Adapted from an article in Metal Center News.
Improve Safety & Workflow With Smart Crane Technology
Overhead cranes are essential assets for metal distribution — making breakdowns and accidents detrimental to business. Thanks to the latest automation, smart crane technology can help you avoid some of those problems while streamlining workflow and extending the life of your equipment. Here’s how the latest automation packages stand to benefit your operation.
Injury & Accident Prevention
There are several types of effective automation add-ons designed to protect your investment and your employees, and Anti-Collision technology is the most popular and least expensive.
At Zenar Corporation, we see it requested for almost every crane produced as a standard precaution against crane and facility damage. Using either lasers or radio frequency, Anti-Collision prevents the crane from coming into contact with other cranes or walls. It’s an effective failsafe for avoiding worst-case-scenarios and extensive damage. While lasers are the easiest to implement, radio frequency adds the extra safeguard against materials blocking the laser.
No Fly Zone automation is the second most popular add-on, particularly for cranes also using Semi Automatic Positioning, where the crane needs to complete functions on its own without running into anything. Predetermined no fly zones keep the crane from flying over certain areas where other equipment or shelving is permanently stationed. When paired with Anti-Collision technology, a crane can respond in real time to the objects in its environment, while automatically avoiding no fly zones wherever it travels.
Another important part of crane safety is preventing the load from excessive swaying. Whether a crane is running on a predetermined track or driven manually by an operator, Sway Control limits load sway by using the bridge and trolley to automatically compensate for excessive shifting of the load. This helps to prevent accidents that occur from materials swinging into people and objects, while keeping the crane running at optimal speeds.
Troubleshooting & Maintenance Optimization
In addition to preventing workplace disasters, smart technology can be used to optimize workflow and increase efficiency, limiting human error and minimizing downtime for maintenance.
With smart features like Positioning Assistance and Semi Automatic Positioning, cranes are able to quickly and precisely perform under the guidance of sensors while taking the shortest path to their pre-programed position. During processes with limited visibility or little room for error, Positioning Assistance and Semi Automatic Positioning are game changers for keeping an operation moving with consistency. When combined with Warehouse Management automation, cranes can also map the location of each of your materials, preventing errors in tracking and organizing inventory. Together, these automation add-ons save time and money otherwise spent troubleshooting through barriers and mistakes.
Another popular problem-solving automation add-on is Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics, which allows maintenance teams to track essential crane functions and troubleshoot problems from the floor. As a result, fewer hours are spent climbing up and down ladders and running tests, so that your crane can get back to moving material like it should.
Not only can smart technology streamline maintenance, it can also increase the longevity of your crane. With Shock Load Prevention and Anti-Skew technology, sensors and control systems monitor hoist speed, wheel positioning, and load force to keep the crane traveling smoothly without jerking or skewing. This results in less wear and tear on the crane over time, enhancing the longevity of your equipment investment.
Implementing Smart Crane Technology Is Easier Than You Think
Smart crane technology requires very little training or expertise, and it’s possible to give just about any overhead crane an automation upgrade. Though it’s easiest to incorporate automation during the initial build, automation can be added as needed during or after manufacturing. This means that facilities with already well-functioning cranes can take advantage of the latest smart crane technology at any point during the life of their equipment.
At Zenar Corporation, we provide automation to cranes of any brand at any time, even if we weren’t the ones who originally built it. Our ability to add any combination of the automation available allows customers to improve safety and access new tools without having to replace something that isn’t broken.
Whether you are looking to enhance your current equipment, or researching what you want in your next crane, smart technology maximizes your ROI by offering fewer interruptions to workflow and output.