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Design and construction of a tower crane




Jose de Jesus Rubio

Jaime Pacheco

Instituto Politcnico Nacional

Instituto Politcnico Nacional





Roberto Alcantara Ramirez

Irma Irasema Siller-Alcal

Metropolitan Autonomous University

Metropolitan Autonomous University





Available from: Jose de Jesus Rubio

Retrieved on: 10 April 2016

Tower Crane Innovation

Design, Construction and

Control of a Novel
Tower Crane

Jos de Jess Rubio, Jaime Pacheco

Section of Graduate Studies and Research (ESIME) Azcapotzalco, National Polytechnic Institute
Av. de las Granjas, No. 682, Col. Sta. Catarina., C.P.
02550, Delg. Azcapotzalco Mxico D.F., MXICO

Jos de Jess Rubio Roberto Alcntara

Roberto Alcntara, Jorge Jaimes, Irma Siller

Department of Electronics, Process Control Panel
Metropolitan Autonomous University, Av. San
Pablo No. 180, Col. Reynosa Tamaulipas, C.P.0200,
Delg. Azcapotzalco, Mxico D.F., MXICO
Jorge Jaimes

verall a crane is a mechanical system de

signed to hoist and move loads through a
hook suspended from a cable. In the construction industry, where it is needed lifting, often
times they use, cranes that are anchored or subject to
a ballast [1] [2]. In most designs, it aims to have the
center of gravity of the system located at the base,
and so the center of mass obligate the system to
remain in balance, regardless of the magnitude of the
load, which is much minor to the total mass of the
crane. In the cranes tower, the load lifted must be
able to move, an action that is done by a trolley along
the boom, reaching the counterweight in the counter
boom at a fixed distance with regard to the tower.
This principle of operation limits the weight that can
be lifted by making it dependent on the distance you
want to move in the boom. This limitation is related
to the balance that generates the counterweight,
ballast and load. Fig. 1.1 shows the weights that
tower cranes can lift according to the length of
displacement along the boom. As mentioned in [2] at
present, control cranes are moving from manual
operation, which depended on the ability of an operator
to an automatic control, especially when they are
very big and move loads at high speeds. Hence, new
methods of automation are being developed. For
example combinations of classic control laws with
modern control laws [3], [4] and [5] apart from fuzzy
logic controllers are used [6], [7], [8] and [9].To
control automated cranes several techniques exist:

Irma Siller

The first technique is based on the generation of

trajectories [10] and [11] for transporting load from
one point to another with minimal sway of the load.
That path will depend on the type of crane used, as in
certain types of cranes viz., bridge cranes the operation is relatively easier over the tower crane. These
techniques can be used for optimal control.
The second technique is based on the feedback of
the position and angle of oscillation of the load [10].
The third technique is by dividing the controller
into two parts into control anti-sway and that of the
other control of the position of the load [10]. Each of
them are designed separately and combined to ensure
the performance and stability of the system.

Figure 1 Displacement respect to the load

The Masterbuilder - June 2009 39

Tower Crane Innovation

Design, Construction and Control of a Novel Tower Crane

Although much research is concentrated on the

generation of trajectories, since cranes are being assembled
by many anchoring systems or excessive ballast, we use
the second technique here, with the application of classical
control laws to achieve a self-balancing and proper
functioning with devices, actuators and sensors for the
positioning of counterweight and the joints further.
Design of the crane
A tower crane as shown in Fig. 2. 3, consists
basically [1] with:

Figure 3 Relationship
moments in balance
Figure 2 Overview of a crane parts

The operation of the proposed crane being based

on the balance of moments as shown in Fig. 1.6. And
given by the relationship F1 x D1 = F2 x D2.

both the mechanical and the electrical and electronic

components, such as motors, sensors, circuit cards,
etc. The general specification are:

: Tower

Length of the boom
Length of counter boom
The tower height
Maximum height of
load displacement
Maximum weight of the load :
Speed lifting of the load
Angle maximum load balancing :
Rotation angle of the tower :

Aluminium and iron

160 cm
60 cm
45 cm
130 cm
1000 g
5 cm / sec

Specifying the dimensions desired, the experimental

tower crane is designed as shown in Figure 5, being a
good start to apply control laws classical and modern.
Noting the technical specifications, in e) indicates
that the tower height is 45 cm, choosing this length
so that the crane is not very high and has increased
stability, it will also rely on a structure as the building, which in our case is going to be a table of 100 cm
in height shown in Figure 5, emulating a building.

The proposed crane in this paper reduces the

ballast and eliminates the anchor, since it will be "auto
balancing''. The concept of self-balancing involves
eliminating anchoring system, which is replaced by a
movable counterweight as shown in Fig. 4.
Mechanical Design of the crane
To achieve the mechanical design of the tower
crane, initially technical specifications are required,

Figure 4 General Outline of the crane self-balancing

40 The Masterbuilder - June 2009

Figure 5. Experimental crane tower on a table

Tower Crane Innovation

Design, Construction and Control of a Novel Tower Crane

Figure 6. Mast and base

Figure 7 Perspective half

mast stand motor

This crane does not have mechanical system of

displacement. In f) states that the maximum height of
the vertical displacement of the load (m1) should be
130 cm, noting that in Fig 5, it is the sum of the
height of the table plus 30 cm in lifting crane, this
load is going to be at least 15 cm below the highest
point of the boom.
Here are just a few pieces for the design of the crane.
Mast and slewing mechanism of the crane.
The mast consists of a group of parts, so that half
is fixed to the base, and the other half can be rotated.
The parts are displayed in Fig. 5,7.
The reason there are two sections with almost
the same length is because at half mast there are the
mechanical elements of rotation as shown in Fig. 7,
gear, (small gear) pinion and motor, which by their
dimensions occupy considerable space, and if these
traction elements are placed near the junction of the
mast and the boom, they take away
the space to the lifting elements and
mass displacement m1, as well as
the displacement of counterweight
(mass m2).

Figure 8 Gear assembled

at the upper mast

Figure 9. Gear and pinion in detail

cm ( in) in diameter and 40 cm long, which is

placed in the middle and along the mast coupled with
bearings that are shown in Fig.10 and they are
assembled by pressure on the internal supports of the
mast, in the slewing gear and support of motor
rotation, preventing torsion forces affecting the
slewing support.
Boom and counter boom.
In the commercial crane, the boom, counter
boom and mast are built with tubular bars and / or
angular, forming a lightweight structure and strong
at the same time. In the case of the experimental
crane has decided to use aluminium bar, because it
avoids manufactuing of every component of the
boom and counter boom, satisfying with the characteristics of weight and resistance to be desired. As
shown in Fig. 12, taking advantage of the length of
aluminium bar, the boom and the counter boom are
in the same bar.

The second part of the mast is

joined to form a single piece gear. As
shown in Fig. 5,9, as well as the
basis, the gear has a slot where the
mast top is assembled.
An important element to give
rigidity to the mast is a screw 2.54
42 The Masterbuilder - June 2009

Figure 10. Bearings for vertical support

Figure 11. Internal Supports of the mast

and internal screw

Tower Crane Innovation

Design, Construction and Control of a Novel Tower Crane

Figure 15. Displacement System of the mass m2

The hoisting mechanism and measuring of load

weight (mass m1)
Figure 12. Boom and counter boom of the crane

Trolleys for the movement of the load m1 and

counterweight m2.
The trolley shown in Fig. 13, consists of a chassis
or metal base and four wheels which are to move into
two rails. The rails that belong to the boom are
longer than those of the counter boom. The trolley
will be moved through a steel cable and a pair of
sheaves, one of which is coupled to the motor of
displacement and the other is coupled to the sensor
(encoder) for measuring the distance travelled in one
direction or another.
System of horizontal displacement of the masses
m1 and m2
The displacement system of mass m1 is constituted by the pieces displayed in Fig.14.
Likewise, the displacement system of mass m2
consists of the pieces displayed in Fig. 15.

The hoisting mechanism of mass m1 consists of

the following elements.

Figure 16 Balancing moments in the crane, when the distance of the

counterweight is adjusted

Model of the proposed tower crane

In this section let us consider the load hoisting
(mass m1) and the horizontal displacement of the
counterweight (mass m2) to maintain balance.
The Lagrangian is given by: L = KT - VT - (1)
Where, L = Lagrangian of the system, KT = Total
Kinetic energy of the system, and VT = Total potential
energy of the system.
Considering linear movements, from Fig. 16 is
obtained the following equations:
- (2),
y2 = h2 = 0 - (5)

- (3), x2 = r2 - (4),

Therefore Euler Lagrange equation for r1 is given by

Figure 13. a) Bottom of the car, b) A car on rails

- (6)
The model is obtained as:

Figure 14 Displacement System of mass m1

44 The Masterbuilder - June 2009

Tower Crane Innovation

Design, Construction and Control of a Novel Tower Crane
Kpr1 Kdr1 Kir1 Kpr2 Kdr2
3000 500 100 1000


Kir2 m1 (Kg) m2 Kg)





Table 1 Parameters simulation PID control

Analysis and simulation results with the control

laws selected
In order to tuning the controller, constants were
chosen to obtain a over damped response and these
parameters are shown in Table 1. It is important to
mention that parameters provide a better response
to avoid overshoots in the movement response of
the two masses m1 and m2. These overshoots can
generate considerable forces due to inertia of the
masses, causing an imbalance in the moments and
therefore the inevitable collapse of the crane.
The dynamic model used and described in Ec. 7
consists of three quations, where each one corresponds to each degree of freedom of the crane. This
means that if 1 = 0, there is no control over the
angle 1, causing a control of just over two degrees
of freedom, r1 and r2, and resulting in free oscillation in the load.

design and build, can be determined with great

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If 1 is a control law, then we have a third

articulation that will compensate the oscilation of the
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Therefore the dynamic model is very representative of the proposed tower crane on different forms
of control, which was checked with the simulation.

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In the simulation of each control law and with

different values of the parameters, it is found that
the dynamic model is correct and covers the most
important features of a mechanical crane to ensure
good control when it is built apart from ensuring
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much better.
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crane self-balancing, is first modelling and then its
simulation. Considering these steps it can be factors
that determine a good behaviour of the system to
46 The Masterbuilder - June 2009

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