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How Is Technology Changing the Lifting and Rigging Industry?

What Technological Advancements Have Made Lifting and Rigging Safer?

Matt Florjancic

“What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.”

The words of Irish-American publisher and author Tim O’Reilly can be used to describe the changing landscape of the lifting and rigging industry. Once thought of simply as a blue-collar profession with only manual labor work, the lifting and rigging industry is embracing technology to make work safer and more efficient.

As Global Lifting Awareness Day is recognized around the world today, it is important to recognize the role technology has and will continue to play in the development of the lifting and rigging industry.

Like many other trades, the lifting and rigging industry has seen fewer skilled laborers entering and more experienced operators leaving the workforce in recent years. Instead, many who otherwise would join a trade or labor field have been guided to pursue college degrees.

However, with the implementation of newer technologies, the lifting and rigging industry has focused on attracting and retaining talent for the next generation.

In this story, we’ll look at the following technological advances made in the lifting and rigging industry:

  • Virtual Reality Training (Industrial Training International)
  • The Intelli-Connect Remote Diagnostics System (Columbus McKinnon)
  • Verton Precision Load Control Devices (Crosby)
  • StraightPoint Wireless Load Cells (Crosby)
  • BlokCam Mobile Crane Camera System (Crosby)
  • No Touch Electrode Handling (Mazzella)
  • Crane Collision Avoidance Systems (Laser View)
  • Automated Hooks (Elebia)
  • LED Lighting on Cranes
  • Drone Thermal Cameras

How Is ITI Using Virtual Reality to Train Workers?

ITI Virtual Reality Crane Operator Training Exercise

Industrial Training International, Inc. (ITI) has been training crane operators, riggers and lifting specialists for decades. To keep their training fresh, ITI has embraced technology by using The ITI Virtual Reality Crane & Equipment Training course.

ITI has developed partnerships with several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create an experience on par with operating the exact machinery each simulation was designed to replicate.

The simulation courses are offered with:

  • Nine unique crane types built to OEM specifications
  • Over 1,000 real-world scenarios
  • Safe practice in environments that are difficult to replicate
  • Two hardware options:
  • Portable desktop platform
  • Immersive motion-based platforms

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How Does the CM Intelli-Connect™ Help with Crane, Hoist Diagnostics?

Columbus McKinnon’s Intelli-Connect is an analytics tool designed to produce diagnostics results for overhead cranes and hoists to enable quick and easy:

  • Programming
  • Maintenance
  • Monitoring
  • Troubleshooting

By using the Intelli-Connect Mobile App, you can access detailed information right from the plant floor. Having readily-available diagnostic information will allow you to address issues quicker, plan maintenance, and ultimately, reduce downtime.

The Intelli-Connect is compatible with only certain Magnetek variable frequency drives (VFDs), but could be ideal for all types of overhead crane and hoist applications in industries, including:

  • Power generation
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Metals
  • Pulp
  • Paper

By using the Intelli-Connect, you can monitor and troubleshoot a Magnetek VFD right from the plant floor.

The Intelli-Connect wirelessly connects to crane equipment located up to 100’ in the air, allowing you to safely and quickly get an overview of your system’s operations. You no longer need to climb up to the VFD, power it down, and connect hardware to access VFD status information. That eliminates potentially hazardous situations for workers and crane technicians alike.

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What’s the Verton EVEREST SpinPod, & How Does It Make Lifts Safer?

“Everything we do is aimed at solving critical issues associated with lifting and orienting your loads.”

With their fully-defined mission, Verton created the EVEREST SpinPod, which is a load-oriented solution that eliminates the need for taglines and pulls workers away from overhead lifts. The primary goal is safety and being safety-minded, keeping your workers away from a load, away from pinch points, and managing risks with taglines.

The Verton EVEREST SpinPod 7.5 is a load-orientation solution that allows you to have 360° control of the load under the spreader bar.

The Verton Everest SpinPod 7.5 (SP7.5) attaches to a spreader bar and applies torque moving the suspended load on its axis. The unit is battery powered and uses gyroscopic principles to transfer energy generated from the spinning flywheels into torque to orient the suspended load.

The flywheels (gyroscopes) can spin up to 3,000 rpm (revolutions per minute), generating enough torque to move loads up to 25-35 tons (depending on the orientation and area of the load). With the SP7.5, riggers can control the suspended load from a safe distance (up to 200 m), making lifting operations hands-free.

This technology has been developed with the intention of removing operators from the danger zone. With the ability to control loads with the remote control, riggers are no longer required to be near suspended loads to push or pull a tagline. Removing riggers from the vicinity of suspended loads is a significant improvement in safety in these very challenging and dangerous operations.

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How Do Crosby | Straightpoint Load Cells Make Your Overhead Lifts Safer?

Crosby Straightpoint Load Cells Rigged to a Load and In Use During a Lift

How do you calculate the weight of an overhead lift?

Well, if you don’t have a monitoring device like a load cell, what would you be doing?


And what should be eliminated from the process of lifting a load?


You want to eliminate hazards as often as possible when lifting loads. If you don’t, it could lead to catastrophic failure. In a worst-case scenario, a failed lift could damage the load, or more importantly, cause injury or death.

Crosby | Straightpoint load cells are focused on taking the guesswork out of lifting. These devices allow you to know your load’s exact weight and eliminate the risks associated with not using a load cell / dynamometer.

Continue reading… 

How Can BlokCam Be Used to Make Safer Lifts?

Crosby BlokCam System Being Set Up and Used on Mobile Crane in a City

Crosby’s BlokCam system is a sophisticated camera you can mount on a crane block to give the operator a full line of sight below the hook. It looks at the load as it’s being connected. Also, instead of making blind lifts, operators have a bird’s eye view at the hook level of what’s going on below it.

In recent months, Crosby has developed a B6 battery, which is more powerful than the previous five versions. The newest B6 battery is lithium-ion based. It’s a fast-charging, longer-lasting battery. Typically, the battery’s going to last 10 to 12 hours now because of the lithium-ion upgrade.

Additionally, Crosby is looking at ways to improve the radio frequency signal. Currently, the BlokCam operates a 5.2 gigahertz radio frequency.

In the field, BlokCam has been added to blade tools in wind turbine construction. When crane operators are going to pick up a blade, they actually can see the pick.

The blades are marked, or they’re going to start to be marked again, where the lifting points are. Without these pick-point marks, there has been a lot of damage to blades during lifts. Unfortunately, blades have snapped when not picked up in the correct position, which increased risks for workers on site.

Because of this, Crosby has started trials with some of the OEMs to put a BlokCam System on the blade tools, and also, for tower lifting. When operators lift a tower section onshore, there’s always someone in the tower underneath the load. Now, with a BlokCam System, the crane operator can make sure there is nobody directly under the load before lowering sections of the tower.

How Does the No-Touch® Electrode Handling System Make Steel Mills Safer?

Steel mills can be hazardous places to work.

It’s a world full of hazardous conditions, including:

  • Extreme heat
  • Deafening noise
  • Heavy machinery
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Crushing machines

Every step in the production process can put workers at risk. Electrodes can pose a severe hazard by exposing workers to electric shock burns, explosions and injuries resulting just from maneuvering these massive columns.

However, there is a way for you to improve safety and efficiency without ever going near the electrodes themselves. Mazzella produces the No-Touch® Electrode Handling System and component parts that will help make handling electrodes easier and much safer.

How Do Collision Avoidance Systems Make Overhead Lifts Safer?

“An accident won’t arrive with a bell on its neck.”

There is a lot of truth to this Finnish proverb, especially when it comes to executing overhead lifts. However, in the last 20 years, there have been significant technological advances made to avoid collisions when using overhead cranes.

By embracing technological advances with these engineered collision avoidance systems, many companies have created safer working environments for their employees.

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Elebia evo Automatic Crane Hook: Design, Benefits, & Best Uses

Rigging a load to a crane hook can be dangerous business.

Be it a fall off of the load itself, which could be a several-foot drop, or injuring yourself with a slip and landing on the product(s) set to be lifted, there are many ways you can be injured when rigging a crane hook.

Elebia Lifting Solutions may be relatively young as a company that was founded in 2006, but it is working on making rigging a crane hook much safer through innovative product design with the evo series automatic crane hook.

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How Does LED Lighting on Cranes Make Lifts Safer?

EcoZohm’s MaxGreen brand is leading the way in industrial and commercial LED lighting solutions.

EcoZohm manufactures the highest quality, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly LED products on the market. This technology helps you build a more sustainable tomorrow. Additionally, using LED lights will lower your utility bills, and help decrease the amount of time needed to maintain older lighting systems.

Commercial-grade LED lighting units can be used in the following environments:

  • Warehousing and manufacturing facilities
  • Loading docks
  • Commercial offices
  • Cold storage / food processing facilities
  • Airplane maintenance hangars and airports
  • Auto dealers and maintenance shops
  • Parking lot and exterior security lights
  • Parking garages
  • Indoor gyms and arenas
  • Greenhouse / agricultural

Continue reading…

How Are Drones Being Used with Thermal Cameras to Inspect Cranes?

Inspector Using a Drone to Inspect Different Overhead Cranes

Trained drone operators will use regular cameras to conduct visual inspections of the cranes themselves and their runways. With some of the crane systems, drone operators are able to go into the smallest of spaces that are difficult to access with inspectors in a scissor lift. The drones go behind the runway beams and reach spots where you would think, ‘There’s no way you could fly an expensive drone up there.’

Then, there are operators using thermal cameras to take a look at hotspots on the motors, including:

  • Bearings
  • Sheaves
  • Drums
  • Anything mechanical where its rotation could create a hotspot and indicate a potential problem

Doing so sets a baseline for these potential hotspots that can help crane operators set up an acceptable range of operation. This allows you to do future inspections and identify when problems arise based on temperature readings.

What Career Opportunities Are Available Within Mazzella and the Lifting and Rigging Industry?

At Mazzella, we have diverse product and service offerings to meet customer needs. This means no day is the same, which allows you to experience unique opportunities all the time. Plus, you have the opportunity to keep world economies not only going, but growing.

Any services we perform at Mazzella can be done better by somebody who’s been part of the crane business. With Mazzella’s diversified portfolio of business units, program graduates can advance into any of the following fields:

Individually, you could advance your career and become a (an):

  • Engineer
  • Service Technician
  • Rigging Inspector
  • Project Manager
  • Field Service Engineer
  • Service Coordinator
  • Service Writer
  • Service Manager
  • Administrative Manager
  • Branch Service Manager
  • Regional Service Manager
  • Mobile or Overhead Crane Operator

Mazzella Crane Service Apprenticeship Program

Are you looking for a fast-paced, interesting, skilled trade career – where you can earn and learn at the same time? If so, Mazzella has a program where you can do just that, work with your hands and train your brain as you earn a living.

If you enjoy a challenge and are not afraid of heights, the Mazzella Crane Service Technician Apprenticeship Program may be just what you are searching for. Once employed by Mazzella, you will have the opportunity to enroll into this elite, but optional program after completing a 90-day probationary period.

After enrollment, you are inducted into the program at a technical skill level consistent with your existing experience (from Beginner through Journeyman skill levels), and the required training you receive through the program will correspond with your experience level. 

You will have a different challenge every day.

Lifting and Rigging Apprenticeships

Mazzella Companies is the only employer offering Rigging Fabricator and Lifting Mechanic jobs as an apprenticeship program. The lifting mechanic program requires 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, 400 hours of related technical instruction and four years to complete. The rigging fabricator program requires 6,000 hours of on-the-job training, 300 hours of related technical training and three years to complete.

What we’ve found is when you learn everything from the ground up, then when you advance in your career, it all comes together. You’ll be able to make better decisions because you can see where the inefficiencies are and correct them.

Click here to visit our Careers Page, or here to watch our Advancing Careers channel!

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How Can Mazzella’s Crane Service Technician Apprenticeship Help You: Crane Service Technician

Overhead Hoist & Crane Service

We are an industry leader in hoist and overhead crane services. Our highly trained service staff specializes in solving complex problems in emergency situations. We strive to minimize your downtime. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we work on all makes and models of crane and hoist. Mazzella FHS has over 100 full time technicians ready to answer the call at a moment’s notice.

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Disclaimer: Any advice, graphics, images, and/or information contained herein are presented for general educational and information purposes and to increase overall safety awareness. It is not intended to be legal, medical, or other expert advice or services, and should not be used in place of consultation with appropriate industry professionals. The information herein should not be considered exhaustive and the user should seek the advice of appropriate professionals.