Hiab has further lifted the concept of loader crane user safety with the launch in Europe of a new generation operator protection system that creates a flexible 'virtual safety cage'.
Hiab's innovatory loader crane operator protection system (OPS) takes human safety to new heights by virtually eliminating the risk of a user being crushed by a vehicle-mounted loading crane.
The latest safety solution from Hiab is being introduced across Europe after successful development and testing since 2004 in Australia. The Hiab OPS system utilises boom and slew-mounted sensors to prevent crane booms moving into a green 'no go zone' protecting the operator and to enhance efficient and safe loading from all positions around the vehicle.
“Building upon our existing proven technology, the major benefits of the Hiab virtual cage system are that it does not reduce the productivity of the loader crane or create operator frustration,” says Lars Andersson, R&D Manager Structure Mechanic Hiab Loader Cranes.
“Leveraging our global experience of loader cranes in multiple applications and conditions, the new Hiab system is the optimum solution to prevent operator crush while maintaining productivity, efficiency and compliance with all vehicle loading crane considerations. I am delighted with the OPS technology; Hiab has always put a tremendous amount of work into safety and our customers reap the rewards.”
The HIAB Operator Protection System (OPS) protects operators by defining a virtual safety cage that the crane is prevented from moving into. The size and position of the virtual safety cage can be adjusted to fit any owner required vehicle-crane combination simply by making some mechanical adjustments and changing a few parameter settings in the SPACE system.
Hiab has ensured the system is adjusted to suit the way the crane is controlled. For cross-controlled cranes, the system is active at all times and can only be disabled by pressing and holding down a release button positioned close to the control levers on the valve side. For cranes fitted with an operator platform, the system is activated as soon as the operator steps onto the platform – and disables as soon as he steps down from it.
“Hiab's safety focus builds upon the belief that loader crane accidents should not be allowed to happen. Comprehensive operator training is essential, but beyond that Hiab has committed itself to developing safety technologies that permit operators to focus totally on their job. This means our safety commitment translates into enhanced efficiency, productivity and profitability,” says Lars Andersson.
The latest OPS system was trialled in Australia following a series of accidents in which operators were crushed by crane arms when driving the crane in situations rarely if ever seen in Europe. OPS for operator platforms has been covered by legislation in Europe – where remote controlled cranes have traditionally been far more popular than in Australia – since the mid-1990s following the introduction of the EU norm 12999. The Hiab OPS for cranes with cross control has been available in Europe as an optional extra, although no legislation exists demanding its installation.
Dave Middleton, founder and managing director of Mid Trans Transport Services Limited, based in Labrador, Queensland, some 90 km south of Brisbane, describes the Hiab OPS system as the ideal package. “It enhances operator safety without restricting the operation of the crane”, he said.
David Greig, delivery driver, Broadview Fencing, South Australia, says the Hiab OPS system has made his life much easier and safer.
“It enables me to move loads using my HIAB XS 055 B-2 Duo at any angle and allows me to operate in potentially hazardous domestic or commercial situations, which is a tremendous advantage. Safe 'cut out' on the OPS has been an asset when working at close quarters, particularly as I am on my own on delivery most of the time.”
David Greig added that sensitive control levers allows both fast or slow oil flow, enabling him to gently control 'delicate loads' to minimize damage and in particular OPS increases safer operation automatically.
All Hiab electronic safety functions are driven by the Hiab loader crane SPACE intelligence system concept. Running actively in the background, the SPACE system is designed to interfere as little as possible in the way an operator handles the crane during normal use. However, should a risk situation occur, the system steps in automatically to bring a particular movement to a gentle stop.
First conceived in mid-2004 in Australia, the Hiab OPS system has been successfully trialled by a number of Australian customers. Dave Middleton, founder and managing director of Mid Trans Transport Services Limited, based in Labrador, Queensland, some 90 km south of Brisbane, says the OPS system delivered by Hiab “is the ideal package” enhancing operator safety without restricting the operation of the crane.
“I would prefer if operators did not operate over the cab for safety reasons, but in reality delivering to building sites demands such operations. With Hiab's new models being fitted with OPS as standard, it means not only that we are purchasing the right equipment for the job but also being very serious about operator safety,” Dave Middleton said.
With 22 years experience in the transport industry, Dave Middleton started his company in 1997 with a 4-tonne tray top truck, which he operated himself for two years delivering building materials to site. Today, Dave operates 23 company trucks as well as some crane trailer configurations.
From the beginning, Dave has made Hiab his preferred crane supplier due to their productivity, service record and safety performance. “With the excellent service delivered over the years by Hiab and the low operating costs and safety features of their cranes, why would you even think of talking to another supplier,” Dave Middleton says.
The two latest additions in Dave's MidTrans fleet are two new generation Hiab cranes – the HIAB 085 D-4 Duo and the HIAB XS 088 B-2 Duo – both doing timber deliveries.
Boom angle sensors mounted on each of the two booms, and a third one mounted on the base of the crane will register the rotational angle and position of the booms. When a boom enters the perimeter of a predefined region around the operator, the OPS will not allow the boom to slew or be lowered into it, ensuring that no crushing hazards arise.
The Hiab Group is the world's leading supplier of on-road load handling equipment. The product range includes HIAB loader cranes, LOGLIFT and JONSERED forestry and recycling cranes, MULTILIFT demountables, ZEPRO, FOCOLIFT, AMA and WALTCO tail lifts, as well as MOFFETT and PRINCETON PIGGY BACK® truck-mounted forklifts. In 2006 Hiab's net sales totalled EUR 914 million, it delivered over 60,000 load handling units and employed 4,400 people. Hiab is part of Cargotec Corporation, the world's leading provider of cargo handling solutions.