Keeping cranes from colliding and overflying

The DCS 61-S driving control system developed by AMCS can manage up to 60 cranes and 44 zones in real time

Crane safety, Anti-collision, Amcs, Overflying, Zoning

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In the past, anti-collision devices were simply considered as driver assistance systems for crane operators. Technological advances and regulations have enabled such devices to evolve into security systems. With increase in awareness about their necessity on job sites, construction and insurance companies in certain European countries are systematically asking tower cranes suppliers to equip their machines with anti-collision systems. Such requirements are also being introduced in anticipation of regulations coming into effect in Europe during 2019 to make anti-collision systems mandatory. A new standard, the EN 17076, which is expected to be published in 2019, will require anti-collision systems to function as security systems.

France-based AMCS technologies, which designs and manufactures anti-collision and zoning systems for crane safety, has launched a safety system for tower cranes and lifting machines that can comply with future European safety and operating standards. The DCS 61-S driving control system, which helps avoid collision between cranes and overflight over prohibited zones, conforms to the safety integrity level 2 (SIL 2) according to the EN61508 standard for functional safety of electrical, electronic, programmable electronic systems, and a performance level of PLd according to the EN13849-1 standard for safety of machinery, safety related parts of control systems, general principles for design. The DCS 61-S is in the process of being certified by French research organisation INERIS.

Radoine Bouajaj, sales director, AMCS

Radoine Bouajaj, sales director, AMCS, says: “Although many countries have laws about overflying on private property, anti-collision and zoning systems are not yet mandatory. As new regulations for crane and construction site safety are introduced and enforced around the world, there’s a need to develop safety systems that will be compliant with all the standards of today and tomorrow.”

The DCS 61-S system helps manage risks of collision between different crane elements such as ropes, jibs and counter jibs. It also avoids overflight over prohibited areas such as schools, railways and roads. The system provides crane operators with a real time, 3D visualisation of the crane’s position and its environment as well as the positions of other interfering cranes on a site. It also displays programming of zones and delivery targets.

Essentially, the DCS 61-S device has three features: zoning, anti-collision and data logging functions. The zoning function controls the working limits of a tower crane to avoid overflight over forbidden areas. The DCS 61-S screen allows programming of up to 44 zones in three dimensions (3D): orientation, distribution and lifting.

The anti-collision function performs real time, 3D calculations to estimate distances between different crane elements and their movement speeds. It applies an adjustable safety coverage to all the machine parts including the jib, counter jib, mast, tower head, tie bars and hoist rope. The system, which can manage up to 60 cranes, allows intervention on the controlled mechanisms to ensure complete immobilisation of a crane at a pre-set distance from an obstacle. The anti-collision function is a universal feature available for all types of cranes, including static, travelling, relay, PLC controlled, saddle and luffing jib.

The data logging function constantly collects and saves events related to the management of prohibited zones and interference functions in order to view them directly or download them to a USB flash drive. The DCS 61-S screen displays information about the crane movement, load, position and movement of the other cranes, static obstacles and other general information required by operators.

AMCS has signed technical partnerships with the world’s leading crane manufacturers such as Liebherr, Potain Manitowoc, Wolffkrann, Linden Comansa, Saez and Raimondi to integrate the DCS 61-S through plug-and-play compatibility with their cranes. Enabling direct communication between the control system and cranes eliminates the need to install additional sensors. The system delivers information such as the position of the trolley on the jib, slewing angle, luffing angle, wind speed and hook height from the level of the crane foot.

“The DCS 61-S offers the benefits of quick installation, simplified maintenance and compatibility with all cranes in the market. We develop universal systems by taking into account the characteristics of each crane brand and adapting our control systems to integrate with their different site configurations. The DCS 61-S plug-and-play kit establishes a communication protocol between the DCS 61-S and any crane brand by connecting their programmable logic controllers (PLCs) directly. Thus, we don’t need to install additional sensors. However, older crane models will require additional sensors to be installed on the trolley, jib and slewing unit. Depending on customer requirements, we can install other sensors to measure additional wind, hoist and travel parameters,” says Bouajaj.

As AMCS prepares to commercialise the DCS 61-S system worldwide by the end of 2018, the company is developing a new generation of complementary products such as remote site monitoring systems, airspeed indicators, daytime and nocturnal warning lights, and cameras. One of these new products is the supervisor SUP 61, which enables remote monitoring and supervision of cranes on job sites in real time and from and from an operator’s point of view, via the Internet. 

“The SUP 61 enables managers to monitor site activity and visualise movements of cranes equipped with the DCS 61-S system on a screen from anywhere in the world if they have an Internet connection. It can supervise more than 60 cranes and record all information related to the positioning of cranes, such as orientation, translation, distribution, lifting and load, as well as the functions of the anti-collision system. Our next target is to develop similar anti-collision systems for mobile cranes,” says Bouajaj.

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