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pfiefer boat

Pictured: Connection points (orange in colour in the photos) on the ship form the main rigging areas for the complex suspension project. Six 12t capacity and six 25t capacity load shackles were supplied by SP distributor Pfeifer. The load shackles were rigged strategically to communicate data via SP’s software package.

A series of 12t and 25t capacity wireless Straightpoint (SP) load shackles are monitoring loads on wire ropes supporting a 2t steel ship, suspended above the city of Linz in Austria, to symbolise the water-themed Höhenrausch cultural project, which runs from May to October this year.

Six 12t capacity and six 25t capacity load shackles were supplied by SP distributor Pfeifer, which partnered with a local engineering company to create the spectacle atop a parking area in the country’s culture-centric region. The ship is 21m long, 18m wide and “flies” at around 81m, suspended in part by a wooden tower that was originally erected in 2009 for this exhibition.

Pfeifer, a specialist in the provision of ropes for construction, entertainment, and other projects, said: “The load shackles constantly monitor and provide information about the loads. Safety is of paramount importance because the ship is suspended above an area where pedestrians view the exhibit. It was a landmark, custom project, befitting of the cultural significance of the event.”

The hull of the ship was lifted by mobile crane in one piece; the three masts were raised individually and then attached to the structure. Connection points (orange in colour in the photos) on the ship form the main rigging areas for the complex suspension project. The load shackles were rigged strategically to communicate data via SP’s Multiple Wireless Load Cell Controller (SW-MWLC) software package, designed for use on a multitude of platforms.

David Mullard, business development manager at SP, explained that the operator reads the data on a laptop in a central control station. “SW-MWLC software is used to monitor the load shackles for overloads in the rigging wires for safety reasons as visitors are able to walk directly underneath the flying boat,” he said. “The load isn’t necessarily dynamic but with wind shear the loads would certainly change. Unlike many scenarios, here the load shackles are monitoring the in-situ rigging tensions during the exhibition rather than for the lifting operation itself.”

Mullard highlighted key features of SP’s wireless load shackles including their suitability to limited headroom applications. Each load shackle is proof tested and equipped with a hard anodised aluminium electronics enclosure containing a new internal chassis providing IP67 / NEMA6 environmental protection even with the battery cover plate missing. End users benefit from a range of 700m or 2,300 ft, he added.


clamp on line tension meterTower erection, maintenance, and service professionals have welcomed the release of an updated version of Straightpoint’s (SP) popular product for measuring tension on static lines—the Clamp On Line Tensionmeter (or COLT). Updates to the accompanying Bluetooth load-monitoring app are among a host of new features.

The COLT measures tension on wire rope up to 11,000 lbf (lb. force) / 5,000 kgf (kg force) and up to 1 in. / 25mm diameter. It clamps onto pre-tensioned wire ropes, eliminating the need for additional sheaves or tooling, as is the case with alternative solutions. An integral Bluetooth module, meanwhile, transmits tension data wirelessly to any smart device running the Android or iOS app that also contains an infinite wire rope library. Tension in wire ropes can be measured and logged within a few seconds.

Given the nature of work in this sector, where wind and other elements are of critical concern, a notable feature of the updated COLT is its ability to automatically fetch local weather conditions (temperature, wind speed, and wind direction), which is added to the data in the logging report, available on a cell phone or smart device. This is in addition to the app already grabbing GPS coordinates.

In fact, said David Ayling, director at SP, this is the new version’s standout enhancement. He explained: “Professionals in this challenging market need to be acutely aware of all hazards that might impact their work; it is a very dynamic environment. Foundations, corrosion, structural overloading, climb path obstructions, weather conditions, and much more must be monitored, logged, and accounted for. The technologically advanced COLT helps in some of these important areas and adds traceability, which is tantamount to safety.”

Ayling also pointed to a mechanical improvement to the product; enhancements to the sheave offer users even greater performance, repeatability, and accuracy, he said. Additional features are electronic and include a color-coded, wire rope database, coded to aid navigation; the ability to save a logging file as .pdf or .csv; simulate mode added to allow training and experimentation whilst in the app; a counter facility added for customers using the calibration verification rod or continuously variable transmission; and an additional datalogging facility that averages out a number of readings.

Wayne Wille, national business development manager at SP, said: “These are excellent enhancements to an already great product. They are features that our customers have asked for—and we’ve delivered.”

The COLT has already excelled in the field including applications involving tower and stack guy wires; pretensioned cable barriers; zip lines, bridges; elevators; winch rope; overhead electric transit wires; fall arrest systems; aircraft cables; and utilities projects. As expected, it has been most widely utilized in North American markets but is consumed in other geographies and is available through SP’s global dealer network.


12 point lift using sp loadlinks

A dozen wireless Straightpoint (SP) load cells were added to a custom-built lifting frame that utilized 12 pick points to raise a pair of non-identical refinery modules at a major brownfield project at Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada recently.

The 100-tonne capacity Radiolink plus dynamometers were provided by Stoney Creek, Ontario-based Equipment Corps Inc., which delivered the load monitoring solution to Irving Equipment, headquartered in Saint John. The latter also provided the Demag CC2800 crawler crane, equipped with a superlift. The equipment combined to complete a key phase of the oil refinery project, where a new processing unit was being installed.

Once Irving had designed and fabricated the customized lifting frame, based on the refinery’s specifications, it needed a method of monitoring the loads so they could be certain that the forces generated during the lift did not exceed the design criteria; the modules had extremely tight deflection tolerances that had to be adhered to. Further, explained Irving’s Ryan Long, the height of rigging had to be kept to a minimum due to the weight of the lifts and to avoid the need for a larger crane. The frame was designed to pin directly to the hook of the Demag.

Long added: “The module was designed by the time we were introduced to the lift so deciding where the pick points should be located was a challenge. We needed to find a way to safely lift the modules, whilst conforming to the pick points that were available, which turned out to be three rows of four, including a center row, which made traditional frames and spreader beams prohibitive. Both [modules] had identical lifting points but different weights and centers of gravity. Each pick point was directly above a steel supporting column in the module and the structural design limitations of those columns differed.”

Under the frame were a total of 82 55-ton shackles, 14 Crosby 2.75” turnbuckles, and four equalizer plates, in addition to the load cells. Long explained that a turnbuckle is a piece of rigging gear traditionally used in tensioning applications. They are adjustable in length by means of turning a center body around opposing screws. They are most commonly associated with utility pole guy-wires, he added.

Luke Habza, of Equipment Corps, added: “After taking a light pull with the crane, the team was first able to determine if the load ratios were approximately correct on each pick point. After adjustments were made to the turnbuckles based on the real-time readout on the tablet [utilizing SP’s SW-MWLC high-speed wireless data-logging software] the lift director was able to signal the crane to take incrementally larger loads until the module was airborne and the load of each pick point was known with confidence.”

Each module had been transported from a barge by Irving using 36 axle lines of self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT). Equipment Corps then placed them onto supporting stools whilst the site made final preparations. The modules were transported approximately 2.5km on land and barged another 20km prior to being landed on those stools. Irving used a team of six people for the transportation and four people to execute the lift.


tree felling

A Straightpoint load cell was used during the felling of nine hulking loblolly pine trees at a residential property in Chesapeake, Virginia, recently—one of which had been struck by lightning.

The wireless 25,000-lb. capacity Radiolink plus was utilised by arborist Adaptable Aerial Solutions LLC, beneath the hook of its Palfinger knuckle-boom crane, principally to avoid exceeding the safe working load limit of the company’s ropes and rigging hardware and compromising the structure of the tree in relation to dynamic forces and critical angles.

Four Adaptable (or Craneva, as it is known after the website name) arborists worked at heights of up to 90 ft. to bring down the trees in a piecemeal fashion; branches were removed first then the trunks. The team employed spliced eye balancing slings and endless loop slings. The balancers were tied with a non-binding hitch and the roundslings were set in a choker configuration using shackles and hooks for attachment at the choking point to prevent fabric on fabric friction.

Wood weights were calculated in advance using a green weight log chart that provides a general guideline by species and size. On-site, the load cell recorded the smallest pick at 1,625 lbs. and the largest at 6,500 lbs.

Steve Connally, of Adaptable Aerial Solutions, said: “The crane doesn’t have an LMI [load moment indicator] like a cable crane. The controller shows the percentage of load on a LED light cluster. Since the wood weight varies considerably with environmental factors, time of year, and the number of branch unions, it’s necessary to know the weights of the picks in relation to the load chart and strength of rigging components. Each lift weight is evaluated in relation to the previous lift and the following. It’s a continuous harmony between the crane operator and the climber. This ensures we stay working within safe parameters.”

He added: “I am very impressed with the load cell. It is perfect for my application in weight, design, and ease of use. The data from the [load] cell allows me to pretension picks as the climber is cutting. As with any industrial lift evolution, weights, angles, and distances are essential information. Services I sub-contract for have been equally impressed with the Radiolink plus.”

Crane expertise

The 50 ton meter, remote-controlled, articulating crane offers anywhere from 1,440 lbs. to 22,700 lbs. on capacity, depending where it is on its load chart. Connally is a National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) certified crane operator and has been using cranes in arboreal applications for 20 years.

Additionally, he and the team are fully trained in arborist rigging and technical rescue rigging operations. Connally is also an instructor at the Crane Safety Climber School, a class for arborists working with cranes for tree work. He explained that educational content includes hands-on training where a climber is aloft and performing rigging with an instructor alongside them in the tree.

Connally explained that tree felling is more complicated than many realize; it simply isn’t a case of heading to the foot of one with a chainsaw or an axe. He said: “Trunks are taken, when possible, at lengths to fit specifications of the saw mills or pulp producers. It’s typically depending on the potential hazards on the ground, ease of processing, quickest method, and the available workspace—not to mention customers who want to maintain a perfect lawn. These trees were all on the property line; we had to ensure that power lines, pools, fences, structures, and understory was unharmed.”

Interestingly, Connally is also a 22-year veteran firefighter with the city of Norfolk Virginia and has been a paramedic for 27 years. For 10 years he was a member then a supervisor of the hazardous materials and technical rescue teams.


Kizzie Cordwell and Dave Ayling

Straightpoint (SP) has appointed Kizzie Cordwell to the role of inside sales, as the load cell manufacturer continues to grow its team at Havant headquarters in the UK.

Cordwell brings a wealth of experience to the position, having previously worked in sales and customer service roles. Most recently, she worked in the construction sector selling heavy-duty machinery such as diggers and wheeled loaders.

Cordwell said: “The position was recommended to me by a current employee at the company, so I was aware of the ethos of the business, which seemed to fit well with my own approach to working practices and ambitions. I enjoyed my previous role but the timing of the opening at SP was good and I’m excited to be given the opportunity.”

David Ayling, director at Straightpoint, said: “As I’ve said before, we always look for certain DNA traits when searching for personnel to join our team. We had 18 strong applications for the recently vacated position and Kizzie was the standout candidate; we’re all excited about working with her in the immediate and long-term future.”

In her previous position, in addition to the aforementioned core areas of responsibility, Cordwell was also charged with overseeing workshop workloads and was the designated person for troubleshooting in a number of departments. In a multifaceted role, she also oversaw production of marketing materials, media releases, and managed social media. It is a diverse skillset she’s looking forward to leveraging at SP.

She explained: “Essentially, my new role involves working with customers, primarily on the telephone and over email, to generate quotes and maximise the sales of the business. However, I am confident that the position will diversify over time and there will be great opportunities for career development. In my early days here I’ve detected a relaxed culture where staff are encouraged to express themselves and put their ideas forward for discussion.”

Cordwell continued: “SP is a growing business but it’s clear they haven’t lost that all-important personal touch and they clearly care about their customers. It’s evident already that David and the team work hard to preserve a supportive culture and everyone has been very welcoming. I’m picking up the systems and am gradually learning the vast array of products we can provide. Of course the task of learning them all is slightly daunting but I intend to tackle that challenge head-on.”

Ayling concluded: “It’s easy to forget the extent of the diversification of the SP range, which now serves so many niche industries and applications, but all our innovation and expansion stems from the same core set of values and Kizzie has already shown a great aptitude to that culture so the learning curve will be that much smoother.”


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