Automation of process cranes

Although in heavy crane designs, mostly human control is absolutely necessary, in some cases the crane can also be automated.

Automation comes into play mainly in connection with automated production lines, but can also be used in the storage and dosing of material. In the case of cranes, there are two main levels of automation:

1. Semi-automatic operation

In semi-automatic operation, the operator is always present on the crane and controls the process. 

It is useful in storage spaces or production areas where the work process requires repeated movements of the crane to one or more fixed positions, lifting and lowering the load when different grippers, vacuum or magnetic beam are used… 

With automation, the crane is always moved exactly to the same position, thus increasing the accuracy and speed of operation, at the same time relieving the lift operator.

To increase safety, avoidance zones may also be integrated – areas where the crane is not allowed to enter, may operate at reduced speed or may enter only if additional criteria are met (eg. position of hook, load conditions, …)

2. Automatic operation

The operator is not present on the crane during automatic operation.  

Such cranes are usually used on automatic lines without operator access. All control of the lift is done from the control room. For more complex solutions, the crane is operated by a higher-level control system that controls the entire automatic line and includes the crane operation when needed (loading, unloading…).

Communication protocols between operators or systems are made according to the wishes and specifications of the client.


  • greater productivity and reliability
  • cost reduction
  • greater accuracy, especially for repetitive tasks
  • better control and traceability of the production process