Three innovations shown at CeMAT in October are reinforcing this idea.

Demag’s strategic alliance with mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson has led to a change in the way remote controls are being used. A new feature of the DRC range is that the crane’s receiver can accept commands from many different transmitters. Users can assign a new transmitter – either pushbutton or joystick – from a computer menu.

Technology Link America’s Random access series claims to take the job of reassigning radio remote controls to cranes to a new level. The company will start manufacturing remote controls and displays that can link together later this year, according to president Terrance Williams. The system includes displays on both handsets and crane bridges. The factory assigns cranes a letter and control transmitters a number, and then users can link transmitter to receiver.

The US-based company is gearing up to launch a transmitter that crane users can assign to a particular crane. The standard system can link any of 12 cranes to 31 operators. LCD feedback displays on the transmitter and crane bridge confirm the selections.

The company has also developed a key switch at the rear that can link any two available cranes to run from the same remote control.

The two-year-old company manufactures the transmitters and receivers in a wholly-owned Korean manufacturing subsidiary.

Both systems cater for users who supply a different remote control transmitter for each user. Williams says that it is about accountability. He says that some of his customers are buying two or three remotes a month to replace damaged units.

HBC Radiomatic has a middle way; although it uses one transmitter, it offers the accountability of many different ones. Among the safety features of Its Micron 6 pushbutton radio remote transmitter is a pin code entry system – the receiver can be unlocked by many different operator pin codes (the exact number is undecided). The radio remote control configuration is stored on a new chip that can be swapped between transmitters. Also, the micron 6 transmitter also contains a drop sensor that shuts off the transmitter in the event of a roll, a fall greater than 1m, or a shock – such as hitting the transmitter against a hard surface.