Siemens helps PAR Systems increase safety in crane operations

  Siemens helps PAR Systems increase crane safety

It has happened too often: injuries, deaths and equipment damage due to crane accidents. The complex work that cranes handle material handling in aerospace, automotive and metal processing can lead to dangerous and costly accidents. How common is the problem? According to the Crane Inspection and Certification Bureau (CICB), approximately 80 crane deaths occur each year. Of all crane related incidents, 90% are due to human error, 50% of total incidents result in death, and 40% of total incidents involve someone hit by the crane or any object the crane lifts or moves. Most of these errors correlate with a lack of operator training.

The Solution

Fortunately, recent advances in digital technologies have encouraged innovation in crane control, and new solutions have been developed that are safer and smarter. A cranes modernization solution was developed to help operators reduce load fluctuation by 95%. This solution, EXPERTOPERATOR, was developed by PaR Systems (PaR). PaR is a global manufacturer of advanced solutions for automation, robotics and specialty material handling. PaR supports global customers in the automotive, aerospace, nuclear, life science, marine and other core industries.

EXPERTOPERATOR is an advanced crane motion control system that is fully implemented in the Siemens platform. The system uses devices such as Simatic S7 controllers, Simatic HMI panels and Scalance W Industrial wireless modules. Unique algorithms within the PaR software allow crane operators to control the movements of payloads, such as payloads. B. Dies and coils in automotive stamping, easier, faster and safer to control. EXPERT OPERATOR is most effective for applications requiring high throughput and precise load handling to meet production requirements and prevent collisions with sensitive equipment and personnel. EXPERTOPERATOR is currently installed on more than 150 cranes worldwide – many of which are in the automotive, primary metal and heavy machinery industries. Users have stated that EXPERTOPERATOR has allowed operators to control their crane loads with 95% fewer pendulums and 90% fewer "close calls" or collisions. Optional modules for the EXPERT OPERATOR platform provide robust zone control, sideload / snag prophylaxis, and automatic load positioning.

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EXPERT OPERATOR improves staff safety, reduces equipment failure, increases efficiency, and reduces maintenance costs in more than 150 installations

  1. EXPERT OPERATOR minimizes payload movement by intercepting an operator's commands and adjusting the output to that of a seasoned operator. Thus, operator concentration can focus on the load as well as on the immediate environment of the adjacent manufacturing facility rather than controlling the load variations. Therefore, both the load and the surrounding equipment are less likely to be damaged.
  2. Many of PaR's customers conduct operations around the clock and report significant productivity improvements. For example, one customer in a high-throughput locomotive manufacturing process reported that the critical off-load positioning time was reduced from about four minutes to less than two minutes. This result is not atypical. End users using the EXPERT OPERATOR typically report 10 to 50% less load positioning time.
  3. The increased productivity is partly due to the reduction in load swing, which makes crane operation more efficient. The intense manual manipulation normally required by an operator to reduce load changes is replaced by a simpler manipulation task: positioning a stabilized and vibration free load. The evidence that EXPERTOPERATOR makes cranes easier to operate is supported by data collected by studies of operators measuring the frequency of button presses. While using the technology, operators pressed the pendulum keys 60-80% less than the same manipulation task without EXPERT OPERATOR. This metric shows that fewer commands are required to manipulate a no-vibration load.
  4. New operators using the technology generally work as well or better than their experienced colleagues using conventional cranes. This technology effectively accelerates the speed with which operators learn to drive safely and efficiently.
  5. Every time a crane operator presses a button, electrical current flows through the power section of the drives. The current also flows into the motors, which spreads the torque in the mechanical drive train to the gears, wheels and finally the rails of the crane infrastructure. If the number of starts, stops, and surges is reduced by 60-80% with EXPERT OPERATOR, the life of this critical device will increase. This improves MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) statistics by a factor of 2-3 and reduces maintenance costs. PaR Systems relied on Siemens for reliability and quality.
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In the field of crane handling, radio-frequency is a decisive factor. The Scalance W wireless solution from Siemens provided PaR Systems with a reliable and predictable wireless component. PaR has had experience with third-party wireless solutions in the past, which were problematic both from a functional and a manufacturer support point of view. The Scalance W wireless solution can be configured to operate in a less crowded frequency range (5 GHz), allowing a more robust radio signal. Since installing Siemens Scalance W wireless modules as part of their solutions, customers have experienced 100% availability of their wireless communications. In addition, Scalance Wireless Modules will be delivered with Siemens Technical Support to customers and OEMs. Time-to-market is also important to PaR Systems in delivering customer solutions. The Siemens subsidiary Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) provided a platform for reducing development time with simulation tools, productivity tools for programmers and additional diagnostic options. PaR Systems profited from the possibilities when programming the Simatic S7 controllers and the Simatic HMI panel. They were able to change the cycle time of the main control circuit during runtime, which is crucial for optimizing the performance of their unique motion control. The debugging features have been improved as the tool monitors values ​​and updates programs in real time for immediate feedback. Such tasks, which are tedious and time-consuming on other platforms, happen automatically and dynamically when using Siemens TIA solutions.

Material handling requires a balance between precision, efficiency, productivity and, above all, safety. Collaboration between PaR Systems and Siemens will allow new and experienced crane operators around the world to perform their tasks safely and contribute to greater plant safety and operational efficiency.

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 Siemens helps PAR Systems increase safety in crane operations

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