Brisbane Crane Technology Taking Safety, Accuracy to New Heights


Brisbane-based proptech company Verton has revolutionised crane safety and efficiency globally by integrating traditional engineering with its digital, disruptive and patented technology.

The six-year-old company, founded by Stanley Thomson, has developed and delivered the world’s first remote-controlled load-management system.

The hands-free technology, now being widely considered as well as used by leading construction and development firms globally, is aimed at solving critical issues associated with lifting and orientating crane loads.

Thomson said the idea, to reduce downtime and hook time on site, came to him during his time with construction firm Thiess.

“I was working on a significant construction project and became acutely aware of the six golden rules workers had to follow—one of which was to never walk under a crane load,” Thomson said.

“I had to sack a few people in my time there for breaking that rule, but it occurred to me that the decision to let that person go had come down to a few steps forwards or a few steps backwards.

“For a construction worker, whose job was to stand near and handle an incoming crane load, there is already a lot of pressure, and I thought there had to be a better way.”

Following his time at Thiess, Thomson founded Verton, initially road mapping and designing what would become the first of the company’s five core product offerings.

In early 2016, Thomson enlisted managing director Trevor Bourne who helped market the innovative idea and raise funding, which was eventually matched by the federal government under a commercialisation acceleration grant.

“Prior to that first round of funding, we had built some ‘toy’ concepts, but that initial raise allowed us to fast-track our progress and create our first full-scale prototypes,” Thomson said.

“While the physics and engineering behind the product was important, we knew it was very important to patent the idea as quickly as possible.”

Unlike Verton’s Everest 6 lifting beam, the new EVEREST SpinPods, which attach to standard spreader bars, provide a modular solution for precise remote load orientation and control.

The device uses powerful gyroscopic modules to create an output torque, rotating a crane’s load to its target heading while eliminating the need for taglines and the risks associated with personnel being in contact with or below suspended loads.

“The technology is very intuitive and easy to grasp and the application of Verton’s products is very straightforward to use,” Thomson said.

The company’s early adopters identified the technology as a way to improve margins by maximising project efficiency and automating repetitive lifts across construction sites, while also enhancing safety.

“Our early adopters saw the technology and got excited, but it wasn’t until they understood the behavioural changes and efficiencies it would create on-site that they understood the real value,” Thomson said.

“Our product not only neutralises a site hazard it also accurately rotates suspended loads into position and holds their exact orientation, making installation, removal, and change out operations faster and more efficient.

“This is made possible by removing personnel from the dropzone and hazardous area around lifting operations as well as avoiding the need to divert workers from other tasks.

▲ The device can be attached to an existing spreader or a Verton certified spreader bar, allowing the units to be customised for unique rigging arrangements.

“Our products also allow our clients to plan, track, analyse, and deliver jobs with Verton's smart technology integrations.

“Our live metrics and video-streaming capabilities assist with decision-making on-site while stored data informs for future efficiencies and decision making.

“Increased automation and faster lift operations delivered by a single person means a smarter allocation of resources.

“These detailed analytics allow clients to gain superior oversight to streamline their operations.”

The EVEREST SpinPod is currently in operation globally across a number of high-profile projects and, back home, is being lined up to be implemented on Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project.

Verton has also been approached by a number of the world’s leading wind turbine manufactures about integrating the Windmaster into their lifting and installation operations for a more customized solution.

“This kind of undertaking—lifting the blades into place for these massive wind turbine towers at great heights, with high winds and massive sail areas—is incredibly difficult,” Thomson said.

“However, we can modify the solution to make a very complex crane function and environment possible for a client.”

Thomson said the business had been approached and selected as a founding member of the newly established Proptech Initiative being driven by the Brisbane Economic Development Agency (Brisbane EDA).

Under the initiative, emerging local proptech companies are able to incubate, network and scale, while being bridged with connections to potential property industry partnerships.

“The Brisbane EDA team came out to our factory and very quickly I could see that they were switched on and in tune with all things property technology occurring across Brisbane,” Thomson said.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this initiative and the opportunities that will open up to us by attending their webinars and connecting with their large list of property industry partners.”

To learn more about Verton, click here.

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