29. 11. 2012

CCS - Crane Control System

Company Manitowoc Cranes has introduced new crane operating system called ICOS – Intuitive Crane Operating System. Lets have a look at it !


Note  .. this control system was remaned to CCS - Crane Control System. Now in each new crane type you will find this CCS shortcut, which tells that the crane is equipped by this most modern control system.

The new ICOS displays
The new ICOS displays
There are many operating systems amongst Manitowoc Cranes products. Mobile cranes, truck mounted cranes, rough terrain cranes, tower cranes, crawler lattice boom cranes and other cranes, each type has some system to be controlled and operated. Then there is LMI, safety device, which controls crane stability. Every crane group uses own way of LMI. You can imagine how many systems have to be supported by CraneCARE, how costly is to keep many spare parts and how broad knowledge must be held in service engineers heads :).

Someone in Manitowoc Cranes came with this idea to unify control and safety crane systems on own products in to one. Then there was a competition to develop such system in between Manitowoc development departments. The winner of all is ICOS, the Intuitive Crane Operating System. ICOS is going to be used in all new models (and all redeveloped models) of Manitowoc, Grove, Potain and National Cranes.

ICOS processing units
ICOS processing units
ICOS is quite similar to current ECOS generation by its design, I guess. There are some processing units (ESX ?), I/O boxes, control levels (joysticks), displays, pedals, buttons and very new control interface called jog dial. Similar control device, jog dial, can be seen in better equipped cars. All those devices are connected via CAN-BUS lines.
Operator’s seat with ICOS contros
Operators seat with ICOS contros
Detailed view on the very new control interface, jog dial
The color displays are relatively big, with good resolution, bright and glossy. It can display video from the crane video cameras too. In the current ICOS version there are two displays, one on top of second. The upper one usually shows info from LMI module, the downer one then crane control information. Both displays are same, changeable.

Great idea is to share same hardware for all products. It means less number of spare parts is needed; operators will be familiar with the system which ever Manitowoc product they will operate. Service engineers are going to be happy too, the system is very similar in any type of Manitowoc future crane.

What will be different (of course) is the software. Each crane type will get its own software package based on same philosophy. I think there are going to be used software modules, which will cooperate for each crane type in its programmed way.

-          LMI module
-          Crane control module
-          IBOX module – Innovative Boom Control System
-          WADS module - Work Area Definition System
and more modules depend of crane type.

IBOS - Intuitive Boom Operating System

IBOS - Intuitive Boom Operating System - is a software module for cranes with telescopic booms. It controls the boom extension and it gives to operator excellent information which boom configuration can be optimal for intended work.

How does it work ? The crane operator can insert one of known work parameters:
-          weight of load
-          working radius
-          expected boom length
When one of these parameter is inserted, the IBOS calculates optimal boom configuration to reach that parameter including estimated time for boom re-configuration. The results of calculation are sorted in lines by either the strongest boom configuration or by the time needed for boom reconfiguration.

IBOS found the optimalised boom configuration for given parameter
Then the crane operator chooses his favorite boom configuration from the given selection, confirms it and by move of joysticks gives a signal to the ICOS to telescope boom in to new setting. The ICOS then telescope the boom automatically, no needs of any further step from operator.

This IBOS makes life of crane operator much easier. There is no needs to work with paper load charts anymore. The system offers optimal configuration for given parameters plus the operator now gets very clear information about time needed to reach new boom configuration. Excellent !

LMI – Load moment indicator

The LMI module replaces all previous safety systems (EKS / PAT / Wylie …. ) which are used on cranes from Manitowoc Cranes group. The LMI module is basic information channel for operator while the crane works. It gives clear information about boom position, superstructure angular position, actual weight on the hook, maximal permissive weight on the hook, actual working radius.

Before any work the very first step for operator is to set the crane configuration in to the LMI module. The LMI has to get  (or to be confirmed) information about :
-          outrigger position
-          counterweight mass
-          if boom or jib is to be used
-          if main or auxiliary hoist is to be used
-          number of parts of line
the set configuration can be re-set in to LMI anytime.

The LMI module supervises the crane stability. It compares the actual weight on hook with the calculated permissible load given by load chart of the crane actual configuration. When the actual weight on the hook is affecting crane stability the LMI module takes over the crane control and slows or stops the crane moves.

LMI module working display
LMI module working display
The LMI module action is programmed based on the crane target country laws and regulations. CE marked cranes for market in Europe have LMI programmed with load chard in accordance to DIN/ISO EN 13000.

EN13000 equipped operator’s cab
EN13000 equipped operators cab
CE marked cranes have to inform all personas around the crane about the actual crane stability. It is done by light bar with green, yellow and red lights and very laud sound buzzer. The LMI module controls this information device too.

WADS - Work Area Definition System

WADS is a standard feature in ICOS. This module allows the operator to pre-set limits of safe working area.

Operator sets in WADS module:
-          maximal tip height
-          angular sector of superstructure slewing
-          maximal working radius

The module then watches for the given borders and gives a warning or stops the crane move when the selected border is reach.

The very first crane type to use this new ICOS system is very new GROVE RT550E. Then a new type of GROVE GMK is going to be introduced soon. The ICOS is going to be used on every new crane type and modernized crane type from Manitowoc Cranes.

The very first crane using ICOS is this new GROVE RT550E
The very first crane using ICOS is this new GROVE RT550E

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