John March has introduced CICA’s Outrigger App that is designed for taxi fleet or smaller cranes.
John March is the Vice Chair for NSW and represents New South Wales on the National Reference Group (NRG). He’s been involved with CICA for 20 years and he’s been on the committee as Vice Chair for the last two years. March presented the CICA Outrigger App during the meeting.
“The CICA Outrigger App came about through Steve Gonano and the Queensland branch of CICA. It was felt there was a need for more education and awareness for the crane crew, especially the crane operator, to give more thought to the crane’s set up prior to lifting, especially the surface he is setting up on,” said March.
“The idea is to help them go through a thought process to help make the right decisions in terms of set up especially when it comes to ground conditions,” he said.
“Newer crane models today, have outrigger loadings on the cranes themselves, either in the crane’s computer or available somewhere on the crane. The Outrigger App is designed for the taxi fleet or smaller crane that doesn’t have the benefit of having a supervisor attend the site and maybe go through a geotech inspection. It’s really designed for the crew that turns up to a job and they’re not completely sure what they have beneath them, it’s not designed to replace a major site inspection or anything like that,” said March.
The hazard of ground giving way due to insufficient bearing capacity is a known engineering problem and one that crane company owners face regularly. Making calculations prior to setting up a crane, are problematic, due to both the complexity of the calculation as well as inexperience in the workforce, as was highlighted through the SWA Regulatory review on crane high risk work licenses completed in December 2018.
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Management of the bearing capacity risk can be mitigated through calculation, but the calculations need to be completed by employees who do not have an engineering degree and it is not feasible to have a qualified engineer assess every platform.
CICA QLD branch have married technology with an age-old rigger’s rule to provide a solution that assists in assessing ground conditions before crane set up. The development of the free “Outrigger app” for use on smart phones and tablets assists crane operators, riggers, and doggers. With the app, users can estimate the required bog mat or timber area for a given crane and load combination.
The digitisation of ground pressure calculations is in alignment with the current and revised Queensland Mobile Crane Code of Practice. The app also provides a means of data retention as the results from the calculator can be emailed or SMSed to site or back to the office for record keeping, a step critical to Safety Management Systems.
During the July NRG meeting, it was confirmed that downloads of the Outrigger App is approaching the low 400 mark.
“It’s really only been generally available since late June, so we’ve been pretty happy with the uptake so far. It’s free to download and the App will take the user through different ground types from hard rock to soft clay to sand and it provides most scenarios that a taxi crane will come across in the course of a day,” said March.
“The app is designed to make the crew think twice about the crane’s set up and if it flags there might be a problem with the ground’s weight bearing capacities, it can send an SMS or email through to the office and the crew will wait to hear from the office. The job may be cancelled, or a more suitable crane sent, or the office might be able to send out better pads, etc. It takes the onus off the team to make a split-second decision which might not be right,” he said.
Residential, industrial, commercial, and infrastructure projects will all benefit from this calculation tool. CICA Queensland funded the development of this tool and have now made it available to anyone who wants to access it, to encourage and maximise its use. This tool is available to everyone in the crane industry, not only in Queensland or Australia, but also internationally. Find it in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, just type in “CICA Calc”.