Remote control need not be an expensive gadget. In fact, two new products on the market are designed to be as low-cost and simple as possible. The simpler of the two is HBC Radiomatic’s Cubix remote control, which comes in two versions. “Cubix is made for end users who don’t need radio control for working three shifts. It is intended for small customers who just have one, two or three cranes and who do not want to spend too much money,” says HBC sales director Karl-Heinz Günther. “It is a cost-effective alternative to all the other products we have.” The 508 Cubix, which transmits to receiver model 508, sells for E 900 in Germany, though , Günther says that price comparison from country to country is not straightforward. It has only six buttons ­ hoist, long travel, horn and emergency stop ­ and uses a total of eight relays to transmit this information to the receiver. Lacking cross-travel control, the device is suitable only for small chain hoists or monorails, probably limiting the 508 Cubix’s applications to hoists with lifting capacities of a few tonnes.

The 514 Cubix, designed for small standard cranes, has eight buttons for hoisting, long travel and cross travel, plus horn and emergency stop, with a total of 12 relays. It costs about 15% more, selling for E 1,050 in Germany.

Design innovations for HBC on the Cubix include a rubber-protected exterior (“nowadays when you develop a new product, you like to change the design,” says Günther), and a new RF transmission module. It can also be recharged without removing the battery, unlike other models. The Cubix transmits on a frequency between 868-870MHz in Europe and between 902-928MHz in the USA. It runs on 42V-240V AC.

Also new is SWF’s Radiomatic 2 hoist radio remote control, built by a leading remtoe control systems manufacturer specifically for SWF to market with its Nova range of hoists. The Radiomatic 2 S11 and F13 are intended to attract those who have never specified a remote control, and who might want extra monitoring features like the load on the hook or safe working period of the hoist, displayed on the control.

The low-end version, the S11, costs only 25% more than a wired-in pendant control, according to SWF.

The E 1,520 price may convince many to spend a bit more to get radio.

  “Five years ago a radio remote control was a luxury item. We reckon it is a very strong market. In about five years time, basically every crane will have a standard radio control,” says SWF sales and marketing manager Jürgen Dlugi. “Radio is more ergonomic,” Dlugi says, adding that users have much more freedom to move around while controlling a load than with a pendant.

The S11 has eight two-step buttons, two each for hoisting, long and cross travel, plus power, a horn and a single-position emergency stop button.

The larger device, the F13, is SWF’s first radio remote control with display. The company chose a push-button model because of its lower capital cost compared to joystick models. “We wanted to have an advantage against our competitors. We want to have more to offer on a standard crane,” says Dlugi. It displays statistics generated by SWF’s hoist electronic management system NovaMaster.

The Radiomaster 2 control with display, the F13, does all of the above, and also controls two hoists, either one at a time or both, using a selector switch. (It has a total of 13 transmission relays). It costs E 2,110 but for display functions relies on the NovaMaster monitoring system, which can double the cost of the hoist, says Dlugi. The control can also be specified with an LCD readout of the weight on the hook, remaining crane lifetime, information about the brake and the number of starts and stops. The remote control receives this information from SWF’s NovaMaster positioning system.

The Radiomaster 2 can transmit on more frequencies than its predecessor ­ up to 24. Button-press combinations control frequency switching. The remote control uses free frequencies, around 870Mhz in Europe, 902MHz-928MHz in the USA and runs on an input of 48V, 115V or 230V AC.