A Bedfordshire, UK-based crane inspector utilised a Bluetooth-enabled, 6.5t capacity Radiolink plus load cell from Straightpoint (SP) to complete periodic inspection of an all-terrain crane recently. It was the latest in a series of similar assignments including load tests on lifting machines such as tower, loader, and other mobile cranes.
JG Statutory Inspection Services Ltd. (JGSIS) specialises in production of reports detailing the results of thorough inspections carried out on equipment, including cranes, which is required under law to be inspected periodically. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), for example, place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment.
In the latest case study, JGSIS used the Bluetooth Radiolink plus to inspect a 1,000t capacity Demag AC 1000-9/2 all-terrain telescopic crane for Baldwins Crane Hire. The nine-axle crane boasts an integrated electronic load moment indicator (LMI); a colour display showing current operating conditions, load charts, and a fault indicator; signal lights indicating the load; and a crane data logger.
The ongoing accuracy of such equipment must be checked and verification given to the crane owner for their records. Importantly, JGSIS wasn’t testing the 1,000t capability in this instance, but only verifying that the crane’s instruments were reading the same as the load cell. Additionally, the inspection team “jibbed out” until an overload situation was detected and recorded the measurements against a tape measure.
SP recently updated its Bluetooth capability and launched an enhanced version of its popular app. Load cells now use wireless technology for exchanging data over short distances to communicate with up to eight devices, carrying the information up to 100m (328 ft.) away. Collected data can be sent onto other recipients in the form of an Excel spreadsheet or PDF report. Industry professionals have noted the ability to send reports from the same device that captures data that is already on their person—such as a mobile or cell phone.
Philip Jenkins, director at JGSIS, said: “We live in a world where speed of delivery is important to everyone. The Bluetooth system allows me to record the data, attach a PDF report, and send it onto the customer even while I’m onsite—complete with GPS location. It also saves us looking for test weights or items with a known weight when we are onsite because we can use the load cell to verify the loads. Now we can confirm the weight of anything onsite, whether it be a concrete block or loaded skip, and utilise it for our testing procedures.”
JGSIS utilises the Bluetooth-enabled device’s suitability for use over relatively short distances. The app takes its name from SP’s Handheld plus display unit, which has a range of up to 700m (2,300ft.), while the Multiple Wireless Load Cell Controller (SW-MWLC) software package displays and logs data from up to 100 SP wireless load cells simultaneously. However, this technology is better suited to more demanding, specialist applications—not the focal point of the Bluetooth concept and unlikely to be necessary for crane inspection.
Philip Jenkins added: “When I first opened dialogue with SP we discussed the handheld option but it would have added the expense of an additional unit and the Bluetooth solution is far more straightforward and cost effective. Further, it presents us as a cutting edge inspection business using state-of-the-art equipment. There are other inspection companies out there but the cost for them to tool-up their engineers with the latest equipment would be deemed prohibitive so they are still using more traditional methods.”
JGSIS, which has been trading for approximately 18 months, originally took delivery of the Radiolink plus system following an 11th-hour request to load-test a series of Hiab loader cranes. David Mullard, business development manager at SP, who oversaw the process, said turnaround of the order within 24 hours emphasises the manufacturer’s ability to work with independent testing businesses that are often summoned to site at short notice.
All of SP’s wireless load cells can now be built as a Bluetooth version as an alternative to the standard wireless version, available on request or specified at time of order.