State of the art diagnostics for all cranes



Barry W. Wiles, Industry Manager – Crane Systems, Avtron Manufacturing Inc., Independence, OH, USA


Diagnostics for crane systems come in a variety of formats and capabilities. Systems are generally dedicated to a particular manufacturer’s control system and users must adopt their design. As ports add more cranes to their facilities, owners can have a variety of systems to maintain all with varying capabilities. Avtron has developed a solution for this problem in its CraneView™ Crane Management Systems (CMS).

CraneView offers a high level of diagnostic capabilities in a flexible package. CraneView has been developed to communicate with most control systems and allows ports to standardise on a control platform of their choice. CraneView can be supplied on new cranes or be installed on existing ones.

This offers ports the ability to have a common diagnostic interface across their facility. CraneView is a graphical system that is designed to serve users of all abilities to access information. Systems are provided with a touchscreen terminal that can be mounted almost anywhere to provide convenient access to the cranes  information. Multi-level password protection also ensures that changes can not be made by unauthorised personnel and allows information to be customised to various classes of users such as operators, maintenance or engineering.

Follow the bouncing ball

CraneView’s principal design concept is its ability to access information from several directions in a graphical format. This allows the user multiple paths to the  information accessing it in the most efficient manor. Craneview is designed to get a cranes control system back into operation in a matter of minutes. A graphical interface provides details of the physical layout of the crane, its equipment locations and panel structure. When a fault or warning condition occurs, two things happen.

First, a fault or warning is logged into the database and message is posted at the bottom of the screen. Next, the area of the crane where the problem has occurred is alarmed by blinking red. Touching the alarmed area links the operator to additional information about the alarm. If the user is at the top level of the crane, pressing the
alarmed area opens the next detailed picture until the control panel and electrical components are found. Operating in this format, allows CraneView to walk the user through the system directly to the device that has caused the problem.

A picture is worth a thousand words

CraneView uses graphical pages to guide users through the troubleshooting process. From the top level of the crane to the individual components, graphics provide pictorial information making troubleshooting faster and easier. The system is designed with a number of layers each designed to provide more detail to the operator or technician to as they investigate alarms or faults. It is like peeling back the layers of an onion to get to the causeof the alarm. Simply touching the screen in the appropriate area opens the next level of the system or additional information on a component.

Pictures are generally easier to monitor than reading text or numbers. Showing the user the crane or a particular panel layout in a graphical format expedites the  troubleshooting process. Instead of reading a text description or message, users simply see the diagnostic path unfold in front of them. Once the problem area is located, the user can then match the graphical picture on the screen with the actual equipment and its location to determine the corrective action. This reduces precious time in locating and troubleshooting the equipment.

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