Cranes: New Tools & Features for Operator Efficiency

With project design and construction becoming more complex, crane manufacturers are incorporating advanced tools and features in their cranes to derive higher operational efficiencies. NBM&CW reports.

Any failure in cranes operating in an industrial or general infrastructure project due to a defect in the components or faulty operation, can be catastrophic and of an unprecedented magnitude. Construction of industrial projects like refineries, steel plants, etc,involve highly complex processes, especially with industries becoming more modern and high performing entities. In view of their enhanced construction requirements, crane manufacturers are incorporating more superior features in their new-gen cranes to ensure better operational efficiency and safety.

Subhajit Chandra, Divisional Head, Liebherr Cranes India
Subhajit Chandra, Divisional Head, Liebherr Cranes India, says, “A unique feature in our mobile all-terrain crane is Variobase, which is activated by our patented Liccon software. Variobase enables the crane to infinitely calculate the load configurations despite the outriggers placed arbitrarily, allowing launch of the bridge girder or precast sections on constricted sites. Our newly advanced Variobase+ can, even more accurately, calculate the load as per the placement of the rear outriggers in the crane in a trapezoidal manner, giving a more stable placement of the crane within the constricted area. Liebherr has pioneered another new feature is the single engine in our All terrain cranes, which will act as the main prime mover and also for boom functioning, leading to reduced cost of operation due to less fuel consumption, and reduced maintenance costs.”

Ghananeel Molankar, (Divisional Head - Construction Machinery), Liebherr India
Adds Ghananeel Molankar, (Divisional Head - Construction Machinery), Liebherr India, “For easier planning, higher accuracy and increased safety during lifting the new Crane Planner 2.0® from Liebherr is truly remarkable. Currently the normal lifting crawler cranes and duty cycle crawler cranes are incorporated in the Crane Planner 2.0®. Features include an interactive 3D model visualization, easy machine configuration, display of machine information (boom configuration, radius, load lifted, maximum load that can be lifted, utilization etc.) and ground pressure visualization make the Crane Planner 2.0® an exceptional planning tool. All relevant data is incorporated in the planning tool and most importantly you can witness real time calculations for any given lifting operation. This includes the ground pressure visualization also which means that the ground pressure is calculated for every configuration with given load. In fact, the Crane Planner 2.0® is an ideal tool for planning engineers; it helps them to create a virtual job site scenario and plan the lift with the exact boom configuration required for the lift. Thus, it enhances the safety and efficiency of the lift on job sites by providing real time calculations, including ground pressure. So, we are confident that it will greatly contribute towards operational efficiencies.”

He informs that keeping safety of personnel being lifted at heights in mind, the crawler cranes have a personnel lifting mode, based on which, the crane operator will be able to automatically, adjust the load charts. Another feature is the wind load charts which enables the operator to adjust the load charts according to the wind speed by just a click on the monitor in the cab. The operator doesn’t have to anymore calculate manually to reduce the load charts based on the permissible wind speed limits as mentioned in the manual. This completely eradicates the human intervention, which was time consuming and also could be erroneous in some cases.

Cranes: New Tools & Features for Operator Efficiency

For enhanced safety during assembly and lifting, the boom up and down aid is another advancement in Liebherr’s crawler cranes manufactured in Austria. “This prevents the cranes from toppling, while lifting as it automatically calculates the tipping line and brings the boom back in safe zone.” informs Molankar.

Demag informs that the company is bringing more flexibility to its smaller all-terrain range with the Flex Base stepless outrigger system (which was first developed for the AC 45 City), on its AC 55-3 and AC 60-3 cranes. By using Flex Base with the company’s IC-1 Plus control system, crane owners will be able to take on jobs that would otherwise be unreachable. In order to make this stepless variable extension system possible, Demag has made modifications in the outriggers’ steel structure and in the IC-1 Plus control system software. A seamless integration has been made in the Flex Base function of the crane’s IC-1 Plus crane control system. Further, the online IC-1 Lift Plan planning tool for PCs and mobile devices supports users in preparing for lifts in advance. “This tool makes it possible to determine the exact position and configuration of the crane at the work site, under consideration of the load being lifted, so that every crane job can be as fast and cost-effective as possible,” he says.

Sanjay Saxena- Sr. VP & Head- HE  at Sany Heavy Industry India
Sanjay Saxena- Sr. VP & Head- HE at Sany Heavy Industry India, says, “We have made composite advancements in our cranes to bring in greater operational efficiencies. We have made design improvements based on customer feedback on changing applications and site requirements. Our aim is to ensure safety as per Indian and International safety standards, and to enable lower cost of operation. Our cranes feature standard load moment indicators with cut off features; and our new, advanced ‘E-Vision’ telematics, when connected through GPS, gives real time information on the crane’s operating functions such as number of lifts, fuel consumption, etc.”

Manoj Agarwal, Chief General Manager, Marketing and Product Support, Action Construction Equipment (ACE)
“To ensure safe operations of our truck cranes, crawlers, tower cranes & New-generation cranes during lifting etc, there is a safe load indicator device with features like hydraulic cut-off and a password enabled safety is provided in our machines,” informs Manoj Agarwal, Chief General Manager, Marketing and Product Support, Action Construction Equipment (ACE). “A rear-view camera gives the operator a view of the entire equipment from the cabin, especially during slewing, and there are safety guards on the wheels. We are in the process of incorporating Telematics / GPRS to monitor machine performance, get updates and record usage of the cranes, based on which we can upgrade our machines, undertake preventive maintenance etc, and reduce their downtime.”

Cranes: New Tools & Features for Operator Efficiency

He adds, “We have operator assistance devices like console displays which are integrated with the machines’ hydraulics, engine, boom etc, for providing information to the operators for safe and reliable operation. Our R&D department is working to ensure higher integration and optimization of the cranes and is taking inputs from vendors for design of the chassis and boom fabrication. Above all, we are creating a pool of skilled operators through our advanced training programs so that our cranes are used optimally to give high productivity.”

V.G. Shakthi Kumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India
According to V.G. Shakthi Kumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India, “The XCMG mobile all-terrain cranes feature crane booms, enabling them to lift heavier loads at longer radius. The cranes score high on both safety and ease of operation due to the cranes’ axle load inspection technology. The axle load and center of gravity position is calculated dynamically with the driving mode in real time and automatically matched to the maximum gear and axle, resulting in two-way protection for safe travel. In heavy-load site transfer, an alarm is given to monitor the travel condition in real time and to remind the driver of controlling the speed in case the crane tilts when the axle load reaches the maximum limit. This helps to maintain the safety of the cranes. Further, the multimode driving technology in the cranes helps to strengthen the adaptability of the machine in different working conditions. This includes, urban road travel, cross country travel, highway travel and heavy-load site transfer. The third and the fourth axles can be changed with strong power and oil consumption.”

Cranes: New Tools & Features for Operator Efficiency

Additional operator assistance devices in the cranes include heavy loads pressure braking system, and general braking and managing platform technology. Backed by this, the braking distance is reduced, thus increasing equipment longevity. When traveling on roads, the emergency braking distance is reduced to effectively avoid accidents. Traveling on long and minus grade, the abrasion of the braking system is reduced, thereby increasing the life of the equipment. Some of these features are available in XCMG XCA 220 all-terrain cranes.

Anil Bhatia, VP Sales & Marketing-TIL  Limited
Anil Bhatia, VP Sales & Marketing-TIL Limited informs that the company makes continuous improvements and value adds in the design of its mobile cranes to enhance their safety, ease of operation, and fuel consumption. The cranes are equipped with intelligent IoT-based systems that give information on fuel consumption and predictive/preventive maintenance for higher uptime and performance of the cranes.

“Since the initial capital cost of the new generation cranes is higher, we must bring higher safety and other advanced features that enable lower lifecycle costs and higher availability for our customers. For instance, our Grove All-terrain cranes have a Twin-Lock full hydraulic system with electronic controls; and a single telescopic cylinder that uses two horizontally mounted pins to move a boom section into the required position. The use of two pins increases security and their position in the side of the boom means that they can operate in the neutral zone . A single telescope cylinder reduces weight used elsewhere to strengthen the crane and increase its lifting capacity. Grove‘s 20° hydraulic tilting superstructure cab gives the operator an improved and more comfortable view of the lift. Increased comfort means that lifts are completed faster and more accurately.

Cranes: New Tools & Features for Operator Efficiency

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