A passion for engineering11 September 2023
"Who wouldn’t want to travel to Italy for an exhibition?" asks Fabio Potestà, director of Mediapoint & Exhibitions, the company responsible for organising the forthcoming GIS 2023 lifting trade show (see News page 18). "We have some of the best scenery, food, and hospitality in the whole world.”
Another thing to add to the list is to see the country's passion for engineering. Italy is, of course, home to some of the world's most iconic supercar manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo.
These companies have a strong reputation for combining engineering excellence with artistic design. They are celebrated not only for their high-performance vehicles but also for their focus on aesthetics, ergonomics, and the emotional connection between drivers and their cars.
As you can read (on page 36) Italy is also home to the pick and carry crane – which grew out of the period of reconstruction after the Second World War. This Italian crane has grown in popularity and pick and carry cranes are in use around the world. In addition to the pick and carry cranes on display at GIS I'm sure visitors to the show will be able to witness first-hand the strength of passion for engineering many Italians have.
Passion for engineering is not unique to Italy, though; many countries have a strong tradition of innovation and engineering excellence. The Japanese approach to designing and engineering cars, for example, also prioritises a strong connection between driver and vehicle. This concept has its roots in various aspects of Japanese culture and philosophy, including craftsmanship, precision, and a holistic approach to design. The Japanese even have a word for it, ittai-kan, which translates as a sense of unity between human and machine.
When it comes to cranes, the cabin is where this connection takes place – with the crane becoming an extension of the operator's body. In our Components feature (starting on page 19) we look at some of the elements of the cab that help facilitate this. The feature also introduces the Skyline Cockpit which UK tower crane service provider Radius Group is using to control a tower crane from the ground. Radius says that through the use of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and an advanced technological interface displayed on three large panoramic screens the operator experiences what it describes as 'unparalleled precision and situational awareness’.
Former Select Plant Hire crane operator Katie Kelleher, now technical and development officer at the UK’s CPA, tried out the Skyline Cockpit at a demonstration day held by Radius... and liked it. See her exact response on page 26.
We watch developments with interest. For now technology has the power to enhance the ittai-kan but, ultimately, will the operator become redundant as AI takes over the world?!