How assistance devices improve operator safety

The latest assistance devices offer crane operators a fuller picture and help improve safety on site. Niamh Marriott reports.

A light boundary physically shows the safety boundaries around the crane. (Photo: Mammoet)

Smarter, safer and stronger is the ethos behind the creation of heavy lift giant Mammoet’s latest operator assistance solution, a new 360 degree camera safety system.

On the move

A new partnership with Rietveld, a specialist in fleet management and vehicle and machine safety systems, aims to improve the safety of drivers and road users when mobile cranes are moving and manoeuvring.

Mammoet’s new safety system uses cameras to offers the operator a 360 degree view of the crane’s surroundings. (Photo: Mammoet)

Together, the companies looked at the technology available and worked out how to combine three different safety technologies that could meet demanding safety regulations.

Testing is underway on one of Mammoet’s new Liebherr LTM 1070-4.2 70 tonne wheeled mobile telescopic cranes.

The three-tier system includes Rietveld’s OmniVue 360 degree camera system. Using a combination of cameras installed on the crane’s chassis, the system generates real-time first and third-person images of the vehicle, giving the driver a full 360-view from both inside and outside the cab, enabling them to see what pedestrians and other roads users are seeing.

The second tier adds a series of sensors that detect people and obstacles in an adjustable safety radius around the crane. When the sensors detect a potential hazard, an acoustic signal alerts the driver.

An LED warning panel also displays the section of the crane where the motion was detected.

Images of the crane’s surrounding are displayed for the operator in real time. (Photo: Mammoet)

The third and final tier, the ‘Halo’, draws a light boundary on the ground around the crane, giving those nearby a clear visual indication of the safe zone around it.

Mammoet says this is especially important on sites where hearing protection is required. The boundary can be switched on and off manually and is set to automatically turn off when a certain speed is reached.

Operator confidence

“By combining these three systems, Mammoet will improve safety, minimise accidents and damage, and give greater confidence to crane operators to create safer working environments,” explains Ferdi Kivanc, project co-ordinator at Mammoet.

“We see this as a comprehensive system that will not only enhance crane safety, but also operator training in the future. Initial tests are promising.”

Frank Kanters, account manager at Rietveld, adds, “By working with [Mammoet’s] engineers to test the integration of our collision-prevention technologies, we have created something unique in crane safety solutions. We look forward to developing the system further and progressing to eventual rollout.”

ICST will keep readers updated with the progress and development of this technology.

Smart cranes

It is not just mobile cranes that can benefit from the latest safety systems. Recently, Israel-based UltraWis launched its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for tower cranes.

UltraWis’ ADAS system being used on a job site in Israel by Tidhar Construction. (Photo: UltraWis)

The company wants to lead the digital transformation of the crane industry with the advent of smarter cranes, and eventually sees the industry embracing autonomous technology.

UltraWis’ ADAS system uses panoramic cameras that are linked to a display in the crane’s cabin. (Photo: UltraWis)

Automation has often been cited as the potential best solution for jobs that are either dirty, dull or dangerous, and the crane industry could benefit from autonomous safety tech. For now, though, the focus is assistance.

The new ADAS system can be added to any crane, UltraWis says. The kit includes a core set of five high-resolution, low-latency, wide-view, and panoramic cameras, a crane interface and control unit all connected to a large touchscreen computer installed in the top tower operator cabin.

The company says this system uses the newest technology in the market of guided user interface, displaying real-time video overlays with augmented reality graphics, including built-in anti-collision and zoning capabilities to prevent accidents.

Big data

Data from the ADAS system is stored on a web-based cloud app, allowing operators and companies information on crane productivity and utilisation, imagery and video timeline recordings, video streaming, site monitoring analytics, anti-collision remote parameter control, and the ability to plan material lifts from the office directly to the operator’s screen in real time.

UltraWis will showcase its system at KHL events TCNA and CATME in 2024. (Photo: UltraWis)

Ultrawis says its computer vision and augmented reality technology enable operators to identify the location and destination of materials, as well as the recommended route.

It also says that ADAS significantly reduces the need for communication via walkie-talkie between crane operators and the construction team on the ground. It provides the necessary data and insight to ensure the customer stays on schedule, with the right materials delivered at the right time for the right team.

Testing tech

Since January 2023 the system has been installed and tested on four Jaso J208PA luffing cranes at the Hasollelim jobsite in Tel Aviv, Israel, with Tidhar Construction. The 4 ADAS units will be used until the end of the project.

Tidhar has signed a collaboration agreement with UltraWis to implement the ADAS solution in more projects, with plans to add more capabilities to monitor job site progress and handle lift planning.

UltraWis has deployed systems on Potain MD 285 and MD 310 tower cranes at other construction sites. In Australia, the system is being used on Jaso J600 hummer cranes and it is being integrated on other cranes that will be used on a UK site for a large crane rental company. The company has plans to deploy more systems during 2024 in the USA, Canada, and the UAE, through early adopter distributors in those territories.

UltraWis plans to showcase its solution at KHL’s Tower Cranes North America conference in San Diego in June 2024, and at the Cranes and Transport Middle East event in Dubai, UAE, in October 2024.

Liebherr offers a range of systems to improve the safety and protection of workers and machinery. (Photo: Liebherr)

Manufacturer Liebherr has offered assistance systems across all its tower crane series for a number of years now. The company says these systems facilitate operation, ensure a high handling capacity and increase the safety both of people and machines on site. For the assistance systems to function efficiently, they have to be in tune with the control system and components. Liebherr tower cranes use sophisticated control software and drives that are manufactured in-house.

An example is the fine positioning mode Micromove. It allows the crane operator to move heavy loads at a very slow pace to ensure precise placement without the risk of damage. Thanks to Liebherr’s high-performance drives, the assistance system can easily be used for several minutes at a time without the crane overheating.

Other assistance systems include an operating range limiting system (ABB), the short-term load increase function Load Plus, safety-monitored climbing and level luffing for luffing jib cranes. The cranes also feature wind force control, integrated oscillation damping and adaptable slewing behaviour.

Construction collaboration

Another partnership of note is between collision avoidance technology supplier AMCS Technologies and Swiss tower crane rental company Kaufmann Turmkrane. Their collaboration began in 2020 with the joint aim of elevating construction safety in Switzerland, and now the project is producing results.

AMCS’ collision avoidance systems have been deployed across Kaufmann’s fleet, which the companies say are enhancing operational efficiency and site safety.

One of the major innovations born from this partnership is the development of an OEM solution, designed to be integrated directly into Kaufmann cranes. This advanced technical approach simplifies the installation of the anticollision system to a box in the electrical cabinet, representing a significant advancement in the ease of integration of the system, paving the way for future potential OEM integrations by crane manufacturers.

Commenting on this collaboration, Christian Berg, technical director at Kaufmann Turmkrane, says, “In our market, building land and the available space for building and working is very limited. So we always have to design special solutions to be able to realise projects and jobs.

“With AMCS Technologies, we have found a partner who focuses with us on our projects and a system that can be adapted to any project conditions. We are also impressed by the reliability of the system, which is very important for our business.”

Several Swiss sites have benefited already from the technology partnership.

Two Wolffkran and two Wilbert cranes equipped with AMCS systems have played a crucial role in the development success of the Bella Vista project in Switzerland. (Photo: AMCS)

Two Wolffkran and two Wilbert tower cranes equipped with DCS 61-S systems have played a crucial role in the development success of the Bella Vista project in Neuchâtel, an eco-district of housing and commercial spaces. The project started in November 2021 and is due to be completed this month.

Seven cranes on the Eichhof West construction are using an AMCS collision avoidance system. (Photo: AMCS)

In Kriens, in the Canton of Lucerne, the new Eichhof West district is taking shape. With a construction duration spread from April 2023 to the end of 2025, seven out of the eight cranes on this site have the AMCS solution, demonstrating the versatility and effectiveness of the implemented safety technologies.

Another project in Zuchwil, Switzerland, involves a new-generation incinerator and one of the largest luffing jib tower cranes in Switzerland (a Wilbert WT 1905) among a total of five cranes, all equipped with AMCS anticollision systems. With a goal such as energy generation from waste, the company says this project illustrates the partners’ commitment to integrating technology in environmentally sustainable construction practices.

Radoine Bouajaj, sales director at AMCS Technologies, adds, “It represents a powerful combination and an important step in providing sites with the right solution. We truly believe customers of our both companies benefit from this partnership while boosting market synergies to meet and exceed their legitimate high expectations.”

One of the largest luffers in Switzerland, a Wilbert WT 1905, is benefiting from the AMCS system. (Photo: AMCS)
Partner up

Back in June last year, AMCS announced an official partnership agreement with tower crane manufacturer and rental group Wolffkran at the ITC tower crane conference in Spain.

The agreement equips Wolffkran cranes with AMCS Technologies’ zoning and collision avoidance systems type DCS 61-S. Wolffkran was particularly interested in managing interferences between static and dynamic obstacles.

AMCS says its system can integrate the management of anticollision between tower cranes, mobile cranes (with telescopic or fixed jib), gantry crane, concrete pump masts and other machines.

The system is compliant with European standards EN17076 and EN14439, and can be adapted for specific site requirements.


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