Ever since the rise of personal computers and portable phones in the ’80s, humanity has been on the fast track of innovation; seldomly slowing to take a breath, but as we find space and take time to bask in all we’ve created, among the many algorithms and blue light screens, it seems hard to figure out where we’ll end up—likely a healthy mix between Ready Player One, Orwell’s 1984, and Blade Runner. I guarantee real-life Sci-fi has found its way into your life. Smart technologies have already begun to dominate our lives, just look down at your Apple Watch, or tell your Google Home to play Spotify, shout Alexa and ask her to buy more toilet paper for your stockpile, or toss on your VR headset and instantly travel to a destination on the other side of the globe.
Past the blockbuster drama and sea of LCD screens, it is an inevitable fact that humans become more and more intertwined with technology every day. The machines we use are smarter, faster, and communicate more efficiently.
American Crane is utilizing those advancements and building upon them in our Innovation Lab to better merge the world of overhead lifting and digital technology. One of our latest cutting-edge solutions: the new ACECO Smart Crane System, leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to continually collect machine status data for analysis.
What is the IoT? In the simplest terms, it’s an extension of internet and network connections to different sensors and devices embedded within industrial equipment and machinery. And its use is on the rise. According to the most recent MHI Annual Industry Report, IoT solutions are currently deployed by 21% of material handling equipment owners and are poised to be adopted by 80% of them within the next five years. Further, the report found that 45% of those surveyed believe IoT has the potential to disrupt the industry in a positive way or create a competitive advantage among those who use it; 39% say IoT supports ongoing operational improvements.
To support and utilize those findings, our ACECO Smart Crane System is designed and engineered to support real-time, wireless IoT communication with overhead handling equipment. This enhanced data exchange allows overhead handling equipment owners and operators to gain access to a variety of information about their systems, and to benefit from:
- Detailed remote monitoring information about travel, lift, and speeds; load weights; limit states; amperage ranges; and drive fault status.
- Collection and analysis of long-term, historic usage data for comparison and evaluation of trends in the Cloud.
- Detection of, and alerts about, unsafe conditions.
- Alerts to key personnel with event-based notifications via email or text when a pre-determined threshold has been reached.
- More accurate timing for scheduling predictive and preventive maintenance or repairs based on actual usage.
Customizable and scalable, the ACECO Smart Crane System can be provided with a new crane system or retrofitted into existing equipment. Its system architecture interfaces with any crane system equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs) for motor control and can be integrated into nearly any sensor embedded within the overhead equipment system. It consists of two separate solutions:
- SmartCrane loT – This system is artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality (XR) enabled for remote asset monitoring, improved performance, predictive maintenance and minimization or elimination of downtime through Cloud-based analytics.
- MachineHealth loT (MHloT) – Also AI- and XR-enabled, this machine health system monitors currents, vibrations, and temperature for cross-field industry applications. This comprehensive system allows for remote monitoring and Cloud-based predictive analytics to optimize performance, maintenance, and diagnostics.
Data collected by both of American Crane’s IoT solutions can be accessed in a centralized dashboard by both local and remote users via web browser or app. The Cloud-based dashboard offers graphical chart and table views of a broad range of data points. These include determination of Crane Manufacturer’s Association of America (CMAA) usage-based service classification (Class A-F); monitoring and more accurate predictions of component life spans based on speed, run time, and loading; precise scheduling of preventive maintenance and repair based on actual usage; trends in operation and function; and access to crane-specific design documentation, inspection reports, and user manuals.
Additionally, application of the ACECO Smart Crane System is not limited to overhead lifting. It can also be adapted to work with any other material handling equipment utilizing VFDs for motion control and operation. That allows users to gain the same monitoring and preventive maintenance benefits on other machinery within their facilities.
If you’re ready to have a more intelligent system communicate with your overhead lifting equipment, we’d love to make that happen. Connect with us today to learn more and Let’s step into the future together!