Internet-connected cranes can increase safety, productivity

Launched in
2011, Konecranes’ TRUCONNECT Remote Monitoring and Reporting
is an example of the real benefits of the much-hyped “Internet of Things” trend, according to the
company. Brent Balinski spoke to Konecranes’ Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Warren Ashton about the company’s innovation, which earned it a finalist spot in last year’s Endeavour Awards. 

“Yes –
there are real cost benefits, helping to increase operational efficiency as
well as reduced safety risks from poor operator habits,” Ashton told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

The
advanced connectivity of devices is being seen in more and more places, and
users of cranes can take advantage of this.

TRUCONNECT
is available for the Finland-based company’s CXT and Smarton lines of cranes.
Adoption gives users a clear view of usage through continuous data collection,
displayed on the web over a secure customer portal.

Worldwide,
about 7,500 cranes are being monitored using the system. The uptake in
Australia has been “cautious”, conceded Ashton, with 200 active connections so far.

“But those
who have installed the technology are experiencing real benefits in terms of
safety, reliability and being better able to plan maintenance and servicing
programs,” he added.

According
to Konecranes, there are three distinct benefits from the real-time monitoring
system.

These are
in capturing and presenting safety issues (such as overloads and emergency
stops) to users, optimising maintenance at the correct time (based on usage and
not a calendar), and telling the user the remaining service life of the crane
and its components.

The option
of safety alerts via text message or email is available as an add-on.

Among the
benefits, importantly, is a better use of an asset – the crane – by a company
and economic benefits from this.

“Sometimes
the operator may be using the crane in a less than ideal way, which could
reduce the overall efficiency of operations,” said Ashton.

“While
there is nothing technically wrong from a safety point of view, in many cases,
operational efficiency can be increased by making small adjustments, which
leads to better profitability.”

Konecranes
has been operating in Australia for nearly three decades.
It is one of 48 countries in which it offers lifting equipment and services,
and operates at 626 locations worldwide.

Within
Australia and New Zealand it has over 1,000 customers, with manufacturers
making up a major chunk of this number.

“Our major
industries are mining, manufacturing, power generation, paper, water and
steel,” said Ashton.

“Manufacturing
is one of our key industries, and while it’s difficult to put an exact number
on it, it definitely makes up a large proportion of our business.”

The
benefits of the company’s TRUCONNECT technology to the manufacturing sector saw
Konecranes recognised as a finalist in the Safety Scheme category in the 2014
Endeavour Awards
.

Overall,
they were part of a record field of entrants (138 overall, nearly double 2013’s number).

Konecranes
believes that, especially given the cost conscious nature of the industry in Australia,
TRUCONNECT is a worthwhile offering.

“Those who
have installed the technology are experiencing real benefits in terms of
safety, reliability and being better able to plan maintenance and servicing
programs,” finished Ashton.

To read
about and to enter the 2015 Endeavour Awards, visit this
website
. Nominations are free, and all finalists receive two free
tickets to the event’s gala dinner, held in Melbourne during National
Manufacturing Week.


Image: http://www.konecranes.com.au

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