News & Case Studies
- Written by Tanya
Straightpoint Makes Marquee Acquisition of Load Cell Heavyweight
Straightpoint Inc. has named Wayne Wille, technical sales manager, bringing over 20 years of lifting industry experience to the manufacturer of force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cell equipment.
Wille, who is well-known to end users and distributors across North America having sold the wares of another supplier, cited Straightpoint’s breadth of product offering as the main reason for joining the company.
He said: “I am confident that in this new position I will be able to offer dealers and users of the equipment 35 to 40% more product variety than what is being tabled by other suppliers. Combined with my market knowledge and understanding of the diverse applications where it is important to understand the weight of load, having such an extensive range at my disposal is very exciting.”
Wille highlighted Straightpoint’s ability to react to industry to provide innovative solutions, which he noted had recently manifested itself in extending the range of its wireless products to nearly 2,300ft, in addition to new products for explosive environments, the Running Line Dynamometer (part of the manufacturer’s tension in motion range), load pins and load shackles.
David Ayling, director of Straightpoint, said: “It is hard to overstate the significance of Wayne’s arrival at the company and the impact it could have on the load cell sector. For many years, he has been at the coalface of our industry and combining his attributes with the best tools available is a mouthwatering prospect.”
Wille has monitored development of the marketplace over three different decades and believes his new employer can pioneer further progression in two areas that he has seen evolve the greatest during that time—data transmission and capacity.
As he pointed out, Straightpoint’s wireless technology allows antennae free data transmission and can be connected to the latest Internet of Things technology, while the Radiolink plus is supplied with an update rate of 3Hz and can be easily configured to run at speeds of up to 200Hz. Data is transmitted wirelessly utilising the latest in IEEE 802.15.4 (2.4 GHz) technology.
Wille said: “This industry has gone beyond the simplicity of what is being lifted and how much it weighs. While those core principles remain, equal gravitas must be placed on data collection and the speed at which we can transfer accurate information from below-the-hook to professionals overseeing the lift. That’s in addition to the constant challenges presented by the staggering capacities that modern day equipment can lift and move.”
Ayling concluded: “Such is the scale of growth potential that Wayne brings to an already high performance North American operation, we have also had to prepare our UK-based departments to be dynamic in response to an anticipated spike in demand. We are poised for a very exciting second half of the year.”
- Written by Tanya
Press Release: 7 July 2016
French Port Upgrades Weighing Technology on Boat Hoist
The Brise Lames marina in Anglet, southwest France, has installed four wireless load shackles and a multi-load cell monitoring and logging system from Straightpoint onto a 25t marine boat hoist.
The hoist, manufactured by Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin-based Marine Travelift Inc., already possessed weighing technology but it has been in operation since 2002 and the end user required more accurate measurement of vessels, which are typically removed from water for maintenance.
Straightpoint’s French distributor, Traction Levage, provided the solution in four 6.5t wireless load shackles, which were an ideal fit with two pick up points on either side of the boat hoist that moves on four rubber tyres beneath uprights in the corners of the lifting machine. Installation involved integration of two shackles onto both ends of two flat slings, which pass under boats. The logging system provides simultaneous data and the ability to print load reports, whilst confirming mass and centre of gravity.
Dave Mullard, business development manager at Straightpoint, said: “It was very important for the end user to have accurate load information. Not only is this key to the ongoing safety of boat lifts to prevent overload situations, but also they charge their customers based on weight of vessel. The heavier they are, the more expensive the cost of lift, for example. Now, the boat hoist operator can implement an accurate billing system and give customers access to the data upon which those calculations are based.”
Mullard added that the wireless load shackles were ideal for permanent installation in an outdoor environment, explaining that contained within the aluminium enclosures is a new internal chassis providing IP67 / NEMA6 environmental protection even with the battery cover plate missing.
He said: “The installation demonstrates the suitability of Straighpoint systems to Marine Travelift and other boat hoists of varying type and capacity, to the point where they could almost become ubiquitous in such applications. We will work closely with Herve Capdeville, of Traction Levage’s Bordeaux facility, who facilitated this installation, and other distributors around the world to that end.”
The 25t unit, which operates at a facility in Port de Bayonne, is from the manufacturer’s low capacity range to 100 tons, but the maximum capacity of its C-Series goes up to 1,200 tons. Straightpoint wireless load shackles are available from stock in capacities from 3.25t to 500t, meaning similar ease of installation can take place even on the largest models.
- Written by Tanya
Tree surgeons and other professionals from the arboriculture industry have embraced a new technology that measures the shock load and weight of branches as they are cut during felling or maintenance.
The Impact Block load cell is manufactured in partnership with tree safety equipment pioneer DMM and contains electronics and software from force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cell equipment specialist Straightpoint. The product was commissioned by a tree maintenance company in the sector.
The industry has acknowledged that the Impact Block can fill gaps in knowledge about the forces put through rigging equipment and the weight of loads as they are cut away from trees. It can become as important as a training device as it is a practical onsite tool for the sector.
Unlike crane-related or other typical rigging scenarios, in tree applications professionals do not always have an anchor point above the lifting point. If only the stem and canopy of a spruce tree remains, for example, a rope break may have to be attached to the bottom of the tree from where a rope and pulley will connect to the piece being cut.
As cuts are made, wood is essentially thrown into the rigging from above. This is in stark contrast to crane lifts, where the hook is typically positioned directly above the mass of the load being rigged and lifted. In the lifting and material handling business, testing is also commonplace but this is frequently impossible in the tree sector because of logistics and the damage such tests could cause to soil and surrounding areas, which in themselves are of critical importance to the health of the tree and subsequent maintenance operations.
The aesthetic curves of the Impact Block combine with strength and durability to ensure a rope-friendly surface. Utilising wireless dynamic load monitoring electronics and strain gauge technology, real time data can be displayed on a handheld controller, tablet or laptop at speeds up to 200Hz. Importantly, this eliminates the estimation work that often goes into arborist applications.
The UK’s Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) was involved in a research programme in 2008, which opened many people’s eyes to the extent of the forces generated and the requirement to more scientifically and accurately research such activity. The launch of the Impact Block places a yardstick in the progress of the sector’s technological advancement and many are campaigning for its widespread use.
One arborist said: “To be able to demonstrate real time shock load data to a group of students is incredibly powerful. Furthermore, we can use the technology to delve deeper into dynamic load situations by researching where forces on the anchor point are at their greatest, while investigating what is happening to the rigging before and after that moment.”
He added: “We need to demonstrate these numbers to existing arborist professionals and those new to our industry. Unless we understand the forces, we can’t understand the safety factors. We frequently work in close proximity to other trees, buildings and infrastructure. The consequences of a lack of understanding about the loads and the forces they place on rigging equipment can be catastrophic if not researched extensively.”
It is anticipated that the Impact Block will be of particular interest to tree professionals in North America, where utilities equipment and power lines are more commonly above ground. Uptake is also expected from large contractors and those engaged in arborist-related training.
Straightpoint director David Ayling said: “The technology built into the impact block is based on technology that has proven its accuracy and durability in a myriad of demanding applications in the lifting and other industries, largely based on the blueprint of our most popular product, the Radiolink plus load cell. The conception of the Impact Block again demonstrates our ability to apply our force measurement expertise to industries looking to use their own state-of-the-art hardware and equipment to raise safety levels and improve best practice. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the tree maintenance sector.”
- Written by Tanya
Straightpoint Appoints New Australian Distributor
Hoisting Equipment Specialists (Vic) Pty Ltd head office in Melbourne, Victoria 9 June 2016
Straightpoint has named Hoisting Equipment Specialists (Vic) Pty Ltd (HES) a distributor of its force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cell equipment in Australia.
Under the agreement, the Melbourne-based company will supply Straightpoint’s full range of equipment and promote it through its HES, Schillings Hoisting Equipment and Load Restraint Systems brands, giving Australia-wide exposure.
Australian Calibrating Services (ACS) will remain a Straightpoint supplier and will calibrate equipment upon arrival into Australia. However, HES will replace its existing force measurement equipment suppliers with Straightpoint’s range, thus, positioning it as the load cell manufacturer’s lead representative in the region.
Dean Nelson, managing director of HES, said: “I am hugely excited about adding Straightpoint equipment to our portfolio and anticipate demand to be solid. Most markets are in decline at the moment, with mining and construction heading the pack. But as a group of companies we fly in the face of this decline and have recorded double digit growth in our financial year to date.”
He added: “I strongly believe we have attained greater market share in a shrinking market. We are active and well known in wind energy , while other industries not only engage us in supply and installation activity but also ongoing maintenance. We are also recognised in the entertainment, utilities, hire, heavy engineering, and transport sectors.”
Straightpoint recently launched explosion proof versions of its most popular product, the Radiolink plus wireless load cell, in addition to the wireless Handheld plus, compression cells, shackle cells, load pins and the Running Line Dynamometer (or TIMH). HES will stock much of the range at Melbourne headquarters with immediate effect.
David Ayling, director, Straightpoint, said: “I am equally optimistic about our new partnership. HES is extremely well connected with a strong customer base, which it reinforces with a great digital marketing strategy. There are many other synergies between the companies in terms of leadership and culture. I am glad we are retaining the calibration expertise of ACS, but with HES driving penetration into the marketplace, we are poised to take our presence in the region to another level.”
Nelson concluded: “We want to be very clear with our existing and prospective customers that in Straightpoint products, we are carrying market-leading, top-end, force measurement equipment. As a manufacturer, it is at the forefront of technological development and will offer our customers quality, safety and functionality that is not available elsewhere.”
- Written by Tanya
Straightpoint Load Cells Make Debut Performance at Rose Theatre KingstonThe Rose Theatre Kingston in South West London has added to its rigging inventory four 1t Loadlink Plus units from Straightpoint, which were most recently used during installation of sets for a production of Shakespeare’s King John. The famous play, directed by Trevor Nunn, was performed during a three-week run at the theatre. It required an elaborate set that included a large raised floor with an automated lift, two 9m-high towers and three platforms connected via numerous staircases and walkways. Any remaining empty space between those towers and walkways was finished with wooden cladding. Elsewhere on set, two large sliders concealed a throne.
Wayne Parry, head of production at the Rose Theatre Kingston, explained that the load cells were used only for set installation, not during performances. He said: “Large steel sections were lifted using several motors (hoists) and, although the safe working load was well within the point capacity, we set the load cells to sound an alarm if any weight transfer came close to that capacity.”
The theatre will utilise the load cells for upcoming performances, including its next production—Good Canary, directed by John Malkovich, opens in mid-September—where three light-emitting diode (LED)-based video displays are the centrepiece to performances. The screens will be moved on tracks, while furniture moves on and off stage using floor tracks. The load cells will be used to monitor the loads distributed to the front of the overhead structure where the forces are greatest.
Parry explained that the theatre has a spider grid that houses the lighting rig and any performance-specific low load rigging. Most of the rigging is transferred to still sections in the roof that have a point load of 250kg. The stage dimensions beneath are 10m deep, 16m wide and 10m high.
He said: “The Rose grid is a complex affair and loads are spread between various sections to include the permanently installed bridges. As there is no flying system, the loads tend to be manageable as most of the work is fixed and much of it transfers through the stage floor. The stage floor itself is made up of steel deck rostras on steel legs.”
The Loadlink Plus units, manufactured from high-quality and high-tensile aircraft grade aluminum, were selected by Parry and his team in consultation with Straightpoint based on the theatre’s immediate requirements and flexibility for use in future shows.
Parry concluded: “Safety in any workplace is important and particularly so in the world of theatre, which compromises many different disciplines carried out simultaneously. Additionally, schedules are always tight and deadlines concrete, therefore, the need for clear and thorough safety procedures is vital.”