SOURCE: Konecranes, Inc.

Konecranes, Inc.

November 04, 2015 10:33 ET

Konecranes Expands Smart Features Offering to Make Its Crane-With-a-Brain Even Smarter

Konecranes SMARTON® Boosts Its Software-Based Intelligence for Greater Safety, Increased Productivity and a Reduction in Repairs and Downtime

SPRINGFIELD, OH--(Marketwired - November 04, 2015) - Global lifting leader Konecranes (HEX: KCR1V) has announced major advances in its Smart Features capabilities for SMARTON cranes. The extensive suite of Smart Features that originally moved SMARTON to the head of the class for overhead lifting has been expanded with three new elements: Hook Centering, Snag Prevention and Active Sway Control. These new elements were designed to help operators achieve even faster load handling with less risk of damage to the load, crane and surrounding area.

Hook Centering is an innovation that was designed to automatically eliminate side pull situations and load swing caused by side pull. Normally, overhead cranes are designed to lift an object directly below the trolley. Side pull occurs when the hoist lifts an object that is not directly underneath it. Side pull can cause violent and hazardous load swing and can damage ropes and other components such as the rope guide or drum.

To prevent this, the crane operator activates the Hook Centering feature on his control console. After connecting the hook, the operator switches on the hoist to lift the load. If side pull is detected, the Hook Centering feature activates. While the operator continues to give the hoisting up command, the crane will automatically position trolley and bridge over the load. At the same time, the hoisting-up movement is limited until the crane and load are vertically aligned. Then lifting continues normally.

"Hook Centering reduces wear and tear on crane components and enables faster load cycle times. But what is far more important is the contribution it makes to operational safety," says Doug Maclam, vice president, sales and marketing, Konecranes Region Americas.

Snag Prevention is always offered in a package with Hook Centering. If a hook, sling or load accidentally becomes caught by other objects during bridge or trolley movement, the operator may not notice until it is too late to prevent damage to the load, the crane or other machinery. Snag Prevention constantly monitors the rope angle and slows down the movement of the bridge if the rope reaches a pre-set angle. It activates the mechanical brakes to a full stop if a more extreme rope angle occurs. Slow-down and stop angles are set during commissioning and are typically two to four degrees.

Active Sway Control stabilizes load movements in trolley traverse and/or bridge travel directions. It reads and modifies the operator's speed commands so that the requested speed is reached with minimal load sway. Like Hook Centering and Snag Prevention, it is based on angle measurement of the rope. If the rope angle exceeds a pre-set value, the acceleration and deceleration ramps of the trolley and bridge travel motions are shaped by the Smart Features algorithm to keep the load stable without a swing. Active Sway Control also dampens existing load sway to help the load remain stable at all times and in all conditions, making load moving operations as much as 60 percent faster.

All three of these new Smart Features are achieved through camera-based technology, which begins with an infrared camera mounted on the crane. The camera monitors LED sensors located on the hook block to detect load movement that is out of the acceptable range. This suite of features is Konecranes own in-house design and technology, making it fully compatible with the crane's overall functionality.

But the real brain of Konecranes Smart Features capability is a combination of a Konecranes "smart" tablet that the operator uses to access and monitor the new load controls and the Smart Crane Module (SCM), an industrial PC located in the crane's control house. The Konecranes tablet mounts on the crane's radio control or cabin, and links wirelessly to the SCM. Everything relevant to crane operation can be seen or accomplished from the tablet. For example, a green arc shows how far the load is from maximum, and the screen can also display what the crane's cameras see.

"Many times we recommend that facilities get two of these," says Bill Byrne, SMARTON product specialist. "One is with the operator and the other one is in the manager's office, which makes it easy to monitor what's going on in the yard. He can see everything in real time just as the operator does."

A maintenance tab on the tablet's screen conveys a wealth of other information -- error codes, faults and current parameters, such as Target Position and Protected Areas. These are displayed as a map of all of the coordinates of where the crane can go. If two tablets are in use, either can be used to program and revise go and no-go areas, with a password-protected interface.

"Konecranes Smart Features are currently in demand from industrial users like assembly lines, automotive stamping plants, steel mills and pulp and paper operations," says Maclam. "Smart Features help save time and money and help keep people and products safer. They also decrease load cycle times and give the crane and its components a longer working life."

About Konecranes, Inc.
Konecranes is a world-leading group of Lifting Businesses™, serving a broad range of customers, including manufacturing and process industries, shipyards, ports and terminals. Konecranes provides productivity-enhancing lifting solutions as well as services for lifting equipment and machine tools of all makes.

In 2014, Group sales totaled EUR 2,011 million. The Group has 12,000 employees at 600 locations in 48 countries. Konecranes is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki (HEX: KCR1V).

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Contact Information

  • Additional information:

    Todd Blair
    Marketing and Communications Manager
    Region Americas