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(Don’t) Make Me Sway: The Lowdown on Sway Control

Manufacturing | Power & Motion Technology | Crane Systems | by Samantha Lotz | Mar 23, 2018


Sway Control Systems (SCS) improve productivity by allowing the crane operator to concentrate on load engagement and disengagement rather than focusing on minimizing load swing. An SCS also enhances the accuracy of load placement and reduces material damage caused by incidental contact of swinging loads.

Magnetek’s Sway Control System custom software is embedded in our IMPULSE®•G+ Series 4 variable frequency drives for new or existing crane control systems without the need for external programmable logic controllers or costly height measurement devices.

“Manually operated cranes can account for as much as 20% of the production cycle,” said Aaron Kureck, Magnetek’s director of product management and development. “Utilizing sway control on overhead or gantry cranes can reduce operator fatigue and the need for extensive operator training.”

A crane with sway control allows an operator to use full speed commands for all movements, meaning shorter cycle times. Field tests have demonstrated that sway control improves productivity by 25-50%. Properly designed and adjusted sway control systems can minimize load sway by 85-95%, decreasing the risk of damage and personal injury.

Sway Control Technology and its Application for Overhead Traveling Cranes

In this article we examine the problems of controlling load sway as well as the various methods that can be employed to control sway.

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Sway control is able to increase throughput in automated handling systems by allowing higher operating speeds and faster acceleration and deceleration rates than would be possible with a manually controlled system. A fully automated system controls the load, prevents dangerous sway at every phase, and stops the load precisely at the target, every time.

WATCH OUR SWAY CONTROL DEMONSTRATION

 

Closed loop systems are best utilized on high-cycle outdoor systems such as container cranes that are subject to external influences like wind, justifying the higher initial cost and maintenance expense.

Open loop systems have an economic advantage over mechanical means or closed loop systems with feedback and are best applied in industrial applications where wind and external influences may be of less significance.

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