Anti-sway control of a construction crane modeled as a two-dimensional pendulum

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Virginia Tech


Cranes are an indispensable aid to the construction industry, and much responsibility with regard to performance has been placed in the hands of the operator. The problem of controlling sway of the load due to crane motion, or wind effects must be solved dynamically by the operator to increase productivity and maintain safety. At the hands of inexperienced operators safety is sometimes sacrificed in order to expedite the required task. In an effort to minimize the loss of life and equipment, and to maximize productivity a system for actively damping the crane load has been developed.

This paper discusses an active damping system using state feedback control for a crane load modeled as a two-dimensional pendulum. Mathematical analysis indicates that the control theory used to damp the sway in the pendulum may be extended linearly into three dimensions. Thus, two control algorithms, operating independently, can be used to damp sway in two horizontal dimensions.

The designed system responds to sensed displacements of the load from equilibrium. It employs a control arm positioned a small distance below the boom tip that applies a force to the cable to damp the sway of the load. This system is intended to allow less experienced operators to work more efficiently and safely, decreasing training time and increasing overall productivity.