Is bigger better as remote controls with larger displays trend?
19 August 2021
The move towards remote controls with larger screens for monitoring vast amounts of data.
More than a year ago, when the global coronavirus pandemic was a relatively new in April 2020, we commented on the parallels between social distancing and remote controls (RCs) where maintaining distance was key to providing safety.
Fast forward 12 months and the parallels continue, this time with technology providing the link. The use of technology enabled many people to continue working from home during the Covid-19 crisis and scientists used cutting edge techniques to develop vaccines.
German radio control manufacturer HBC-radiomatic, stressed the importance of technology to its business. Oliver Meister, head of PR and marketing at HBC-radiomatic, explained, “As a global technology leader we continuously develop our radio systems and our range of services, so that we are always able to offer our customers a future-proof product with state-of-the-art technology while ensuring maximum availability of the system.
“A good example of this is the continuous expansion of our portfolio at available field buses and serial interfaces. This way, we make sure our control systems are optimally adapted to the latest crane technology.”
HBC-radiomatic now offers its Spectrum transmitter generation with a larger five-inch (125 mm) colour display. The company says the new display offers access to a library containing commonly used images and symbols for the customised screen configuration. This new display has integrated front panel lighting and automatic brightness adjustment, available with the various housing formats of HBC’s Spectrum transmitter series.
Remote control manufacturers focus on safety
The latest radio technology for the Spectrum series also uses the additional STO function (Category 3, PL d) safe commands to meet the EN ISO 13849-1:2015 standard, automated shut-off for implausible control commands, better batteries to provide an increase in operating times, front panel lighting and an integrated flashlight.
Meister added, “Driven by state-of-the-art display technology, the high-resolution screens ensure an attractive and configurable presentation of the most diverse notifications and data from the machine.
“An extended range of softkeys combined with the radiomatic iCON navigation control enables easy and intuitive operation of the display, which can also be configured and optimised to meet the exact needs of the operator.”
Modern technology offers increased control
HBC has also released the Spectrum 4 transmitter for the control of particularly large machinery.
The company has also developed radiomatic Photon live camera assistance, which delivers live video to the radio control’s colour display.
HBC has extended its radiomatic Photon portfolio with new additions, including a switchable two-camera option and a mobile solution for portable cameras.
The company says integral to its success is the availability of its components, which is guaranteed courtesy of in-house manufacturing capabilities at its Crailsheim factory in Germany. Meister explains, “Thanks to this our customers benefit from high quality components, which have been tried and tested thousands of times, and are particularly durable.
“Further HBC features that contribute to optimum availability of the system are our fully automatic frequency management processes, such as adaptive frequency hopping, as well as our newly-developed Merlin technology.”
According to HBC the Merlin technology enables users to combine and enlarge radio systems according to their wishes and, if a service event occurs, a spare transmitter can be quickly and easily activated.
Cutting edge from Italian RC manufacturers
Autec has introduced a seven-inch TFT LCD colour display for for its PJB transmitting unit. Users can monitor the increasing number of data streams and information available.
The Italy-headquartered RC manufacturer says the unit’s 16:9 high-resolution colour display is suited to applications where multiple machine operating parameters need to be monitored and controlled.
In addition to operating information, images broadcast from cameras on the crane can be displayed. Autec says the device is CODESYS V3.5 programmable, in accordance with international IEC 61131-3 standards.
IMET announced the availability of its Kron, Thor2 and Zeus2 radio remote controls in new ATEX/IECEx-approved versions. The Italian RC manufacturer says the feature allows RCs to be used in areas classified gas 1 and 2, dust classified 21 and 22 as well as mining classified 2.
These explosion-proof rated compact transmitters are powered by a rechargeable 3.6 V battery, designed to provide up to 40 hours on a single charge and can be replaced in a hazardous environment, IMET says.
The company has also developed a new radio remote control, the AXT, to control forestry winches. It complies with the UNI/EN 17067 Standard that regulates the safety requirements of radio remote controls for forestry machines. It can be worn with its leather belt, both during the working operations and while moving in the woods.
The AXT’s standard configuration offers four selectors or buttons and a stop button, with three system LEDs monitoring the battery status and the radio connection. The RC has automatic management of frequency channels when it is being used around other transmitting devices.
Scanreco solutions improved in Belgium and the Netherlands
Stockholm-headquartered remote control manufacturer Scanreco appointed Dutch remote control firm JG Controls as an official distributor, in a 2020 move designed to improve the service and availability of its systems to crane and machinery manufacturers in Belgium and the Netherlands.
JG Controls was founded by Jasper Gast, a former sales engineer at AMCA Hydraulic Fluid Power. He has worked with Scanreco products for more than 15 years and has in-depth knowledge of the Swedish company’s range. JG Controls offers both standardised and customised Scanreco solutions in the Benelux.
Gast enthused, “The closing of AMCA in the Netherlands gave me the opportunity to reconsider my options and possibilities. Because I work directly with the engineers of the Scanreco Design Center [in Stockholm], I can deliver customer-specific configurations within a few weeks at a competitive price.
“The flexible and modular construction of the Scanreco products help with this. I have most common Scanreco spare parts in stock. I can also deliver various standard configurations from the shelf.”
Scanreco takes on new identities in North America
New legal names were implemented for Scanreco’s operations in September 2020 with Scanreco Canada, Inc. at Vancouver in Canada and Scanreco US, Inc. at Cincinnati in the United States, respectively. The former name of Scanreco North America, only used for indicating both locations in North America as a group, will no longer be used in any legal or official connotation meaning only one or the other location.
Magnetek Flex Wave RCs added to Stahl Crane Systems folio
Columbus McKinnon added its Magnetek Flex Wave radio remote controls to the Stahl Crane Systems product portfolio at the start of 2021. The move aligns the USA-headquartered lifting and motion control specialist’s Stahl Crane Systems and Magnetek brands.
The Flex Wave RCs for mobile hydraulic applications has a ‘Zero G’ feature, which will automatically stop all operations and movements if it detects that a transmitter is dropped. A built-in frequency agility function means the transmitter selects a clear channel at start-up. If any radio interference is detected during operation then radio automatically moves to an available channel. This is designed to ensure clear communication and reduce dropouts.
To increase uptime, Flex Wave controls come standard with one receiver and two transmitters, allowing for quick and easy replacement. If a transmitter is damaged, a spare can be put into operation immediately, reducing the amount of time equipment is inoperable.
Flex Wave remote controls, are available with up to 12 buttons, are suited for use in harsh conditions under continuous load. They can be programmed for a wide range of applications and are designed for a long service life with more than two million switching cycles. Their housing is made of glass fibre nylon and have an IP66 protection class rating.
The latest technology underpins advancement. Yet with increasing control, comes increasing information streams that need to be managed. This trend towards larger displays is not surprising, but where will this logically end?
Böcker International believes that the intuitive nature of the Technos 2 RC made by HBC-radiomatic implemented on its latest crane models is key to its success.
The family-owned German truck and trailer crane manufacturer stated that relevant information is updated instantly to aid optimal crane positioning. A self-levelling function make setup fast and safe, offering the capability of simultaneously controlling several crane functions.
Böcker’s AK 52, their latest truck crane model, offers ‘handover’ control. The person on top of the roof can take over the control of the crane as soon as they have a better view of the working area than the operator on the ground.
Using a second remote control then all features are available and all crane functions can be controlled at the same time. However, the master control on the ground still displays all crane data in real time.
Itowa has renewed its national ‘innovative company’ endorsement until 2022, which it first gained in 2016. The award is issued by the Spanish government’s Ministry of Science and Innovation.
The Spain-headquartered electronic engineering company that designs, manufactures and markets remote equipment, said that the award highlights the effort it has made in developing groundbreaking remote control units.
Combiplus is Itowa’s latest remote control, which the firm claimed make it easy to incorporate a wide variety of actuators.