October 12, 2018

The Rise of Automated Cranes

Auto-Crane Craze

The future is upon us. With the progression of new technology, the crane industry is taking large steps towards better efficiency and safety on the job site. Artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming more prevalent, which has led to the development of autonomous and automated crane systems. Yes, stationary and mobile cranes that function WITHOUT any drivers in the cab. The operator controls the crane remotely at a safe distance from the construction site. Although “auto cranes” have yet to become the norm, the industry is expecting expansive growth in the coming years, especially due to the potentially huge benefits automation can create.

Lifting Productivity and Profitability

Through the utilization of telematics, Internet-connected sensors are used to monitor automated cranes in order to ensure top performance. Plus, the remote control used to operate eachcrane is equipped with a visual display that helps eliminate instances of human error by presenting critical, real-time information such as:

  • Load weight
  • Boom angle
  • Horizontal reach
  • How much more load the crane could handle at a given load or reach

With this significant increase in the crane’s efficiency, contractors save both time and fuel, which translates to healthier profits.

Lowering Risks

Cranes are large, solid pieces of machinery that lift and lower equally heavy-duty items. The potential risk of hazardous conditions is a constant, especially when workers are manually at the controls, which can lead to serious injury or death. The most common types of crane accidents are:

  • The crane dropping materials that end up falling on other people or vehicles
  • The crane connecting with power lines, causing electrical surges or spark showers
  • The crane attempting to lift too much weight, resulting in a collapse or roll over
  • A worker falling from a crane
  • The crane experiencing part failures, such as rigging issues or boom collapses

Fortunately, by taking workers OUT of the cab and allowing them to operate remotely, risks are substantially lessened. Each worker’s safety remains intact along with their job because crane companies will still need employees with NCCCO certification to acclimate into the remote control process. The construction world is quickly evolving for the better. It is necessary to adapt with automation technology to keep from getting trapped in the past.

-Kate Sweeney, Program Manager for Crane and Scaffold

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