Operating Range for Radio Remote Systems in Industrial Settings

April 2023

remtron industrial remote control controlling overhead crane

Radio remote control systems are essential for a wide range of industrial applications, from manufacturing and distribution centers to warehouses. But with so many options on the market, knowing which system best fits your business’s needs can be overwhelming. When choosing an industrial radio remote control system, one key factor is the operating range—the distance over which it maintains control between the transmitter and receiver. Let’s take a closer look at what you should know and consider related to the operating range of an industrial radio remote control system.

Desired Operating Range for Industrial Remote Controls

One of the first questions asked when determining operating range is the maximum range a system can operate. A longer distance is often associated with being better. While knowing the distance is essential, operators should also know what range is needed for the safe operation of the machine and if there are regulations that specifically call for a restricted operating range. Distance is one of many factors to consider.

Factors Affecting Radio Remote Control Operating Range

Line of Sight

In typical industrial environments, the operator should have a line of sight to the machine and be positioned at a safe distance and away from danger. This is typically between 30 and 100 feet. A system with an operating range of 300 feet should meet that requirement.

Extended Range

One risk of having too long of a range is the ability to inadvertently enable a system to operate when the operator is out of the line of sight.  Manufacturers offer RF or Infra-Red safety features that prevent a system from starting unless the operator control unit is close to the machine. These features can also prevent operation if the operator control unit is moved beyond a defined distance from the machine.

System Selection

The radio remote control system’s transmitter power and effective receiver sensitivity affect the operating range. Transmitter power may be restricted by national regulations and the chosen frequency band. Remote control radio receiver sensitivity is more likely to be related to the quality of the radio.


RF absorbent physical obstructions between the operator and machine, such as steel walls, wood piles, trees, soil or coal, can significantly affect the operating range. Large equipment or machinery within a steel building rarely causes an issue if the surrounding building has steel walls or a steel roof.

Antenna Position

An unobscured antenna position is also critical for maintaining the desired operating range. In outdoor systems, the antenna height can be a significant factor. For a flat site, doubling the antenna height will more or less double the possible distance.

Operating Frequency

Lower-frequency signals travel further than higher-frequency signals. For a given power level, doubling the frequency could reduce the possible operating range in half. A 450MHz system has the potential to go much further than a 2.4GHz system, although transmission speed and coding can play a role.

License Exempt Bands

License-exempt bands may be subject to interference, effectively reducing the operating range or causing complete communication loss due to signal blocking. Strategies to overcome these problems include using licensed frequencies or adopting frequency agile or frequency hopping systems. 


Evaluating the necessary operating range for your industrial radio remote control system can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be! Considering the factors identified above and assessing your application with an experienced radio remote control provider, you can be assured that your system meets your requirements. Use this information to help ask the right questions and determine the ideal operating range requirement for your radio remote control system.

Cattron Intelligent Automation and Control Solutions

Cattron Delivers intelligent solutions that connect devices, control equipment, and protect assets around the world with nine company locations and over 45 partners globally. Our products cover a wide range of markets and applications. Find the perfect radio remote control solution for your specific needs by exploring our product finder.