Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cranes are commonplace; we rarely notice them. But when they move, they leave traces in our lives that ripple through time and space.

M.J. Martin

When installing AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) for smart metering projects, we will need to make use of lifting apparatus for hoisting radio collectors and gateways equipment to utility poles, rooftops, and towers.

There are a variety of means to lift items. The guiding principles for a lift are based upon:

  • Height of the lift
  • Reach of the lift
  • Weight of the lift

With AMI projects, the weight of the equipment for Metercor is a minor concern as the collectors and gateways are lightweight equipment. The heights are easily reached ranging from 15 metres to a maximum of 50 metres. Typically, the heights are just 10 metres to 30 metres above grade level.

When rooftops are used, then the equipment can be hand carried over the roof surface so reach is not a bother either.

There are many types of lifting devices and technology available and we have used them all over the past 40 years of building radio communication systems. Examples of lifting technology include:

  • Boom trucks – 17, 25, 28, 30 ton
  • Scissor lifts
  • Cranes (small) – 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 80 ton
  • Cranes (large) – 90, 110, 115, 165, 225, 240, 300, 350 ton
  • Articulated cherry pickers
  • Derrick booms
  • HI-AB / loader cranes – light, medium, heavy, and super heavy capacity articulated arms on trucks
  • Rough terrain cranes
  • Forklifts
  • Jibs
  • Tower cranes – fixed cranes
  • GCI cranes – a mobile form of a tower crane
  • Winch with block and tackle
  • Rigger hoist

All operators of any sort of lifting system must be certified and well trained to operate these systems. Safety is a top priority that can never be excused or side-stepped. The ground support crew also needs to be well trained as all lifts are a team effort.

All cranes and lifting platforms must be in top condition and peak working order. Even then, it is not uncommon to have a breakdown from a blown hydraulic hose or a leaking connection.

A Scissor Lift (centre) and Two Articulated Mobile Cherry Pickers

Cranes are big machines and they need space to operate in as they have limited turning radius, weigh out in many tons that can easily exceed the roads and parking lots, so pre-lift site surveys must be performed to ensure the ability to support these heavy loads adequately.

Cranes are slow moving and clumsy in traffic, so expert planning to have the crane arrive on site and have sufficient time to set up and make ready is critical too.

Weather can play havoc with crane lifts, so keeping a careful eye on the temperature, winds, rain, sleet, and snow, all combine for the safety aspects. If the weather is questionable, then the lifts are cancelled. We do not second guess safety – ever.

About the Author:

Michael Martin is the Vice President of Technology with Metercor Inc., a Smart Meter, IoT, and Smart City systems integrator based in Canada. He has more than 40 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He was a senior executive consultant for 15 years with IBM, where he worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin served on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).  He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has completed over 30 next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, Indigenous Canada awareness, and more.