In the any industry that requires the use of heavy industrial equipment, safety is paramount. Every day work crews risk injury when handling these machines, so every effort should be made to keep work sites as safe as possible. Through safety courses, various certifications, ANSI and OSHA requirements, and better-developed equipment, manufacturers and the industries using such machinery strive to provide safer working conditions for workers. This is further supported by the development of new technology in radio remote controls for the operation of a boom and crane.
Boom trucks have been operated in a number of different ways ever since being developed. Control usually is from either inside the vehicle or from external controls on the chassis. Both of these arrangements can leave operators exposed to certain risks, such as a malfunctioning boom, the dropping of heavy items, unbalanced vehicles that tip over, or even accidental electrocution. It is an unfortunate part of the job, sometimes simply unavoidable when working with machinery that handles such large loads.
With all risk factors in mind, boom truck technology has advanced to remote radio-controlled operation. Such distant control greatly increases job site safety by removing operators and all other workers from the immediate operating area of these machines. In case of an accident such as dropping a load, tipping over, or a boom malfunction, the worst damage should be the loss of the equipment or the load being lifted while human lives are protected. Remote control offers the ability to operate multiple ton units with precision, without the associated risks that have caused serious injuries and even deaths in the past.
Unfortunately, the remote operation of such heavy machinery is not foolproof, having had its share of problems. Depending on the device that is used, its radio frequency and the job site location can cause interference between the operator and the device which is a notable concern and an additional safety issue.
There has been some advancement in the use of military-developed, spread-spectrum radio frequencies and remote devices designed to alleviate such problems. Radio signals from these devices move faster than other types of radio frequencies, which makes the other types unable to interfere with this device’s signal. With a higher safety record and more proven effectiveness in preventing radio interference, equipment manufacturers are beginning to look toward the exclusive use of such technology. The biggest concern is that these types of radio remote controls will greatly increase vehicle production costs due to the inclusion of such a high-tech component. There is some controversy over whether or not larger manufacturers will regularly use this newer, more sophisticated radio technology making such units more expensive.
As remote controls on boom trucks become a more standard feature, many of the larger vehicle manufacturers are in favor of this newer, more advanced technology as the best way to ensure work crew safety. There is still much discussion to occur about both the pros and cons of standardizing a more expensive remote control technology and how to bring the cost down without sacrificing safety. Yes, protection from harm can occur with boom truck remote radio-controlled handling and be beneficial – so long as the cost doesn’t significantly increase as well!