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The impact of tyres on pick and carry crane safety

The impact of tyres on pick and carry crane safety

Pick and carry crane safety has come in for a lot of attention of recent times – both for dynamic safety on the road and safety while working on site with a load. Australasia has a long history of articulated pick and carry cranes, to the extent that there are thousands in operation. Greg Keane reports.

Of recent times, all local manufacturers of these cranes have focused on improving the safety of these machines. Some contractors have banned their use on site, and there is a need to demonstrate that new features address safety concerns in order to have these bans reconsidered or prevent them from becoming more widespread.

However, there is a safety-related issue that is more readily solved and affects the safety of all pick and carry cranes, and that is the issue of correct tyre inflation. This was covered in a 2015 CICA Position Paper (Articulated Crane Operator Requirements CICA-PA-0009-B) and concluded that corrected inflated tyres are critical for stabilisation/control of articulated pick and carry cranes. A deflated tyre on one side of the crane has the same effect as soft ground or a pothole in moving the tipping line of the crane. In the absence of stabilisers and outriggers, stability of an articulated pick and carry crane is totally dependent on the suspension and tyres.

LSM Technologies (LSM) handles a range of technologies that roughly relate to Lubrication, Safety and Maintenance – the initials of the company name.

  • Straddling the boundary of safety and maintenance are the Doran Tyre Management Systems (TMSystems) that it represents and promotes. These are robust and fit for purpose, with features including:
  • an in-cabin monitor to alert the driver to tyre pressure/temperature issues;
  • heavy duty tyre sensors;
  • constant monitoring of tyre pressure/temperature, whether the vehicle is moving or parked;
  • both visual and audible alerts for dangerous low-pressure situations;
  • a high pressure alert;
  • a high temperature alert when the tyre temperature exceeds 80°C (overheated tyres can also cause vehicle fires); and
  • a rapid leak alert where the pressure drops more than 3.0 psi within 12 seconds.

The effectiveness of these relies on the operator to respond to the alert. However, LSM has developed (in-house) the FSM system that combines fleet safety and maintenance reporting in a single platform, using telemetry to capture the data and providing web-based reporting. This allows a centralised overview of fleet safety and maintenance issues; and can allow contact to be made with operators if they do not respond to alerts.

Other safety monitoring systems catered for by FSM include fatigue monitoring, cabin air quality and proximity detection.

LSM’s MD Peter Woodford reports that while some high-profile users such as Lend Lease and Monodelphous are using TMSystems, there hasn’t been widespread adoption by crane users to date.

The adoption is even lower for the complementary Ride-On Tyre Protection System, which provides active protection against tyre deflation. This is a sealant/balancer formulated to prevent flats caused by punctures while also improving tyre balance, reducing operating temperature and providing protection against rim corrosion.

It is unique in being approved for high speed use, being biodegradable and having no impact on the tyre’s retread potential. The tyre sensors used for TMSystems are also compatible with the use of Ride-On.

Peter believes that the bad reputation of early sealants, combined with the widely held view that tyres are a consumable, has limited adoption by commercial users, although there are some notable exceptions. However, many private users of recreational and off-road vehicles swear by the product and Peter himself uses it in his private vehicle, crediting it with at least four “saves”.

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