Crane operators able to lift their game with assistance from Ctrack

Ctrack takes pride in being able to monitor and manage movable assets of any shape or size, from small packages to large equipment across all sectors.

One industry that has been realising the huge benefits of Ctrack’s wide range of hardware and software solutions is that of cranes.

These heavy lifters that are invaluable in mining and construction operations are highly sophisticated pieces of machinery and their safe transportation and use is of critical importance.

“Our eco system of hardware and software has allowed us to handpick the devices and software from our vast offering and develop solutions that address many of the unique challenges that this industry faces,” says Hein Jordt, Chief Executive Officer of Ctrack Africa.

At the heart of the system is Ctrack’s data generator which features a three axis, 8g accelerometer and can accept a variety of data inputs from sensors including but not limited to the ignition, driver/operator ID, engine speed, GPS speed, RF sensors, Bluetooth or even unique parameters created by the SMILE script.

Ctrack SMILE allows for the setting up of geo-zones with pre-defined zone standing time where a warning buzzer will alert the operator before the time limit is reached. The benefit of this functionality includes customisable time settings for various standing zone types and real time notification of excessive standing time.

This system can be expanded even further with the addition of hardware devices that add remote immobilisation, breathalysers, 2-8 channel camera solutions and driver/operator identification functionality.

Ctrack also has the ability to unobtrusively gather data from the vehicles own CAN bus system, allowing access to unique data fields including hours used, hours used in crane mode, wind speed, maximum and actual load, working radius and the length of the boom.

All these data inputs work together to paint an accurate picture of how the crane is really being used and ensures that this machinery remains compliant and operates within prescribed safety parameters at all times.

In addition, productivity and utilisation can be more carefully controlled by monitoring proof of service, load adherence, operating hours, on-board weights, as well as monitoring operator behaviour.

Ctrack’s software solutions have the ability to overlay this data in an endless variety of ways. For example, actual load against the max load that the crane can handle based on the current wind speed, or speed and engine speed for an accurate reflection of how hard the engine is being pushed when performing a particular action. Fleet managers can even view an accurate report on lifting information, with detailed outputs on average load, max load and load utilisation.

The user-friendly, and fully customisable manner in which data is presented allows fleet managers to quickly identify any shortfalls, or implement improvements based on how the machinery is actually being used.

One of the companies that have realised these benefits, since incorporating a comprehensive Ctrack fleet management system, is Johnson Crane Hire, a mobile crane hire company that has been in operation since 1976. They operate a wide variety of cranes with lifting capacity ranging from 8 to 750 tons.

The cranes used by companies such as Johnson Crane Hire are colossal, complex machinery, with millions of rands worth of machinery attached to each. While there is a common misnomer that cranes are restricted to one site, the fact is, these gigantic machines travel between sites and even between provinces on a regular basis. Moving such large equipment on public roads comes with a multitude of risks, which needs to be carefully mitigated and managed. The Ctrack Bureau team along with the SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality) executive from Johnson Crane Hire work closely together to ensure all safety aspects are taken into account and executed to the highest of standards.

Furthermore, the intricacy of this machinery means that they need to be serviced regularly and these services are of critical importance, not just for the longevity of the machinery but also for the safety of the operating crew and cargo being lifted. With some cranes needing to be serviced every 500 hours, Ctrack’s devices can be pre-defined to send alerts at certain milestones, as in the example of Johnson Crane Hire. The platform will warn fleet managers when the crane reaches the 400-hour mark, allowing for an adequate window to plan for servicing. This then allows field service mechanics as well as in house workshop teams time to ensure sufficient parts and manpower availability, minimising downtime and ensuring that their fleet remains continuously operational within the safety guidelines, mitigating numerous risk factors.

“The value and risk associated with the use of this equipment necessitates precise monitoring and strict control and Johnson Crane Hire have found that Ctrack’s Fleet Management Solutions alongside their customized Bureau offering is the best solution for this need,” says Gavin Gaizley, Executive Maintenance and Technical, for Johnson Crane Hire.

Ctrack’s Bureau service ensures that dedicated, specialised fleet managers have eyes on their assets 24/7, ensuring that they are safely transported and operated within the specific requirements of the customer. Any transgressions of pre-determined parameters can immediately be dealt with, minimising risk and increasing efficiency. This strict control means that special permission is required to operate the equipment between certain time frames. With these added risks during those hours, permissions can be granted by the Bureau service when deemed necessary.

“Ctrack’s fleet management system ensures optimum use of every asset in a safe and compliant manner, managed by fleet management experts in our bureau service,” concludes Jordt.