Effer’s Progress Crane Control System Comes to North America

Effer’s Progress Crane Control System Comes to North America

Effer USA and its exclusive North American distributor, North American Lifting Equipment (NALE), Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, are preparing to deliver the first crane on the continent with Effer’s Progress total control system.

The crane is an Effer 1855L knuckleboom with 8-section (8S) boom, 6-section (6S) hydraulic jib, and a maximum lifting moment of 891,000 lb. ft. With that combination of boom and jib, the crane can lift a maximum of 41,445 lbs. at a radius of 18’ 8”.  Its maximum horizontal reach is 120’ 10”, and at that radius it can lift 2,355 lbs. Maximum jib tip height is 131 ft., with a capacity of 3,765 lbs. The crane’s maximum up-and-over combination is 90 ft. of height plus 68’ 5” of horizontal reach, with a capacity of 3,765 lbs.

The crane is mounted on a Western Star chassis equipped with tandem rear axles rated at 52,000 lbs. and 40,000 lbs., plus a 20,000-lb. pusher axle. It measures 39’ 11” long and weighs a total of 78,000 lbs. The crane truck is being purchased by a crane-hire company that serves metropolitan New York City.

Effer has previously offered the Progress system in Europe, but this is the control system’s first appearance in the North American lifting industry.

Udo Beyersdorff, product manager for Effer USA and NALE, describes the Progress system as “a new electronic system that continuously monitors the crane, gives the operator visual feedback, optimizes truck stability, and provides full control to maximize performance and safety.” The system was engineered by Effer and Sauer Danfoss (recently renamed just Danfoss).

Using CAN-bus monitoring and communication, the Progress system keeps track of all the significant data about the crane’s operation and makes it instantly available on  a display screens in the radio-remote control and also on a display in the control bank on the truck.

The data reported by the Progress system includes the turret’s swing angle, the lengths and angles of the boom and jib, the percentage of lifting capacity being used, working zones, the extension and support status of each outrigger, the pressure in each hydraulic cylinder, and even the oil temperature inside the reservoir and the oil cooler.    

In addition to simply reporting data, the Progress system also continually monitors the overall crane for overloading and tipping. If it senses that the operator is nearing a safety limit, the system stops operation and only allows movements that will put the crane in a safer position. In addition, the Progress system lets the crane operator specify up to four work zones with different operating limits and restrictions, a feature that can help avoid accidentally moving the crane too close to power lines or other obstructions.

Even during normal operation, Progress also helps the operator control the crane and load, says Beyersdorff. “Progress is fully integrated into the hydraulic circuitry of the crane, so it gives the operator maximum sensitivity in controlling the crane’s movements. It also optimizes the speed at which all functions operate by regulating hydraulic oil flow rates and oil sharing between functions.”

The system provides soft starting and stopping of each function in order to minimize load swinging and maximize load-handling precision. It also controls the operation of accessories, such as jibs, winches, rotators, buckets, and grabs. 

Beyersdorff explains that this particular crane also is equipped with Effer’s optional HSS system, which speeds up boom extension by diverting half of the returning hydraulic oil to the pressurized side of the boom cylinders, rather than sending it all back to the tank. The extra flow boosts boom-extension speed by 50%.

The boom and jib are made of high-strength steel in order to provide high strength with minimal weight. The sections extend and retract on long-life bronze wear pads, and each has its own angle sensor. Every section of boom and jib is extended and retracted by its own trunnion-mounted “floating” hydraulic cylinder, which can articulate with it, and each cylinder has its own sequencing valve.

The boom and jib sections extend sequentially, instead of proportionally. “With a sequentially extending boom, the strongest section always comes out first, followed by the second strongest, and so on,” explains Beyersdorff. “That keeps the structural stresses within the projected limits of each section, resulting in a lighter weight boom than a proportionally extending one. Also, by counting the extended sections it is easier for the operator to determine the radii on the load chart.”

The swing system offers unlimited continuous rotation and uses a high-quality double-race bearing.

The four outriggers are out-and-down by-passing tunnel type with a maximum spread of 33’ 1.5”. Each can be placed in one of four lengths to meet onsite setup limitations.

The hydraulic system uses two variable-displacement pumps, one powered by the truck’s diesel engine and the other by a transmission-mounted PTO. One pump handles stabilizer deployment, and both pumps work together to power crane operation. The hydraulic reservoir holds 132 gallons, and the 5,439-psi system operates at flows to 53 gpm. To help provide ample cooling under rapid repetitive lifts, this crane is equipped with an optional second oil cooler.

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