Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

An Intelligent System for Monitoring Tower Cranes on Construction Sites

M. A. Nadar, C. A. Awakian, H. K. Khoury
Pages 1239-1246 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

Harsh and dynamic construction sites are generally equipped with cranes in order to rapidly and conveniently move heavy loads from one location to the other. If not properly inspected and managed, this operation can be very hazardous and lead to accidents. As such, a reliable and self-contained monitoring system that can update construction and safety personnel about the status of the crane, the weight of the load lifted, the location of the boom with respect to nearby buildings and other tower cranes, and the weather conditions under which the crane is operating, is deemed necessary. This can lead to significant time and cost savings as well as safety and productivity improvement due to the accuracy and immediacy of relevant on-site crane information delivery. This paper takes the initial steps and presents research targeted at evaluating the capability of wireless sensor networks (WSN) for monitoring tower crane operations in construction environments. A reliable long range WSN system is implemented and information is obtained from various special-purpose sensors (temperature, wind, proximity, etc.) mounted on special motes that relay data to and from each other and a central hub. The latter continuously monitors and manages network performance and relays incoming data to the host application. This application, in turn, displays the received data, and maps it onto a user-friendly visualization scheme, triggering alarms when a set of pre-programmed rules and safety conditions are crossed. The components of the proposed system have been tested through proof of concept experiments and preliminary results highlighted the potential of WSN systems for improving monitoring of tower cranes and reducing related accidents on construction sites, especially in Lebanon and the Middle East region where safety precautions are usually not properly implemented.

Keywords: Tower crane accidents, Construction safety, Tower crane monitoring, WSN