Tag Archives: Radio

Learn About Radio Remote Controls and Boom Truck Safety

In the any industry that requires the use of heavy industrial equipment, safety is paramount. Every day work crews risk injury when handling these machines, so every effort should be made to keep work sites as safe as possible. Through safety courses, various certifications, ANSI and OSHA requirements, and better-developed equipment, manufacturers and the industries using such machinery strive to provide safer working conditions for workers. This is further supported by the development of new technology in radio remote controls for the operation of a boom and crane.

Operation

Boom trucks have been operated in a number of different ways ever since being developed. Control usually is from either inside the vehicle or from external controls on the chassis. Both of these arrangements can leave operators exposed to certain risks, such as a malfunctioning boom, the dropping of heavy items, unbalanced vehicles that tip over, or even accidental electrocution. It is an unfortunate part of the job, sometimes simply unavoidable when working with machinery that handles such large loads.

Benefits

With all risk factors in mind, boom truck technology has advanced to remote radio-controlled operation. Such distant control greatly increases job site safety by removing operators and all other workers from the immediate operating area of these machines. In case of an accident such as dropping a load, tipping over, or a boom malfunction, the worst damage should be the loss of the equipment or the load being lifted while human lives are protected. Remote control offers the ability to operate multiple ton units with precision, without the associated risks that have caused serious injuries and even deaths in the past.

Problems

Unfortunately, the remote operation of such heavy machinery is not foolproof, having had its share of problems. Depending on the device that is used, its radio frequency and the job site location can cause interference between the operator and the device which is a notable concern and an additional safety issue.

Improvements

There has been some advancement in the use of military-developed, spread-spectrum radio frequencies and remote devices designed to alleviate such problems. Radio signals from these devices move faster than other types of radio frequencies, which makes the other types unable to interfere with this device’s signal. With a higher safety record and more proven effectiveness in preventing radio interference, equipment manufacturers are beginning to look toward the exclusive use of such technology. The biggest concern is that these types of radio remote controls will greatly increase vehicle production costs due to the inclusion of such a high-tech component. There is some controversy over whether or not larger manufacturers will regularly use this newer, more sophisticated radio technology making such units more expensive.

As remote controls on boom trucks become a more standard feature, many of the larger vehicle manufacturers are in favor of this newer, more advanced technology as the best way to ensure work crew safety. There is still much discussion to occur about both the pros and cons of standardizing a more expensive remote control technology and how to bring the cost down without sacrificing safety. Yes, protection from harm can occur with boom truck remote radio-controlled handling and be beneficial – so long as the cost doesn’t significantly increase as well!

Radio Frequency Emissions From Used Industrial RF and Microwave Equipment

In today’s increasingly safety conscious work environment, it is important to maintain Radio Frequency (RF) emissions to the lowest values consistent with practical considerations for manufacturing.

Exposure Standards

At a minimum, users of industrial RF and Microwave equipment should adopt internal RF emission standards that are at least as stringent as current federal OSHA guidelines. Check your state OSHA regulations for their compliance standards.

For owners and operators of industrial RF welders, heat sealers and pre-heaters as well as Industrial Microwave ovens and Industrial Microwave dryers, the relevant federal OSHA regulation is currently:

(Standards – 29 CFR) Non-Ionizing Radiation. – 1910.97

Used Industrial RF and Microwave Equipment

Industrial radio frequency and industrial microwave equipment of recent and reputable manufacture will be designed and built to comply with current standards, however, older equipment or equipment purchased used will not likely have shielding that would comply with today’s standards.

Used equipment or equipment that has had its shielding removed or modified may function yet expose operators to RF energy levels many times current standards. RF levels on control panels and surrounding metal structures can be high enough to burn personnel if touched while the RF is in operation.

Inadequately shielded industrial radio frequency equipment or industrial microwave equipment frequently interferes with, and may even damage, nearby electronics, especially if those electronic devices are poorly designed.

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When purchasing used equipment, the buyer rarely has the expertise or the devices necessary to test and evaluate the equipment prior to purchase. To the untrained eye, a machine may appear to be well shielded. However, that shielding may be completely ineffective if improperly designed or applied. Frequently, 40+ years old equipment will be retro-fitted with “shielding” to increase its saleability.

It should be noted that purchasing older equipment and retro-fitting it with effective shielding frequently costs as much as new equipment.

New Industrial RF or Microwave Equipment

New equipment emits a fraction of the RF energy that similar equipment did just a decade ago. Even so, the best designed and built equipment still requires maintenance.

Industrial RF and industrial microwave equipment is no exception. They are both electronic and mechanical devices and proper care is required. Proper maintenance of shielding, ground returns and neutralization is essential to prevent any degradation in performance, which could result in non-compliance. Maintenance programs should be coordinated with the manufacturer. A regular program of RF emissions testing will determine the effectiveness of maintenance and adjustments to shielding.

Users may purchase RF Survey / Industrial Compliance meters to check their equipment for leakage or may hire outside services to conduct regular surveys.

In order to maintain peak performance and minimum emissions, repair services should only be performed by a qualified industrial RF or industrial microwave service technician.