Our client
Enerpac: an international company focused on the development and construction of large hydraulic systems, a specialist in the field of heavy lifting applications. Enerpac’s installations often lift or move very large and very heavy objects. Examples of this are:

  • Lifting (parts of) drilling platforms during construction or placing them on the high seas;
  • Placement of bridge sections;
  • Installation of components for power plants;Storage of large objects, e.g. the Russian submarine Kursk:
  • Internal machine transport

Very large forces are required to lift or move large objects. Several heavy hydraulic cylinders have to be controlled exactly synchronously. If one cylinder does not move, this can lead to impermissible forces in the object to be lifted, with all its consequences. Damage as well as personal accidents are not unthinkable.

Problem definition
For her family of very heavy gantry cranes (Hydraulic gantries) Enerpac asked Brunelco to develop a fail-safe wireless control system. A gantry crane consists of a maximum of 4 hydraulic units that had to be controlled. Important requirements were:

  • Wireless control and monitoring of the gantry crane by means of a hand transmitter;
  • Short start-up time, the system must be operational within a few seconds;
  • Easy to use, operator has no knowledge of PC’s;
  • Synchronous control of the movement of 4 hydraulic units;
  • Monitoring the status of the 4 hydraulic units;
  • Monitoring the distribution of power between the hydraulic units;
  • Intrinsically safe operation: failure or malfunction of any part or subsystem, the control must always bring the crane into a safe condition;
  • Applicable all over the world.

The solution
Brunelco’s extensive knowledge and experience in the field of wireless communication and fail-safe remote IO systems was combined in the Intellilift wireless control system. The system consists of a hand transmitter that can communicate with 4 receiver stations. These receiving stations then control the hydraulic units. The implemented fail-safe communication protocol between hand transmitter and receiving stations is implemented in such a way that each command sent is checked for correct reception by means of an acknowledgement. Moreover, actions are only initiated at the receiving stations when the status, position and load of all stations is known and correct. This ensures synchronisation between the hydraulic units at all times. The common thread in the system is the emergency stop function. When an emergency button is pressed or a receiving station in a hydraulic unit detects a malfunction, all actions are stopped in a controlled manner and generators and hydraulic pumps are also shut down.

Product features

  • User-friendly IP65 Intellilift hand transmitter with display and backlight;
  • Simultaneously synchronised control of 4 receiving stations;
  • Integrated emergency stop functionality;
  • Can be used for more than 12 consecutive hours without recharging in between;
  • Feedback of 2 analogue and 4 digital measuring signals per receiver station, readable on the Intellilift hand transmitter;
  • Applicable worldwide: works on the 2.4 GHz frequency band;
  • Frequency hopping: when one communication channel is not reliable, it switches to another channel;
  • High power outputs on the receiving stations are able to directly control significant loads without the use of relays or other hardware;