Technology advancements combined with safety and operational improvements are changing the way both new and retrofitted cranes are now operated. How? Radio control.
A growing number of new overhead cranes now include radio crane controls as a standard feature. At the same time, owners of older cranes commonly request that radio, or remote, controls be included in their crane upgrades.
The advantages of radio crane controls are many. The most significant benefit is improved safety.
Radio controls allow operators to control overhead cranes from the facility floor. There they are free to move around obstacles to get a better view of their surroundings, including physical obstructions and personnel that could be in the way of the hook path – something that can be challenging from a crane cab.
And handheld, wireless controls allow operators to control cranes from a safe distance, out of the range of load swings and dropped loads. Unlike pendant controls, which are tethered to the crane, radio controls offer operators greater freedom to walk around.
A good choice for many situations, remote crane controls are ideal for higher risk applications such as hot metal and steel mill cranes and multiple hoist operations.
Improved productivity is another advantage of radio crane controls. Operators using radio controls to operate cranes have greater visibility, which in turn provides them with greater accuracy and efficiency so they can complete more lifts in less time.
Remote crane controls can also help reduce operational costs and promote more efficient use of manpower. Crane operators working in a cab need the assistance of a second worker on the floor to provide another set of eyes and hand signals. But when the operator works from the floor with remote controls, the second position isn’t necessary.
Radio crane controls are available in a variety of configurations, from single- to five-speed operation. Pendant controls with five speeds can be cumbersome. But five-speed radio controls are ergonomically designed for easy handling in a bellybox, a four-pound unit that hangs on a belt or harness.
Controls on these units include levers or joysticks, making them easy to use, particularly for newer generations of crane operators, who grew up with video game consoles.
To learn more about radio crane controls for new cranes or crane upgrades, contact your Konecranes representative.