Courtesy of HoistCamOperators can now put "eyes" wherever they need them

By Barb Feldman

In 2012, a potential customer presented Chris Machut’s company with a problem: “How can tugs or towboats see what’s in front of them if they have a giant barge in front? They’re literally piloting that vessel blind,” and radar might not be able to pick up kayakers or small vessels, for example. Netarus met the customer’s challenge with the “TugCam,” a portable camera system designed to improve safety, increase situational awareness and eliminate blind spots on towboats and tugboats, even in complete darkness.

It was soon recognized that crane operators were having similar problems.

“They were relying on someone else’s eyes or other operating procedures to perform crane lifts,” said Machut. “They’d move the hook block behind a building and couldn’t see what was going on with that load.”

In mid-2013, the company introduced the HoistCam, a rugged wireless portable camera system that can be installed anywhere on a crane or at the location of a blind or distant lift, to place “eyes” anywhere the crane operator wants them to be and transmit the image back to the cab. And because the cameras are attached to the metal equipment with magnets and a safety lanyard, different operators can easily move them to get different views, depending on the job and what works best for them, from the winch to directly on the hook block, says Machut, which keeps them from “having to guess the load’s position and orientation or if the rigger properly attached the load.”

Easily-adjustable cameras
Up to eight cameras can be installed on a single crawler crane to eliminate hazardous blind spots and provide “around the corner” operator views, or even a 360-degree view around the crane. The camera system can also be placed anywhere on an excavator, from the bucket to the arm, and on the side of the wall or inside a hole, letting the operator see where the excavator is digging.

HoistCam’s mobile digital video recorder can tie together all video feeds and optional sensors and send the information back to the central HoistCam director server over a 3G, 4G or wireless access point, letting offsite supervisors or managers situated anywhere in the world monitor operations from a desktop or mobile device in real time. Live feeds can be embedded with time and location data, saved on the equipment or to a centralized server or be stored to a hard drive or an SB card. 


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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.