I sat down with subject matter expert and Magnetek controls product manager, Casey Cummins, to discuss the benefits and features of crane collision avoidance systems.

Q: What is a crane collision avoidance system?

Casey: Collision avoidance systems are electronic devices that can be installed on your crane to help prevent accidents before they happen, protecting people, the facility, the end product and the crane itself. Collision avoidance systems are typically used in overhead material handling applications where multiple cranes are employed on a single runway, as well as where a single crane is in use. They are designed to prevent crane-to-crane and crane-to-end stop collisions, increasing operator safety and reducing system maintenance.

Q: Is the demand for collision avoidance systems growing?

Casey: Collision avoidance systems are increasingly being added to material handling systems as the demand for products that improve workplace safety grows. Collision avoidance systems intervene, when necessary, to prevent accidents, and are a reliable means of preventing human error, helping to make the workplace safer and reducing maintenance costs.

Q: Are there specific standards that require this type of system?

Casey: Collision avoidance systems are designed to prevent unintentional contact between cranes or other equipment. Although there are no specific requirements in today’s general duty crane standards to provide collision avoidance, CMAA states that all collision avoidance requirements shall be specified by the owner or purchaser of the crane. End-of-travel collision avoidance should be designed to prevent unintentional contact of the crane or trolley with mechanical end stops or other equipment. Collision avoidance should reduce speed and/or stop the travel motion prior to impact.

Q: What type of collision avoidance systems does Magnetek offer?

Casey: Magnetek offers three collision avoidance systems which can be applied to all types of overhead cranes or monorails with adjustable frequency drives, soft starters or contactor controls. Multiple configurations are available so customers can choose the exact functionality, size and style to fit their application needs. All Magnetek’s collision avoidance systems are rated IP65 or better for indoor or outdoor applicationsThe collision avoidance systems are “fail-safe,” which means that if the sensor loses power, motion of the crane would be stopped and restricted.

Q: What type of sensor technology do your collision avoidance systems use?

Casey: Magnetek’s ReFlx 45 product uses a modulated visible LED light signal, while the ReFlx 120 product uses an infrared light signal. These light signals are transmitted at a reflective target and a receiver senses the reflected signal from that target. The information is then processed and the appropriate relay will open, providing for slow down or stoppage of motion. Depending on the device selected, ReFlx has a detection range between 3 and 120 feet.

Crane Collision Avoidance Systems

ReFlx 45 with modulated visible LED light signal

Crane Collision Avoidance Systems

ReFlx 120 with infrared light signal

Magnetek’s LaserGuard2 collision avoidance product is the most technologically advanced system available, using self-monitoring optical lasers to check a crane’s position. Its multi-distance detection feature is flexible enough to manage crane-to-crane and wall-to-crane operations. The configurable set-point range of this laser-based system (from 8 inches to 150 feet) provides the ability to monitor distances between cranes, trolleys and monorail carriers, and prevent collision between this equipment. Laser-based systems offer the most precise positioning and are particularly useful in an automated environment.

Crane Collision Avoidance Systems

LaserGuard2 Collision Avoidance System

Q: What trends in the market do you see?

Casey: The industry is moving toward remote diagnostics and monitoring, which will allow crane operators to monitor the crane on their mobile phone or tablet from the ground or anywhere in the world. Magnetek offers remote diagnostics with its engineered solutions.


Who doesn’t love the summer time and seeing a great concert with your favorite band from the past or present? A few of our fans recently shared CM Hoist photos from summer concerts they’ve attended, which included a snapshot of our #CMLodestar motors.

For King and Country, CM Hoist

For King and Country performing at the Carowinds Paladium Ampitheatre in Charlotte, North Carolina.

CMA Music Festival, CM Hoist

CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee (Thank you Mountain Productions!)

CM Lodestar motors in Lisbon, Portugal, CM Hoist

Martin Audio’s MLA rig on world stage at Rock Festival in Lisbon, Portugal. (Thank you Tracy!)

Like us, they love seeing CM Hoist products in action!

We know that many of you have great things planned for this summer, so we are continuing our tradition of starting a 2016 photo album on Facebook to capture your photos of Columbus McKinnon products working hard at concerts and events around the world.

If you spot them being used, please snap a photo and share it with us on social media. We will post your pictures on our Facebook photo album and, each month, our fans (through likes!) will choose a lucky winner who will receive a box of some great CM promotional items!

There are many ways you can share your CM Hoist photos with us – choose your favorite channel!
Twitter: Industrial
Twitter: CM-Entertainment

Use the hashtags #CMLodestar and #wheresyourCM to join the conversation!

We look forward to seeing all of the wonderful concerts and places you will visit this summer!


Test Rig

200-ton capacity horizontal test rig is used to proof load test humble hooks in the South African gold mining industry.

Yale Lifting Solutions was recently approached by a long-time client in the South African gold mining industry to provide a 200-ton capacity horizontal test rig used to proof load test humble hooks. Humble hooks are safety devices used to connect winder ropes to the main personnel cages and ore conveyances on hoists in vertical mine shafts.

How does the test rig work?

A humble hook is installed in the test rig and the operator sets the testing parameters. The test rig then automatically carries out the test and, upon completion, produces a test certificate containing relevant testing information that can be printed out or saved electronically. Typically, the rig tests each humble hook to 65 tons, but has a maximum testing capacity of 200 tons if needed. Each rig weighs more than 5,500 kg. (12,000 lbs.).

Also, because safety is a critical part of the way Columbus McKinnon does business, each test rig is fitted with a safety cage to prevent possible injury should something fail during the testing process. By use of strategically positioned limit switches working in conjunction with the control program, the test rig will only operate if the cage is closed. Once this test is complete, the humble hooks undergo an ultrasonic test before they are put into storage awaiting installation on the hoist.

In South Africa, it is a legal requirement that a short length of the front end of each winder rope on a mine hoist is cut off on a regular basis. Then, this wire rope sample is submitted to a testing laboratory for destructive testing and inspection, to monitor the residual strength of the rope. It is normal practice to replace the humble hook at the same time that the front end is cut. The humble hook in service is removed and the tested humble hook is installed in its place. To date, this is one of the largest manufacturing projects Yale Lifting Solutions has carried out in its newly formed manufacturing department.


Is Changing a Hoist Brake Considered a Modification?

May 12, 2016

Rod, a Canadian crane services manager and recent safety webinar attendee, asked: “Is changing a hoist brake a modification? Tom Reardon, Columbus McKinnon training instructor, responds: Changing a hoist holding brake is not a modification simply because the brake is being replaced. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines modification as: “a change in something (such as a system or style).” […]

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Can Spring Balancers Save Lives? Yes They Can!

May 5, 2016

Normally, spring balancers, sold by our Columbus McKinnon’s Industrial Products (CMIP) division in Wuppertal, Germany, are used to relieve operators from the weight of hand tools. By using a tapered rope drum, the weight of the attached load is compensated so that loads up to 200 kg can be moved effortlessly along a vertical axis. Standard applications would include spot-welding guns, riveting machines or multiple-nut runners. One […]

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Understanding Crane Operator Hand Signals for Mobile, Overhead, Gantry and Tower Cranes

April 28, 2016

When working as a crane operator in a facility or at a jobsite, especially those with lots of traffic, it is crucial to understand and use crane operator hand signals. As required by OSHA 1926.1400 Cranes and Derricks, these individuals, or signal persons, must know all signals for mobile, tower and overhead cranes and must […]

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CMCO Distributor, REID Lifting, Proudly Sponsors the World’s Fastest Land Speed Record Attempt

April 14, 2016

The Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) is set to become one of the world’s greatest engineering feats, capable of travelling at speeds over 1,000 mph. Started 8 years ago, the Bloodhound project is attempting to smash the current land speed record of 763 mph by Thrust SSC, the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier. When […]

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Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 7: Chain Inspection

April 7, 2016

This article is Part 7 of a 7-part blog series that will cover what operators should consider when performing a pre-operational hoist safety inspection. Today, we’ll discuss chain inspection. The final step in our pre-operational hoist safety inspection should be to check the hoist’s chain. Clean the chain, if required, before inspection. If the chain […]

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Customer Questions the Orientation of Ceiling Mounted Rail System Runway

March 24, 2016

Below is a frequently asked question we receive on ceiling mounted rail systems: “What is the benefit of hanging a ceiling mounted rail system with the runway running parallel versus perpendicular with the steel?” When an application gives you the choice to hang the runway rail underneath (parallel) to the header steel, that is likely the […]

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Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 6: Operation Inspection

March 10, 2016

This article is Part 6 of a 7-part blog series that will cover what operators should consider when performing a pre-operational hoist safety inspection. Today, we’ll discuss operation inspection. When testing the operation of the hoist, it’s important to test the upper and lower limits. A limiting device protects the hoist from getting damaged, from running […]

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