Trimble and Manitowoc Cranes Sign Development Agreement

Trimble and Manitowoc Cranes have entered into a development agreement to use precise positioning technology for enhanced crane operation.

Trimble and Manitowoc Cranes, a part of The Manitowoc Company, Inc., announce that they have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of solutions that can harness precise positioning technology, wireless communications and comprehensive software capabilities to enhance productivity in the construction lifting industry. Trimble and Manitowoc intend to develop solutions that will transform the way in which crane operations and information are managed on a construction site.

By combining the strengths of Trimble and Manitowoc Cranes, the companies intend to develop a solution tailored for the lifting industry that provides real time, centimeter-level positioning data for multiple cranes working on a construction site. The solution would be able to measure crane position in absolute coordinates using rugged, easy to install, non-contact sensors that can be installed on both fixed and mobile cranes. It is planned that the in-cab displays of cranes that are fitted with the developed solution will permit operators to view the site, multiple working crane zones, forbidden zones, target locations and other site information. The companies also expect to develop an “Intelligent Environment” database for their solutions capable of receiving constant updates of data from Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools and other site sensors working in tandem. In addition, an anticipated feature of the solution would enable a user to program an alarm or even halt crane operation upon detection of unplanned work activity on the construction site.

To enhance jobsite awareness and management, a wireless local area network (WLAN) will share the crane position information across the construction site, providing each crane operator, the lift scheduler, and even the back office (if the Internet connectivity option is enabled) instant status against the BIM plan, enabling informed, exception-based decisions to be made in real time. This information will be able to be viewed in 3D and can run either as a fat or thin client accessing software tools and capabilities that are expected to be available as part of the Trimble Connected Community solution. The Connected Community is a Web-based set of networking tools that allow contractors to build information portals, share information and collaborate between head office management, site office teams, field crews, subcontractors, suppliers, engineers and clients on a project. By connecting the field and office, the planned solution should permit contractors to gain significant efficiencies and improve overall jobsite productivity.

“Manitowoc is committed to providing the most advanced and comprehensive range of lifting solutions,” says Bob Hund, executive vice president, Crane Care for Manitowoc Cranes. “Working together with Trimble allows us to access market leading technology to collaborate to develop innovative tools to increase crane operator awareness on a construction site.”

Trimble is already using much the same technology to deliver significant productivity improvements to the construction machine control market,” says John Cameron, general manager of Trimble’s Integrated Technologies Division. “By partnering with the Manitowoc Cranes, a lifting industry leader, we expect to co-develop solutions capable of lifting and delivering materials on the construction site similar to a contract manufacturer who uses a pick-and-place machine to build an electronic circuit board. Our goal is add crane productivity as another key component of the connected site.”