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A Safer Working Environment With Hiab Cranes

May 10, 2010 - 9 years ago

By Supply Post

Cargotec complies with the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC throughout the entire Hiab crane range. Cargotec's product development teams have worked long hours in putting the new Machinery Directive into practice. As a result, the cranes have now been equipped with the new, required features, increasing the safety and productivity of crane users.

Cargotec has a long track record in launching pioneering technology and features for loader cranes. In the 1940s, Eric Sundin, the inventor of the loader crane, went to great lengths to prevent accidents and improve efficiency. He knew what he was aiming for, as he was not only the inventor but also an end user of this magnificent machine. For the very same reasons Hiab, the world's first knuckle boom crane manufacturer, introduced electronic functions in the early 1990s. On 29 December 2009, Cargotec took its next major step by complying with the new Machinery Directive, in order to enhance end user safety.

Prioritising safety and productivity

The Machinery Directive provides the regulatory basis for the harmonisation of essential health and safety requirements for machinery at European Union level. This is done through a combination of mandatory health and safety requirements and voluntary harmonised standards. The new Directive's primary aim is to save lives by minimising worksite accidents.

All cranes manufactured must comply with the new Directive as of 29 December 2009. In addition, all manufacturers must complete a risk and conformity assessment procedure, demonstrate compliance with safety standards and provide all of the necessary documentary evidence. "As there was no transitional period, we wanted to ensure that we were completely up-to-date, properly informed and that we complied in time," says Bengt Söderholm, Product Manager for XS Loader Cranes at Cargotec.

The greater the stability, the higher the capacity

The new Machinery Directive places strict requirements on stability supervision and safety. Accordingly, numerous new features and technological solutions have been implemented on Hiab cranes, to render them more productive and avoid worksite accidents.

One of the new, innovative features designed for loader and recycling cranes is the Variable Stability Limit (VSL). This is a safety feature that regulates the crane's capacity in relation to its stability. In some cases, this can even extend the working area. For instance, a crane user can have a crane with increased capacity in some, earlier limited working areas and go for a leaner selection of stabilizer extensions by refraining slightly from capacity in others. VSL maximises capacity in relation to stability by registering how far stabiliser extensions are extended and ensures that legs are set firmly on the ground. The crane operator can thus focus on the job in hand, while the SPACE system monitors the vehicle's stability. Furthermore, the VSL not only protects the crane operator, but also people in the vicinity as well as the crane and vehicle, by ensuring stability during load handling.

"This technical solution was selected with a focus on the crane users' needs. The SPACE system, for example, was designed in such a way that it informs the operator about the status of the equipment. In addition, extensive lab tests were carried out in order to ensure component quality. On the other hand, field tests verified that the selected solutions worked as planned in tough environments, as well as passing our tough quality requirements. Tests were carried out in close co-operation with operators, who provided valuable and positive feedback," states Söderholm.

Numerous new features

Another new feature of Hiab cranes lies in the warning lights fitted on top of each stabiliser leg. Warning lights provide the crane operator with information on the crane and stabilisers' status, as well as alerting pedestrians, passing traffic and people working in the vicinity that the crane is at work. Cranes featuring remote controlled stabilisers are fitted with an extra, precautionary, safety function - a button which you have to press to confirm that you have a full view of the stabilisers prior to operating them. Swivelling footplates adjust perfectly to ground inclination, meaning that stabilisers always provide the best possible support for the crane.

The Upgraded Operator Protection System (OPS) provides additional safety by defining a "virtual protection cage" which enables the electronic blocking of areas from boom movement. With OPS, it is now possible to customise the cage by blocking several sectors of various sizes. This new feature provides the operator with clearly improved protection, when operating the crane from a fixed control station. Furthermore, it can also be used to protect the truck cabin, the platform or other on-vehicle equipment.

An investment for everyone's benefit

For Cargotec, compliance with the new Machinery Directive is ultimately about the continuous development of end users' safety and productivity. New features developed in compliance with the Machinery Directive not only directly benefit Hiab cranes, but also partners installing our cranes. "The new auxiliary stabiliser kit, for example, has all the features required for compliance with the Machinery Directive. This makes compliance very easy when building crane bodies," explains Söderholm.

All key personnel at Cargotec have been trained in the Machinery Directive, its effects as well as the related documentation, installation requirements and new crane features. Cargotec's teams are now in the frontline, paving the way and sharing their expertise with various partners and customers.

"We care about our customers, who should always have access to the most advanced technological solutions available. By complying with the Machinery Directive, we are also prepared to help our customers and partners comply. The result is an even safer working environment, enabling lighter installations and increased capacity in certain working areas, while ensuring our cranes' user-friendliness. These are advantages that will come across to our customers and partners," Söderholm summarises.

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