequency management allows continuous operation without any interruptions caused by radio interference from other wireless equipment.

The transmitter communicates with the corresponding receiver using a Scanreco protocol and a unique identity code. This is designed to guarantee that no other Scanreco transmitter or other product can ever activate the machine unintentionally. The stop function conforms to PLe as specified in EN ISO 13849-1, a legally binding standard for safety-critical components of control systems.

These transmitters are designed for heavy-duty use.

“We know that our customers rely on our ability to deliver functionality they can trust – we call this Never-Stop Technology from Scanreco,” the company says.

NBB offers a range of controls for truck-mounted cranes such as HyPro-6, Nano-L SMJ A1/6 and Nano-S. The HyPro-6 is one of the top sellers in the NBB product range. With up to six single-axis joysticks, it is the ideal solution for hydraulic applications.

The technical features include a frequency band (F-Band) of 434,050–434,750Mhz, EU frequency band (G-Band) of 866–870MHz, and US frequency band of 915MHz. The response time for control command is 15 minutes, and thanks to surface-mounted joystick technology, an easy change of the joystick can be ensured without opening the housing. The operating temperature range is -20 to +65°C, and the weight is 1,350g. The status indication is given by a 64×128-pixel monochrome display. When switching on or changing the frequency, a check can be made to determine whether the frequency channel used is reserved by another transmitter. If this is the case, the next frequency channel is checked until it is ensured that the transmitter can operate without faults.

The Nano-L SMJ A1/6 is the middle-sized all-rounder in the NBB product range, available in various versions. The Nano-L shares the same technical feature of HyPro, but it has weight of 815g with 2×7-segment LED functional display. It has been designed as a cable console.

For radio-critical work areas, the operating unit can be supplied on request as a cable console with the same functional equipment and not as a transmitter. The carrying system also provides a waist and neck belt.

The Nano-S is the smallest console remote control in the NBB product range. The receiver Compact-V AC-R20 is applicable for industrial and gantry cranes. It has a small, compact and robust housing design that meets protection class IP 65CE.

As part of its MH series, MTS Sensors offers a flexible MH (FMH) sensor, designed for use with hydraulic cylinders in mobile applications. The externally threaded FMH sensor is highly resistant to shocks and vibrations, and features an innovative two part design. This design allows users to separate the flexible sensing element and electronics from the housing without opening the hydraulic system.

“While it is manageable to install and remove hydraulic cylinder sensors at a manufacturing facility, it can be extremely challenging in the field. Trained service technicians can remove and replace the internal components with just 200mm of clearance, regardless of stroke length and without breaking the hydraulic seal. This serviceability means decreased downtime and disruption, providing increased productivity,” says Luka Korzeniowski, MTS Sensors’ global market segment leader for mobile hydraulics.

The FMH uses MTS Sensors’ proprietary Temposonics magnetostrictive technology to deliver high-performance operation, with a ±0.2mm typical resolution, repeatability of ±0.005% (full scale) and ±0.04% linearity (full scale). Available with analogue or CANbus output options, the FMH can support stroke lengths of 500–5,000mm.

Replacement units can be shipped as coiled rings to ease handling and reduce shipping costs. Itowa’s Boggy radio remote control has been designed with advanced radio technology integrated in a classic remote control, ideal for construction and industrial cranes. The digital electronic application of the transmitter in a Telemecanique push-button casing maintains the main features such as resistance, strength and original push-buttons with the strictest safety standards. The Boggy remote controls can be fully configured, offering several options depending on the user’s various needs.

The receiver has an LCD display that reports system status to ensure safety and agility, as well as to detect ID anomalies. It also provides an RS-485 serial port to connect to PLCs, robots or any peripheral equipment that requires information through the serial port. It incorporates a multifrequency, synthesised radio system that enables the operator to automatically change the working channel.

The Combi range is ideal for the remote control of building and industrial cranes, and bridge cranes. It enables the operator to be optimally located in the hardest working conditions. It is designed to provide strength and easy handling thanks to the latest technology. One of its advantages is that several manoeuvres can be carried out simultaneously. Combi remote controls have two versions of the operating commands: digital, with up to four or sixstep joysticks, or analogue, with proportional step-less joysticks.

Analogue manoeuvres can be independently adjusted by the operator with the transmitter.

The receiver has a set of LEDs to report system status, and the RS-485 serial port to connect to PLCs.

HBC-radiomatic has introduced technos A, the compact all-rounder designed for the control of construction cranes.

“Parallel to the technical developments in the construction crane field, there have also been many innovations in radio technology,” the company says.

“Wireless construction-crane controls today offer an exceptional selection of useful features and design possibilities.”

The split-screen colour display shows machine data, such as load weight or hook height, in addition to the lifting capacity with the current radius and maximum radius for the current load. The capacity of the crane can thus be optimised easily; no additional hardware is needed because all required information is available in the display. The customer can not only decide which information is to be displayed, but also control the layout. By default, the display comes with an operating-hours counter, as well as other service relevant data. The operator can easily access many important information items.

The colour display also offers advantages when it comes to safety. When there are high wind speeds, an impending overload or other critical statuses, warning notifications are displayed automatically so that the operator can react immediately.

The machine control can be tailored to the customer’s demands, offering two joysticks as well as different combinations of push-buttons, and toggle or rotary switches. A high-performing Li-ion exchange battery with more than 20 hours of continuous operating time supplies the transmitter with the necessary power.

Standard equipment also comprises front panel lighting, an integrated flashlight, as well as HBC safety features, including radiomatic shock-off, radiomatic zero-g and radiomatic inclination switch. These features can detect situations that are dangerous to the operator – for example, if he drops the transmitter and loses control over it – and trigger a previously defined safety function on the machine.

An optional data logger can also be provided by technos A, including a radiomatic report with a personalised log-in card, the merlin transmitter user card (TUC). It is used to define user levels, making the concept ideal for the crane setup mode.

“On large construction sites with many radio-controlled cranes and machines, technos A is available with different frequency management procedures,” the company says. “With the 2.4GHz technology, this includes the best automatic frequency management currently offered by HBC.”

The technos A transmitter is designed to withstand hard daily use on construction sites. The IP 65-rated plastic housing and high quality operating elements from the firm’s production guarantee the radio control’s long lifetime.

If the transmitter is damaged or destroyed, for example, if a vehicle accidentally crushes it, a service concept is used. The operator can unplug the electronic radiomatic iLOG key from the original transmitter and plug it into a spare transmitter, which is then immediately ready for use. “This cuts down on expensive downtime in an easy and efficient manner,” the company says.

A Scanreco Mini transmitter at work with a knuckleboom crane.
HBC-radiomatic’s technos A allows the operator to freely move at any time, and to position himself with an ideal view on the load.
An operator of an overhead crane using a Tele Radio Tiger TG-T9-1.
Scanreco transmitters are highly versatile due to their modular designs.
From the NBB product range, the HyPro-6 is an ideal solution for hydraulic applications thanks to six single-axis joysticks.
The MTS MH-series flexible MH (FMH) introduces a two-part design to allow users to separate the flexible sensing element and electronics from the housing without opening the hydraulic system.
Itowa has recently launched a Combi device that controls up to 21 hoists at the same time for the construction of a railway in India.
NBB offers a variety of controls, including the Planar-B2.
Itowa Combi device controlling Comansa 21LC cranes in Barcelona.
HBC-radiomatic’s technos A.