Did you know that a forwarder operator spends as much as 70% of their working day operating the crane? This means there is much to be gained by finding ways to optimise crane operation. The most ergonomic work environment possible is also key to ensuring high and constant production throughout the working day. Komatsu Forest is now introducing Komatsu Smart Crane, a crane that reacts to the forwarder operator’s slightest movements, translating them into smooth and efficient crane operation.
Crane operation requires several different but simultaneous actions, and over the space of a day these add up to many hand movements to forward timber to the roadside. Naturally, an experienced operator performs these movements without thinking, but a simplified approach would reduce the physical toll and optimise crane operation. This was the central idea behind the development of Smart Crane.
Smart Crane offers advantages that include a reduced physical burden on the operator, enabling them to maintain high production throughout the day. This is made possible by the crane’s precision and smooth movement patterns, which with less sway and vibration removes stress from the operator.
Smart Crane simplifies crane control too. With just three joystick movements, the operator can easily control the grapple with great precision.
“The telescopic boom extension is controlled automatically, meaning one less thing for the operator to think about. Fewer joystick movements make the job easier – even for an experienced operator – and mean better operator ergonomics. Another advantage is that it is much easier for an inexperienced operator to quickly hone their crane operation skills”, Daniel Grabbe, Product Manager forwarders explains.
Smart Crane alters its behaviour depending on which stage of the crane cycle the grapple is at, just as an experienced operator does. This means that the crane behaves differently depending on whether the operator is gathering timber from the ground, loading it into the load space or stacking it at the roadside – everything to ensure maximum productivity every step of the way. This is seen, for example, in how Smart Crane prioritises the telescopic boom extension over the main boom, saving both time and fuel.
“Our Smart Crane technology builds on SmartFlow, our intelligent crane control that includes an intelligent crane valve to ensure that the right pressure and flow are supplied to the crane at all times, regardless of the load. With its active crane damping, it also ensures impressive responsiveness and great precision in all crane movements. The crane quite simply feels like an extension of your own arm”, Grabbe continues.
Another reason for the crane’s excellent precision is that the Smart Crane system can distribute the movement between the crane functions so that vibrations and shocks are reduced. This contributes to better operator ergonomics while at the same time protecting the crane components and extend their service life.
Since such a large share of a forwarder operator’s working day involves crane operation, increased efficiency offers great potential. Smart Crane provides the operator with advantages such as simpler crane operation, less physical strain and higher productivity. Advantages that benefit both profitability and the operator’s wellbeing.