Lindsey Anderson reports on new lift planning software

By Lindsey Anderson07 June 2010

Lift planning software can be beneficial for many areas of a crane-operating company, from owners and sales people to dispatchers and crane operators. The software allows the planning of complex, multiple crane lifts, including tower cranes, and it has the ability to calculate and view every detail of the lift.

"By implementing and investing into a lift planning program, companies can reduce cost, increase efficiency, improve performance of operations, and have a competitive edge over other crane companies that do not use lift planning programs," says Tawnia Weiss, president of A1A Software LLC, the company behind

3-D Lift Plan an internet-based program that provides tools, visual aids, worksheets and more to companies. "We can update load chart data when alerted by the manufacturer, upgrade or add new features and develop faster than any software-computer based program," Weiss says.

"By being an internet-based application, users can be assured that they are always using the most accurate and up-to-date version of data and crane geometry and never have to waste costly time downloading and making sure the new updates are installed correctly [with software]."

Within the last year, A1A Software LLC implemented its 3-D Lift Planning software into All Erection & Crane Rental Corp's fleet.

With the increased ability to calculate and view every detail, All's lift-planning experts can find the most economical crane and rigging configurations for a specific pick, plan around obstructions on a jobsite and view the site from all angles, the company says.

And with the recent updates to A1A's software, they'll be able to do even more.

New technology

"Tons has changed with our software in the last year," Weiss says.

A1A added a ground bearing pressure mat calculator so customers can calculate ground bearing pressure under their timber and steel mats.

After doing such, customers can print out a detailed mat calculation plan that gives all calculations for bending, sharing, pressure under the mat, critical area of the mat and more, Weiss says.

The company has also added the ability to calculate ground bearing pressure based off charts from various crane manufacturers, so customers have many options when it comes to choosing a crane out of A1A's database and knowing its ground bearing pressure.

"I get [asked questions] everyday from people asking for all the different ground bearing pressures because their customers are demanding that they have that information," Weiss says.

"It's getting really important, especially when you're talking about doing jobs with the government, the Army Corps of Engineers, refineries or power companies."

After putting six months of development into both new ground bearing pressure updates, A1A also recently added the ability to calculate advanced rigging with its software.

With a large database of rigging from various OEMs, 3-D Lift Plan software will tell customers what size of rigging is needed for the job at hand.

"We have all the capacities and weights of everything in [our system] for all the different rigging companies," Weiss says. "If you select rigging that doesn't have enough capacity, it will tell you that you don't have enough capacity and [in turn] tell you what you need to select."

A1A is also developing a critical rigging worksheet to add to its software later this summer, Weiss says. The update will make the software even more in-depth than it already is.

Also, the company has the ability now to import CAD site images and Google Earth images so the customer can see the surrounding areas and what it would be like to place a crane on the jobsite.

"We have a scaling program that scales them out and lays them down really easily," Weiss says.

Easy as pie

But a major trend for customers is having one solution for all their tasks, whether lift planning, dispatch, fleet maintenance or telematics.

A1A recently added a dispatch portion to its software which allows customers to drag-and-drop a job to a crane or a crane to a job, which then assigns the piece of equipment to the job.

"We're working on a project management solution where it will have fleet maintenance, dispatch, quoting, tracking sales so you can show different tracked quotes and more," Weiss says.

Weiss says the idea came from noticing a trend of companies booking certain cranes for certain jobs, then the crane being unavailable and having to send in a larger capacity unit to do the smaller unit's job. The updated software will track this.

"So, when you are sending a crane out on a job that requires a smaller crane, at the end of the year, the ability to be able to track how many times you did that and if it was a 90-ton crane you needed to purchase, [this software will show you that]," she says.

"That's how lift planning, quoting and dispatching all in one solution really helps to get that information for when a customer wants to purchase equipment or make decisions on what they want to sell."

Laslty, Weiss wants to have important documents, like NCCCO certificates, permits or inspection papers, available and uploaded all in one spot for customers.

"So, when you're printing your dispatch ticket and your lift plan, you can also select your NCCCO certification. Everything is organized in one place and will end up saving [customers] a lot of time at the end of the day - which is important for these guys."

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