Trimble and Manitowoc to Create Joint Multi-Crane Positioning Solution

Trimble, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Manitowoc Cranes, Manitowoc, Wis., have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of solutions utilizing precise positioning technology, wireless communications and comprehensive software capabilities to enhance productivity in the construction lifting industry. The companies plan to develop a solution that provides real time, centimeter-level positioning data for multiple cranes working on a construction site.

The solution would measure crane position in absolute coordinates using rugged, easy to install, non-contact sensors that can be installed on both fixed and mobile cranes. In-cab displays of cranes fitted with the developed solution would enable 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, the solution would enable a user to program an alarm or halt crane operation upon detection of unplanned work activity on the construction site.

A wireless local area network (WLAN) will share the crane position information across the construction site, providing each crane operator, the lift scheduler, and the back office instant status against the BIM plan. This information could be viewed in 3D and 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 would improve efficiencies and overall jobsite productivity.

“Trimble is already using much the same technology to deliver significant productivity improvements to the construction machine control market,” said 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.”