Evaluating a Crane Remote Control System

February 2023

Selecting the right crane remote control system to operate an EOT crane is a decision that impacts operators every time the crane is in motion. Evaluating systems using factors that affect the ease of use and overall return on investment is essential.


Most crane remote control systems operate in heavy-duty or harsh environments and must withstand shock, impact and environmental elements. Equipment downtime due to damaged operator control units can cost thousands of dollars. Many customers look for an IP65 rating for indoor use and an IP66 rating for outdoor use.

There are also several actions that manufacturers should take before the remote control system leaves the shop floor. These include:

  • Analyzing materials for suitability to a wide range of commonly found oil types, acids, alkalis, solvents and cleaners to which they will be exposed.
  • Completing testing for vibration, shock and drop testing 1m onto concrete.
  • Completing a full range of Electromagnetic testing, including Electrostatic discharge, Radiated Immunity testing against strong RF fields
  • Ensure compliance with the required RF emissions testing and be able to show certification documentation if needed.
  • Machine control units must comply with various conducted transients and overload testing to a Nationally recognized standard and be certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).

Ergonomic Design

A tool that helps you do your job safely and efficiently should be easy-to-use and have a natural fit that minimizes operator strain. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but here are a few ergonomic considerations for your crane remote control system.

  • The operator control unit should be easy to grip and offer tactile feedback to help guide the operator.
  • The weight of the operator control unit is an essential factor for the user, especially for larger joystick and paddle units. 
  • Additional features, such as a Push-to-Operate bar or a Push-to-Enable functionality, must be stress-free.
  • Operator control units should offer easy access to E-Stop switches.

Safety Considerations

Operating heavy machinery or equipment presents some risk and varies across many applications. A risk assessment should be completed before selecting equipment and is something that every user should be aware of before buying equipment. Failure to specify the system performance level correctly could result in some level of liability should an accident occur.

The minimum safety requirement for a crane remote control system will typically be between Performance Level c and Performance Level d, with most electric overhead traveling cranes falling into a PL-d category. PL-d can be achieved with a category 3 (dual channel two microcontroller) system.