PALFINGER EPSILON CREATES ADDED VALUE WITH DIGITAL PRODUCTS FOR ITS CUSTOMERS
As the market-leading manufacturer of cranes for wood handling and recycling, PALFINGER EPSILON is particularly concerned with developing value-adding solutions with and for its customers to make every day work easier - since the job as a crane driver holds challenges and safety hazards. Based on this, PALFINGER EPSILON developed the new Smart Control and Virtual Drive innovations to make work more efficient, to increase working safety and to reduce the risk of accidents.
Due to the EPSILON team's intensive focus on digitalization, the first prototypes of the new boom tip control - Smart Control and the new Virtual Reality control system - Virtual Drive - were presented for the first time at Interforst in Munich in July 2018.
SMART CONTROL – INTUITIVE HANDLING
Thanks to Smart Control, the new boom tip controller prototype, crane operation is easier, more intuitive and faster than ever. Crane operators no longer have to control each cylinder individually because now, thanks to the electronic assistance system, the operator can concentrate exclusively on the boom tip.
Smart Control also allows the crane’s physical capability to be utilised to the full in every situation by ensuring that the most important movement parameters are perfectly optimised with each other in every position.
This helps to enhance the efficiency of work performed using the crane and ensures that crane operators are not quite as exhausted as they used to be at the end of the day. This places less of a physical load overall on operators, which, in turn, helps to prevent accidents and significantly reduce crane training times.
Smart Control is also the only system on the market to feature an adaptive gripper tip controller. This means that when objects are lifted from the ground, the gripper is also raised automatically so that it does not come into contact with the ground when it closes. This reduces not only ground disturbance but also damage to the truck loading surface. In addition, the integrated electronic limit position damper helps to significantly reduce wear on the main components.
With this latest product, too, PALFINGER EPSILON has once again given a lot of attention to service-friendliness. The sensors, for example, can be maintained and replaced without the hydraulic cylinders also having to be removed.
VIRTUAL DRIVE – CONTROL OUTSIDE THE DANGER ZONE
The new Virtual Drive – as a concept study, the virtual-reality (VR) control system developed by PALFINGER EPSILON offers some early insight into the control technology of tomorrow. Virtual Drive enables the user to control the crane with the aid of VR glasses outside the danger zone - the crane driver is now sitting in the truck cab and is therefore no longer exposed to external weather conditions or safety risks.
The VR control system offers not only enhanced driver comfort and safety but also a range of additional benefits such as a better overview of the situation, additional loads and reduced fuel consumption.
With the Interforst concept prototypes, PALFINGER EPSILON showcased a fully functional, state-of-the-art system that offers a range of new features not available with current systems.
However, technological progress – especially in the field of VR glasses – is currently not quite as advanced as EPSILON would like.
For example, the resolution and field of vision of the VR glasses that are currently available are still limited compared with crane operation without VR assistance.
Despite our global quest for the very best VR technology and the fact that we are using the most state-of-the-art VR glasses currently available on the market (and that represent a tangible improvement on older systems), the technological progress being made in this field still does not meet the typically high standards expected by PALFINGER EPISLON.
But PALFINGER EPSILON is well equipped for the future! As soon as VR glasses offer the kind of resolution we expect, there'll be no stopping us. We are continuing to monitor developments in this field together with our international team and will keep our customers up to date on progress in the future.