April 7, 2022

American Crane: Building Smart Cranes with IoT Powered by Blues Wireless

American Crane's CEO is leading digital transformation initiatives with smart crane solutions powered by the Blues Wireless Notecard.

Tina Kocak, Content Marketing Manager

Introduction to American Crane & Equipment Corporation

Oddvar Norheim’s ownership of American Crane & Equipment Corporation marked the culmination of his entrepreneurial American Dream as an immigrant who moved from Lygra, Norway to the U.S. in 1960. It was also the catalyst for the development of his many innovative ideas to improve and expand the overhead equipment industry. Now run by Oddvar’s daughter Karen Norheim, American Crane & Equipment Corporation is a leading manufacturer of cranes, overhead hoists, and other material handling equipment. To build on her father’s legacy of innovation and customer service, Karen is leading digital transformation initiatives with smart crane solutions powered by the Blues Wireless Notecard.

Future-Proofing a Family Legacy

In May of 2022, American Crane & Equipment Corporation is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The company has grown over the last five decades from a company of 20 to over 160 employees. Their customer base has expanded from mainly serving manufacturing, to also providing equipment for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the semiconductor industry, nuclear energy, aerospace and more.

massive overhead crane

American Crane & Equipment Corporation

As they have throughout history, American Crane & Equipment Corporation continues to make significant investments to meet the ever-changing needs of the specialty lifting equipment market. They’ve recently deployed two digital transformation initiatives: the Smart Crane IoT System, and Machine Health IoT. By leveraging IoT, AI, and machine learning, American Crane & Equipment Corporation is delivering the insights from equipment data that empower customers to make better business decisions.

IoT Systems for Analog Machines

Crane maintenance has traditionally required technicians to travel to worksites for repairs or inspections, often in reaction to an incident. For American Crane’s customers, building smart cranes or retrofitting IoT devices onto existing equipment turns offline machines into online data-collecting assets. IoT devices are built into or onto material handling equipment. Devices record usage statistics, monitoring machine health, and track GPS location.

The data is securely transmitted to a cloud-based dashboard, where business owners and operators can access the data from their equipment in real time. This data delivers continuous insights into preventive and predictive maintenance, safety monitoring and alerting, and asset tracking for increased operational efficiencies.

massive overhead crane

American Crane & Equipment Corporation

Smart Devices in Volatile Environments

Connecting machinery to the internet allows American Crane & Equipment Corporation to get the information from equipment to cloud, which requires constant, dependable internet connectivity. This is not the only challenge to solve when thinking about operating and maintaining smart devices in environments such as construction sites, manufacturing, nuclear facilities, clean rooms, or a NASA launch pad. When thinking about the long-term feasibility of IoT devices, you also must consider cost, battery life, data security, durability, firmware updates, and more. This led American Crane & Equipment Corporation to choose the Blues Wireless Notecard for its instant connectivity, low cost, and robust capabilities.

“Using the Blues Wireless Notecard in our system, we’re able to make this new technology accessible to businesses of any size. This supports our dedication to being a partner in our customers’ success.”

Karen Norheim

President and CEO

American Crane & Equipment Corporation

The Blues Wireless Notecard comes with a prepaid 500MB data plan and uses cellular over LTE-M, NB-IoT, or Cat-1 in 135+ countries, even in remote environments. It delivers secure “off the internet” communications from device-to-cloud, OTA firmware updates, and low-power hardware that enables power-conscious deployments.

Scalable Solutions for Manufacturers and Operators

Most of the out-of-the-box smart crane solutions have prohibitively large upfront costs, making it impossible for most small and medium-sized businesses to enter the space. With the American Crane system, smaller businesses are now able to integrate IoT into their operations. Powered by the Blues Wireless Notecard, there are 3 key pieces that increase the American Crane system’s accessibility and versatility:

  1. Low point of entry,
  2. Low monthly operating expense,
  3. System customization

American Crane & Equipment Corporation developed a wireless IoT solution to turn cranes into smart devices and they offer connectivity for other equipment using the same system. Dashboards and alerts can be set up based on business needs, including email notification of anomalies, notifications of fault status, or custom notifications to monitor things that are critical to enhance safety, reduce downtime, and maximize productivity.

“There is elegance and simplicity in the design of how the Blues Notecard works.”

Karen Norheim

President and CEO

American Crane & Equipment Corporation

Read the American Crane & Equipment Corporation Customer Story

massive overhead crane

American Crane & Equipment Corporation

American Crane & Equipment Corporation is harnessing the tradition of innovation and grit on which the company was founded and remains dedicated to being a partner in their customers’ success. Leveraging AI, machine learning, and IoT connected by Blues Wireless, American Crane & Equipment Corporation is delivering real-time data visibility and actionable business insights for crane operators and smaller manufacturers. Read the full American Crane customer story here.

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