Development of an Intuitive, Target-oriented Control Concept for Hoisting Machinery

Lifting equipment is used in a wide variety of industrial applications. The lifting equipment is often operated by means of a radio control system which enables the user to freely position himself relative to the lifting equipment and thus control the movement of the load from an optimum position. Current control systems require the operator to mentally convert the desired movement of the load to the necessary movements of the individual hoist drives. The mental load associated with this makes it difficult to manipulate the load and is not intuitive for the operator. It would therefore be desirable to have a control solution that combines high flexibility through the use of radio control with intuitive and target-oriented control of the load from the user's point of view.

Lifting equipment of all kinds is an indispensable aid in numerous industrial areas. Depending on the application, they can be stationary cranes (bridge cranes, portal cranes, tower cranes), mobile cranes (mobile and crawler cranes), loading and unloading equipment (truck loading cranes) or load manipulators (agriculture, forestry, port handling). The load is usually moved by direct control of individual drives such as slewing gears, trolleys and hydraulic cylinders via adjusting levers or push buttons. The total movement of the load is the sum of the movements of the individual drives. As a result, the operator must mentally convert the desired movement of the load to the individual movements (translational and rotational degrees of freedom of the lifting equipment). Many lifting devices have a radio control system which allows the operator to move freely relative to the lifting device and thus always have an optimum view of the load to be transported.

The determination of the required actuation direction of the control elements for the desired load movement requires the operator to mentally convert the desired hook movement to the individual degrees of freedom of the lifting equipment. In addition to the current position of the lifting equipment and the equipment kinematics, the operator must also take into account his own orientation relative to the equipment when using a radio control system. The multiple load associated with this makes it difficult to manipulate the load and is not intuitive for the operator. This often results in time-consuming sequences of individual routes until the destination is reached. In addition, unintuitive handling increases the risk of operating errors and damage. Especially for occasional users who only use a lifting device at irregular intervals, or for operators who move a lot in the vicinity of the lifting device, there is a considerable potential for improvement of current control solutions.

The aim of the research project is the development of an intuitive, target-oriented control concept for a simple man-machine interface for load handling with the help of a portable remote control, which automatically considers the position of load, machine and operator. Thus, the operator defines the desired direction of movement of the hook by actuating a single control element. He only moves the control lever from the current hook position to the target position. The system uses the integrated sensors to determine the orientation of the user and controls the drives and of the lifting equipment in such a way that the direction of movement of the hook corresponds to the direction of the control element actually specified by the operator.

This intuitive approach eliminates the need for the operator to mentally convert the hook's nominal movement to the individual hoist drives and allows the operator to concentrate fully on his transport and loading tasks. Safety is enhanced by the increased focus on collision avoidance and detection of people in the danger zone. At the same time, handling time is reduced.

As part of the research project, the operating concept will be developed according to ergonomic and control aspects and subsequently implemented in a pre-competitive demonstrator. Thus, at the end of the project, a control option including a man-machine interface is available which considerably simplifies the transport, handling and handling of loads of all kinds and thus sustainably improves logistics processes across industries. Load transports become simpler, faster and safer.

  • Chair of Ergonomics (TUM)

  • FIPA GmbH
  • HBC-radiomatic GmbH
  • Max Bögl Transport und Geräte GmbH
  • Palfinger AG
  • Rösler Software-Technik Entwicklungs- und Vertriebs GmbH
  • Vemcon GmbH
  • Verband der Baubranche, Umwelt- und Maschinentechnik (VDBUM) e.V.

This research project is carried out on behalf of the Forschungsgemeinschaft Bundesvereinigung Logistik e.V. (German Logistics Research Association) (BVL) and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology through the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations "Otto von Guericke" e.V. (AiF).

Contact Person

Felix Top, M.Sc.