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Rope Angle Features solve daily lifting challenges

August 22, 2017

Imagine grabbing a lifting hook and guiding it into position by simply pulling it, with the crane and trolley following smoothly after you. Konecranes Rope Angle Features provide crane operators with handy solutions for everyday lifting challenges, from snags to load swing. 

When installed on a crane, an inclinometer – also known as a tilt sensor –measures the angle of slope or tilt of an object with respect to gravity. This instrument makes it possible to prevent snags, enables a hoist to lift a load straight up, and reduces and controls load sway. 

Konecranes Rope Angle Features, which are available as a bundle, include:

  • Hook Centering, which greatly reduces side pull during lifting by positioning the bridge and trolley directly over the load.
  • Snag Prevention, which stops all crane movement if the hook, sling or load is detected to be caught on an object.
  • Follow Me, which allows the crane to be moved above the load by simply guiding the hook by hand.

In addition, the inclinometer makes the following techniques possible for certain cranes:

  • Active Sway Control, which manages the bridge and trolley’s acceleration and deceleration and limits load swing to a minimum.
  • Assisted Load Turning, which is based on continual measurement of the rope angle, resulting in much simpler and less risky load turning on the ground by using one hoist.

“In the past when there were no technical solutions available for these problems, side pulling had to be minimized manually by the operator.” says Tuomas Rekola, Product Manager at Konecranes. “After working with the Rope Angle Features, it’s now easier to manage load sway or dangerous side pulls.”

While the core idea, measuring the rope angle, might sound simple, a lot of work was needed before a practical solution suitable to customers’ needs was ready.

“Besides measuring the angle, these features had to constantly analyze the user’s commands to activate the correct one for the situation. Is the rope angle too wide because the load is off-center, which can then be resolved with Hook Centering? Or does the user wish the crane to follow them to another position?” Ari Lehtinen, Manager of Automation at Konecranes, describes the process.

After experimenting with the new components, Konecranes engineers had to come up with ways to make the rope angle features work on the shop floor, simplifying workflow instead of giving the operator more procedures to follow. Only after thorough investigation was the product ready to be tested in a real environment, where its usability underwent a true trial.

The engineers also had to see to it that these advanced technologies could be installed on new or existing cranes which have unique requirements. While the Hook Centering, Snag Prevention and Follow Me features are available as a separate add-on package for standard cranes, Active Sway Control and Load Turning demand the increased controllability of the crane control system. They are typically utilized in PLC-controlled “Smart” cranes.

“All these features are based on measuring how much the hook has moved in comparison to the trolley. The challenges come with setting the sensors up, calibrating them, and handling special situations. Everything must be thoroughly documented to make certain that the sensors and features are working properly,” adds Lehtinen.

These smart features might sound futuristic, but they are already in use, helping operators work more efficiently, enabling faster load cycle times and safer operations, and protecting loads from snags and sway.

“Our customers have been really enthusiastic about being able to solve these universal lifting challenges with this simple, easily installed application,” concludes Rekola.

Three key advantages:

  1. Minimizes the risk of damage to the load, crane and surrounding area
  2. Faster load handling and more precise positioning, which reduces load cycle times
  3. Longer crane lifetime and easier crane operation

Bio:

Tuomas Rekola works as Product Manager for CXT wire rope hoist cranes in Konecranes’ Product Management team.

Ari Lehtinen works as Manager at Konecranes’ Automation.

 

Text: Pauliina Männistö
Photo: Konecranes