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Crane Cameras Remove the Blind Spots – Metal Flow

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Contributed by the experts at HoistCam

Metal processing facilities which use overhead cranes as a major component of their finishing operations face a unique challenge when it comes to picking rolls of steel. Overhead crane operators must frequently make blind picks. When there is no spotter on the ground, a camera mounted on the trolley of the overhead crane gives the operator a direct line of sight around loads.

“Often, in the process of picking a roll of steel, the operator has to confirm that the grapple attachment is placed directly on either side of the steel in order to move it. Sometimes, the operator must also navigate walls of steel to set that roll behind the walls. Placement can be dangerous or precarious,” says Chris Machut, chief technology officer with Netarus, LLC, developer of the HoistCam wireless camera system. A wireless system, accessed via a screen in the operator’s cab, makes an ideal operator aid.

“Often operators are solely relying on someone else’s eyes to direct the crane positioning. A wireless camera system provides you the same benefit as a backup camera on a car, providing an operator’s aid for standard safety practices,” adds Machut.

Further, when a spotter is not available, it falls on the crane operator to decide how to handle the pick. In a facility where various attachments, such as grapples, J-hooks, and Heppenstahl attachments are used on a regular basis, “a camera system gives the operator the ability to a make better, more informed decisions about that pick in the area where direct sight of the load is not possible. It allows the operator to see the problem,” he explains.

A camera system does not take the controls away from the operator, he notes. Instead, the device allows the operator to make better decisions prior to, during and after the pick. A wireless system is an ideal solution for several reasons, including ease of deployment. Many systems are easily installed and ready to serve as an operator-aid immediately. The ruggedness of the platform is key, as well. The system should be designed for harsh environments, such as service centers. Serviceability of the platform is also crucial. Finally, a wireless system, such as the HoistCam, is designed to intentionally avoid causing interference with other wireless systems in the mill or service center environment.

HoistCam, Norfolk, Va., is a crane camera manufactured by Netarus, LLC, Norfolk, Va. For more information, call 757-819-4600 or visit www.hoistcam.com.

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