Wireless world

By Euan Youdale08 May 2008

Don Schneider, vice president of Hetronic USA, speaks to IC contributor John Wyatt about the wireless industry and its future

IC: What are the main advantages of a wireless system?

DS: Advantages depend on the actual aerial device. Some basic advantages, however, are increased mobility, improved visibility and, in some cases, reduction of redundant hardware and wiring for cost savings.

IC: What is the latest technology in wireless systems?

DS: Some newer technologies are the ability to program the wireless remote via a programming interface such as a PDA, which eliminates the need to open the remote controlbox and mess with jumper or switch settings. Some products are using radio frequency identification devices (RFID) to store system configuration data in a removable key to quickly allow for a spare transmitter to replace a damaged or non-functioning one.

IC: Will most construction equipment have wireless options in the future?

DS: Many construction equipment machines already have a wireless option. As the cost of wireless controls decreases it becomes a more cost-effective solution compared with tethered controls. Radio controls in general have become much safer and more reliable in the last decade making them a great way to control a machine. Benefits are reduced redundant hardware and increased flexibility in positioning to control a machine, removing people from potentially hazardous applications.

IC: Is interference a problem?

DS: Interference is always a possibility, but the effects of interference are greatly reduced when quality components and circuitry are used. In other words, you typically get what you pay for when you buy a radio control.

IC: Why should rental companies invest in wireless systems?

DS: It depends a great deal on what type of device we are referring to. In general, radio controls offer increased safety and a potential reduction in the workforce necessary to perform a task. Rental yards can differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering a value-added radio controls on their fleets. Radio controls with cable back-up can eliminate redundant manual controls and thus reduce costs. Radio controls typically make workers more efficient by offering more work site flexibility and improve positioning by the operator.

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