SFL Mobile Radio installs Greenwich Square crane communications and announces Tottenham stadium plans
Written by: Laurence Doe | Published:

SFL Mobile Radio, a supplier and installer of radio systems, has recently deployed its digital crane hands-free system for crane and banksman communications on the Greenwich Square brownfield regeneration scheme site in London. SFL has also announced that it will be supplying dual hands-free crane radio systems for the ongoing Tottenham Hotspur F.C. stadium development.

The communications for the three-hectare Greenwich Square site are being used by Mace Group, an international consultancy and construction company. Before the redevelopment the site used to be the Greenwich District Hospital and SFL have fitted a digital hands-free radio application to aid crane operations. This is installed within the cab of the crane and is controlled by heavy duty, compact foot pedals for communication to the banksman’s Motorola Solutions DP4400 radio.

The Tottenham Hotspur F.C. stadium development includes a 61,000-capacity stadium, estimated to be costing £750m, and is part of the Northumberland Development Project aiming to build a football stadium to replace White Hart Lane as the home stadium of Tottenham Hotspur.

The development plans also include 579 new homes, 180 room hotel, local community health centre, the ‘Tottenham Experience’ – a Spurs museum and club shop, extreme sports facility and the already complete Lilywhite House. This contains a supermarket, university technical college and new club administration buildings.

The crane radio set-up will use digital DMR radio technology. The SFL crane hands-free system, which will be fitted to HTC Wolffkran’s cranes, will allow the crane operator to concentrate on crane operations while maintaining contact with their lifting team. This is critical for safe lifting operations.

Depending on a site’s requirement, SFL have single crane or multi-crane options which are both approved by Ofcom for use within the UK. They provide “crystal clear communication between the crane operator and the banksman whether on ground-level or half-way up a skyscraper,” said Karl Beach, engineer at SFL. This is both when transmitting, with the use of a high-powered miniature microphone, and when receiving with an equally high-powered speaker system.

The company has so far installed the system for around 160 active building sites across the UK.

SFL use the Construction Plant-hire Association, Tower Crane Interest Group and its Radio Communication for Lifting Operations document to educate users on the importance of on-site communication. It also has to follow the Ofcom’s legislation for Business Radio Communication for Tower Cranes (OfW77).

The crane hands-free solution is available in single and double forms. The double option is for multiple cranes on site where a ‘crash’ emergency radio system is used independently and two separate radios are required. The SFL crane hands-free system has recently been included on a BBC documentary.

The typical set up involves one radio for direct communication with the banksman, who gives directions from the ground, and a second within the cab called the ‘crash radio’. This can communicate to other crane operators.

“This allows you to speak directly with crane operators in case they see an incident and need instant communications with the crane operators to say ‘stop what you’re doing, there’s been an incident’,” explained Beach.

“The two radios, the crash radio and the banksman radio will sit on a purpose-built bracket,” commented Beach. “This fits into the crane [as seen in the front window on the BBC’s video]. You have two foot pedals, which operate the transmit allowing the driver to keep his hands on the controls while talking. It’s similar to a vehicle hands-free kit, although on your phone it’s a duplex conversation, so you don’t have to press any buttons just the foot pedals.

“We will arrive on site, have a site induction, change into personal protective equipment and we’re left to climb the crane. When we get into the crane we then get on our hands and knees on the glass floor and install the radio.”

Images: Tottenham Hotspur F.C. stadium development (top) and digital crane hands-free system (middle).


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