Wireless Load Moment Indicator For Pipelayers

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PipeLine Machinery International (PLM), Caterpillar’s global pipeline equipment dealer, has teamed with Cranesmart Systems and is the exclusive distributor of the Pipelayer System, the industry’s first wireless load moment indicator (LMI) system for pipelayers.
  The Pipelayer System eliminates the guesswork, arming operators with the precise load management information they need to get the job done safely and efficiently. The system consists of a load pin, boom angle indicator, four-axis slope indicator and optional two-block alarm – all of which relay information wirelessly to the easy-to-read monitor in the cab of the pipelayer.
  PipeLine Machinery International Senior Vice President Tony Fernandez said, “This state-of-the-art monitoring system for the pipeline industry is one more tool to help our customers meet their safety and operating challenges in the field. All future pipelayer machine orders will come from the Caterpillar factory ‘Cranesmart ready’ for installation and PLM is also standing by and ready to arrange installation of the Pipelayer System on existing machines as customers require.”
  In addition to increasing jobsite safety for all project personnel, the Pipelayer System will enable contractors to manage a more efficient jobsite. With precise load management details available to operators at all times, the system significantly reduces the potential for costly and dangerous overloading, tipovers, rollovers and other accidents.
  No longer solely dependent on “gut feel,” the operators endure far less stress by having the accurate data they need to safely maneuver equipment during challenging lift and lower-in situations. The Pipelayer System monitor shows them actual weight on the hook, what their lift limit is on that tractor and whether or not they are within permitted working slope angles – thus eliminating guesswork. The display indicates the slope in degrees and can also be programmed to provide maximum slope alert alarms.
  The Pipelayer System also offers optional anti-2-block protection. This feature includes a wireless anti-2-block switch, which swivels freely to travel in the direction of the wire rope, utilizing a chain and trigger–weight to sense block position.
  During intricate pipe line-up operations such as valve setting or tie-ins, the boom operator’s focus is on lining up the pipe ends for the welders working on the pipe. While attention is on the pipe ends and the welders, the proximity of the two blocks on the boom may get dangerously close. If the blocks hit, the pipe could move abruptly causing safety concerns and equipment damage. The operator is given advance notice of block proximity through audible and visual alarms on the display panel, helping eliminate a safety hazard to the crew in the vicinity and preventing damage to blocks and boom, wire rope and winches.
  Field Reliability. Load-monitoring devices have been available for some time but not in the wireless and rugged format offered by the Pipelayer System by Cranesmart. “Pipeliners are often working remotely and in severe conditions under tight timelines,” said PLM General Manager Product Support Lindley Imeson. “It is our job, as equipment services providers, to do all we can to keep the construction process going. That’s why we chose this system as our recommended load-monitoring system.”
  The Pipelayer System has been engineered specifically for pipelayers and the pipeline environment. Electronics are temperature tested to perform accurately from minus 40 to plus 60 degrees Celsius. Components are made using high-grade stainless steel with glass-filled nylon cases rugged enough to withstand the demands of heavy equipment and continual outdoor use. With no exposed wires or other mechanical relays and no bulky moving parts, the Pipelayer System is much easier to install and manage than other LMI systems.
  “Because the system is wireless, it can be serviced remotely by the Cranesmart team – often by the operator himself using his cell phone from the cab,” said Imeson. If service issues require replacement parts, Cranesmart can usually resolve the malfunction in 24–48 hours, minimizing downtime.
  Compliance. There has been recent speculation that LMI systems will become mandatory on pipelaying equipment in the near future. The Pipelayer System has been designed for the simplest adaptation to LMI compliance possible.
  “With this new arrangement, all future-dated pipelayer machine orders will be coming out of the Caterpillar factory ‘Cranesmart ready’ for installation,” said Imeson. “PLM is also standing by and ready to arrange installation of the Pipelayer System on existing machines as customers require.”
  Systems are shipped complete with simple instructions and all the mounting hardware required for quick installation. Most installs can be completed in as little as two hours without the assistance of specialized tools or service technicians, minimizing installation costs. The rugged RAM display mounting kit can be installed in the most convenient and visible location on any pipelayer. The Pipelayer System can easily be retrofitted to pipelaying equipment, with OEM load chart information programmed to each model of pipelayer. For more information visit www.plmcat.com or www.cranesmart.com.