How to use pendant stations at your facility
If you have been around industrial or construction projects, you will notice the prominent use of overhead equipment like track cranes, job cranes, winches and more. The control of these machines is usually overlooked by one or two workers, one who totally operates the crane, while the other directs him. But with pendant stations, it becomes easier to manage and control these system processes. A pendant station refers to a series of switches that control the larger electrical loads of cranes or hoists. These are also used in manufacturing units to control the conveyor belt to product line equipment. Pendant stations are designed in a way to enable lifting and handling applications. These devices may look simple but have several components such as switches, dials, push buttons to monitor the systems.
Pendant control stations are available in different series – wall-mounted, direct control, command and control machinery. They are categorised into two major types – Push button pendants and radio control pendants. And in this article, we look in more depth into these types and which is a better preferred pendant station at your facility.
Push Button Pendants Vs Radio Control: Comparison
Push Button Pendants: This control station is wired directly to the hoist. It hangs down and the operator can use it handheld. The operator can walk along the control pendant and the load-operating crane. The hoist can be positioned laterally so they can control the hook’s lifting movement.
Radio Control Pendants: These pendant stations come with wireless remote transmitters that can be clipped onto the operator’s harness or be handheld. This transmitter sends radio signals to the receiver unit that is mounted on the crane. The unit transforms this signal into electrical energy to activate the movement of the crane upwards or downwards. The hoist can also be moved sideways or used to raise/lower the hook.
Now that we know the basic difference between these both pendant stations, we examine further the comparison of the pros and cons of each type of pendant station.
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Pros and Cons of Push Button Pendants
- Push button pendant control has an ergonomic design which is convenient for operators to use.
- With the advancement of technology, pendant controls are available in smaller sizes and are lightweight, thus easing the operation with just one hand.
- The insulated design protects the operator from electric shocks.
- The rugged design can resist moisture, corrosion, dirt and dust.
- Pendant controls are wired to the hoist or a festoon system so they’re reliable. There is no chance of interference between the remote transmitter and receiver.
- Since it is suspended from the crane, there is no chance of being dropped.
- The operator has to be very close to the load at all times. It exposes them to the risk of a hazard in case of heavy loads or hazardous materials like chemical or hot metals.
- The operator has to follow along with the load throughout the facility, it can be disadvantageous if you fall or trip on some unseen obstacle.
Pros and Cons of Radio Controls
- Radio controls offer flexibility as the operator doesn’t have to stay beside the crane or the load at all times. The cranes can be operated remotely.
- Earlier, radio controls were unaffordable and considered unreliable but with the advancement of technology, radio controls with high quality transmitters are available at a cost-effective rate.
- It is also money-saving in terms of reducing the workforce behind one single task. A single trained operator can manage the application.
- Some of the advanced radio controls also provide data on runtime, drives, number of picks/hooks, weight on the hook. This is helpful during an issue or maintenance of the machine.
- Radio controls offer more safety as it prevents the operator from radiation, heat, high humidity and high voltage shocks.
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- Radio control pendants are not compatible with Type A and Type B cranes as these cranes are battery-operated.
- Being a handheld device, it is more prone to damage, incase it drops repeatedly. Similarly, it is also possible to be misplaced. You must fix a central storage space for it.
- The radio control batteries have to be frequently checked by the operator. In case, he/she forgets, it can hamper with production.
The decision of choosing the type of pendant station depends on your facility and operations. Push button pendant stations are available in basic 2-button to 12 buttons for a wide variety of applications.
For good quality and pre-assembled pendant stations made with high-impact thermoplastics, you can check out the range of push button pendant stations provided by Schneider Electric. They have a range of pendant stations made from rugged, double-insulated thermoplastic material. These stations have been designed for easy handling and operation suitable for overhead cranes, tower cranes, fixed and beam hoists.