Remote operated crane automation

2 August 2019

SMIE, supplier of anti-collision systems for lifting and handling equipment, has taken its crane automation technology a step further.

Using its remote 4G system, it has been able to connect a tower crane fitted with its ProSite anti-collision and lift management solution to a simulator training system based 300km away. This powerful adaptation is achieved with no hardware modifications to the crane and requires only a viable 3G or 4G connection. Where this is not possible, a WiFi connected system with direct internet connection can be used instead.

SMIE said this development is a direct result of customer feedback and market chatter regarding automation as a future impact. It follows the company’s announcement at Bauma 2019 about a self driving crane module.

Nick Palfrey chief marketing officer was quick to stress the same caution. “For us, this is once again a conceptual exercise in how we as a technology provider can push the envelope. Whilst the technology works and is entirely useable, we are not presenting this as a solution we expect our customers to adopt today. In our view, this is part of a wider set of solutions that we are creating to make jobsites smarter.”

Vincent Brach, technical director said: “We are achieving transfer rates of less than 100 milliseconds which is substantial and well below the levels of what is required to remotely control a crane. We added a safety feature to put the crane into a safety mode if this margin went above 100 milliseconds.”