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Hoosier Crane: Maintaining Control


Control Systems for Overhead Cranes

Control systems for electrified overhead cranes allow an operator to control the movement of the crane and the hoist. The operator can control the motion of the crane as it moves up and down the runway or runways, the positioning and movement of the hoist, and the actual lifting motion. Operators can handle these controls from a cab that is attached to the crane or from the floor using more mobile technology

In recent years the trend has been to move operators out of the cabs and locate them in positions on the floor where they are closer to the load and have better vision to move and lift loads. The systems used by operators on the floor are a push button pendant system that is attached to the crane, or a wireless control using a radio transmitter and receiver.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of pendant systems and wireless radio systems?

Pendant Systems (Advantages)

Reliability: Pendant systems are still very popular today because of their reliability. The are hard wired into the hoist or a festoon system and there are no interference problems that sometimes happen with radio transmitters.

Convenience: They are also convenient. Ergonomic design changes have made them more comfortable for the operator to use. Pendants today are much smaller and lighter than they once were and can be operated using one hand.

Durability: Because they are suspended they are much more resistant to damage from dropping and damage from corrosion, moisture, dirt, and grime.

Accessibility: The pendant is always readily available since it hangs down from the crane itself. The operator doesn’t have to worry about finding it or keeping track of it like they would with a radio transmitter.


Safety: Using a pendant control puts the operator closer to the loads. Putting the operator closer to the loads can increase the chance of an accident or exposure to harmful materials. Also, because the operator must move along with the load there is an increased risk of tripping and falling.

Speed: Overhead cranes that are in high-use duty cycles, can move up and down the runway quickly and it can be difficult or impossible for the operator to keep up using a pendant system. In situations where a process crane or a Class D, E, or F crane are being used, it’s much more practical for the operator to control the crane from a cab or by using a radio control.

Wiring Issues: The pushbutton controls can get caught on machines or other obstructions within a crane bay, which can cause the pendant to become disconnected from the crane. In addition, the wires inside the pushbutton cable can break over time due to pulling and catching on obstructions and obstacles as it moves down the crane bay.

Radio Controls (Advantages)

Safety: Using a radio control for your overhead crane eliminates the dependence on being tethered to the crane itself. Because the operator doesn’t have to be near the load to lift, position, or lower it, radio controls can help protect them from accidents and hazardous materials.

Speed: They’re ideal for higher duty classes like D, E, or F where the crane runs up and down the runways more often, and at a faster rate.

Productivity:  Because only one operator is required to control the crane from the ground, you no longer need a team of two or three workers operating a crane from a cab and the floor to lift, move, and lower loads via hand signals. Productivity can also be improved with better visibility--helping with faster load positioning and damage control as the operator can better judge load and clearance obstacles from the ground.

Analytics: Advanced engineered radio controls can also provide diagnostics and data information to the crane operator or to a service technician who is on site to inspect or service an overhead crane.Disadvantages

Reliability: One word, batteries. They run o9n batteries and we all know what happens to batteries. There is always that chance that the batteries will go dead or won’t be charged enough to do a job.

Productivity: Again, batteries. If batteries are not checked routinely and kept properly charged you can lose production time.

Damage/Replacement costs: They are more likely to get damaged because they are handled more and are not suspended like pendants. They are also more likely to be dropped.

Interference: There are some environments that create their own radio waves and those may interfere with the radio control communication that takes place between the transmitter and receiver.

If you want more information please feel free to contact us at (800) 509-6131 or Email Us

You can also check our estore for information and pricing on control systems