Since the dawn of time, humans have relied on cranes to carry out important work on building sites. From the time of the Ancient Greeks to the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, cranes have been integral in material handling and transport.
In modern times, cranes continue to evolve. They have diversified into all commercial sectors including the construction industry, metal and concrete manufacturing, heavy rescue operations, offshore oil exploration and production.
As construction jobs heavily rely on cranes, with contractors regularly purchasing or hiring cranes and securing related operating and maintenance services, their technology must constantly aim for new heights. Below, we highlight five innovations in crane technology.
1. Software solutions
Cranes are not exempt from the impact of the digital revolution.
Enhanced crane software is changing the way operators work with cranes. New digital features that are changing the way cranes work include software like programmable, customizable operating systems (OS) and self-diagnostic tests.
A customizable OS provides a simple interface for crane operators to work with entirely autonomous self-erecting tower cranes. The ability to operate cranes remotely improves operational efficiency while increasing ease of use and safety.
Cranes with tech-savvy self-diagnostic tests are a big breakthrough in cost-efficiency, but more importantly, in safety. New digital monitoring and analytical technology enable cranes to inform operators of potential accident hazards or production risks.
2. Modular crane designs
Recent innovations in engineering technology have created a market for modular crane systems.
These intelligently designed modules enable cranes to meet your project’s specific application requirements. The modular crane design is compact, energy- and cost-efficient, and can be easily configured to scale with your business.
This new crane technology is adaptive, offering robust features that can change or be added according to business needs.
3. Simulation technology
As cranes are highly specialized construction equipment, crane operators must remain on the cutting edge of technology. Operator training is crucial in improving job site safety and work productivity.
New software has enhanced crane operator training, resulting in increasingly skilled operators. Crane simulators serve to provide enhanced crane training in a controlled virtual environment.
These virtual simulators are a valuable tool in operator training. Not only do simulators significantly reduce training time and costs, but they can also be customizable to meet the operator’s needs.
What’s more, crane simulators are always available for training, allowing crane operators to readily upskill their knowledge and expertise as new technologies get introduced.
4. Smaller capacity focus
Cranes are stereotypically viewed as large, behemoth machines, towering over building sites. Innovations in crane design have resulted in new, smaller cranes, which are significantly more energy-efficient.
This new crane segment represents an innovative upgrade over the previous traditional crane design. Construction firms looking for greater mobility, versatility, and performance will do well to employ cranes throughout their job sites.
New, smaller cranes are designed to operate in tighter spaces and can be rapidly deployed in less than a day. They can also position loads with greater exactness and their height and structure make them ideal for building private houses and small- to medium-size residential buildings up to six stories high. They are generally known as self-erecting cranes and Active Crane Hire has an extensive range of models.
5. Environmental responsibility
As the construction industry has a measurable environmental impact, technology has developed a sustainable green design to mitigate construction’s impact on the environment.
To meet changing demands and to comply with new environmental laws, cranes have adopted alternative energy as renewable power sources. Electric-powered cranes are emission-free and reduce the disruption and stress imposed on the local residential environment.
Crane manufacturing is also continuously improving to become more environmentally sustainable. Cranes are being equipped with technology like Auto Idle Stop (AIS) to avoid fuel waste and provide better fuel economy during standby periods.
Cranes fit for the future
With urbanization continuing to push the demand for construction cranes, innovative technology is augmenting the efficiency of cranes, resulting in cranes that are energy- and cost-efficient, reliable, and versatile.
New crane technology is allowing general contracting companies to scale their business and get a greater return on their investment. As crane technology continues to advance, expect to see intelligently designed cranes make legacy systems obsolete.