Protecting drivers from mobile cranes

Nicola Brittain

A mobile crane camera set-up alerts drivers to site hazards.

Mobile cranes are a common sight on our roads, and like all vehicles, they can pose serious risks if not properly maintained. In fact, the use of mobile cranes presents two primary hazards: the collapse of the crane, which can result in multiple fatalities both on and off-site, and the falling of the load, which carries a high risk of causing death or severe injury.

To help prevent such incidents from occurring, Dutch lifting specialist Mammoet is working with Rietveld, a specialist in fleet management and vehicle and machine safety systems, on a joint project to protect drivers and road users when mobile cranes are moving and manoeuvring.

Mammoet commissioned three different safety technologies to support its customers to meet stricter safety regulations. Testing is currently being carried out on one of its new Liebherr LTM 1070-4.2 70t mobile cranes.

In full view

Using a combination of cameras, including Rietveld’s OmniVue 360° camera system, installed on the crane’s chassis, the three-tier system generates real-time first and third-person images of the vehicle. This gives the driver a full 360-view from both inside and outside the cab, enabling them to see what pedestrians and other roads users are seeing.

The second tier adds a series of sensors that detect people and obstacles within an adjustable safety radius around the crane. When the sensors detect a potential hazard, an acoustic signal alerts the driver – an LED warning panel also displays the section of the crane where the motion was detected.

The final tier, known as the ‘Halo’, draws a light boundary on the floor around the crane, giving those nearby a clear visual indication of the safe zone around it. This is especially important at sites where hearing protection is required. The boundary can be switched on and off manually and is set to automatically turn off when a certain speed is reached, according to the team at Mammoet.

“By combining these three systems, Mammoet will improve safety, minimise accidents and damage, and give greater confidence to crane operators to create safer working environments,” said Ferdi Kivanc, Project Coordinator EMD at Mammoet. “We see this as a comprehensive system that will not only enhance crane safety, but also operator training in the future. Initial tests are promising, and I am proud of the results.” 

Frank Kanters, Account Manager at Rietveld, added: “By working with its engineers to test the integration of our collision-prevention technologies, we have created something unique in crane safety solutions. We look forward to developing the system further and progressing to eventual rollout.”

The OmniVue 360° camera system

Omni-Vue 360° is a surround view (SV) camera system suitable for all types of vehicles. The system is equipped with four 1.3MP wide dynamic range (WDR) cameras with an aluminium impact-resistant housing that are placed at strategic points around the vehicle. These cameras work together through an engine control unit (ECU) to create a view of the entire environment, ensuring that drivers/operators have an unsurpassed view, and all blind spots are eliminated.

The monitor that comes with the camera system provides a crystal clear view of the camera feed, so the driver/operator can clearly see what is happening around the vehicle. According to Rietveld, the screen is compact and easy to position in a vehicle – the system also comes with a selection button that allows you to manually switch between camera images. The system is also connected to the indicators and reversing gear so that the cameras automatically switch images (left, right rear or front).

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