Mobile Portable Tower Crane
Advanced Crane Control Laboratory

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Introduction
Cranes are used to transport heavy loads at construction sites, shipyards, factories, and warehouses throughout the world. All cranes use vertical suspension cables to support the payload, thereby creating the possibility of pendulum-like payload oscillation. Input shaping can drastically reduce this oscillation. However, another major drawback of cranes is that they are often difficult and slow to deploy. This fact, when coupled with the limited (or nonexistent) mobility of most cranes, increases construction costs. A crane with a mobile base could help alleviate this problem, in addition to expanding crane functionality. For example, a mobile crane could greatly aid first responders at a disaster scene. 
Research Questions
The addition of base mobility to cranes introduces additional control challenges. Base motion will excite the oscillation modes. However, the addition of base motion also presents additional control opportunities. A mobile crane will have redundant actuation; multiple combinations of actuators can be used to move the payload from one location to another. This presents the opportunity to 
choose a combination of actuation that provides rapid motion and results in low levels of system oscillation. Combinations of actuation could also be chosen to increase the robustness of the control system. Using Input Shaping as a base, this research will explore these possibilities. Main research questions include:
  1. Can mobile cranes be moved quickly with little payload oscillation?
  2. Can input shaping techniques be successfully applied to mobile cranes?
  3. How can the redundancy of actuation be used to:
  4. Increase rapidity of payload transport, while limiting payload oscillation?
  5. Increase control system (specifically input shaping) robustness?
  6. Improve the performance of traditional input shaping techniques?

Project Team:
William Singhose (Professor)
  Josh Vaughan

 


Close up of the mobile tower crane base.