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Certo Brothers AB Case Study

Trutegra was founded in 1987, and since that time, the company has developed a rich history in providing automated crane controls for regional, national and international clients. Its reputation in the crane business is built on providing reliable and trusted control solutions, ABICS and SIBICS and replacing antiquated hardware; which is why Certo Brothers Distributing called on Trutegra for a solution.


Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Certo Brothers is a leading beer distributor and one of only two beer warehouses in New York featuring automated crane services. Certo Brothers was in need of a replacement for its outdated Trimble ICS 5000, obsolete, but nevertheless still in use in crane systems nationwide. The ICS 5000, best describes as a “black box” solution, has three key components: 1. A laser distance meter to provide highly accurate position information for a single axis of travel, such as the bridge or trolley of a crane, or the lift axis of an ASRS. 2. The second component is the Positioning Loop that uses set points, motion parameters such as acceleration and top speed, along with control system gains to control the machine as the axis executes a programmed move from one point to another. This logic uses a planned “trajectory” along with closed loop control system techniques to ensure speed and position are always within an expected range. 3. The final component of the ICS5000 is the interface with the “Level 2” or supervisory system. The ICS5000 offers many communication protocols, including Serial ASCII, Devicenet, Profibus, Modbus, INTERBUS, and DF1. The supervisory system sends destination commands to the ICS5000 using one of these interface modes, and the ICS5000 reports back status information as it executes the commanded move.

Trutegra’s Solution:

So, when Trimble announced their plans to halt production of the ICS5000, Trutegra created an up-to-date solution to address this void in the marketplace. The 25-year-old company duplicated the ICS 5000 command protocol and functionality with “off-the-shelf” Allen-Bradley and Siemens controllers. This new solution, dubbed ABICS and SIBICS (AB and Siemens versions), will easily replace aging ICS5000 units, without requiring electrical changes or changes to the often-complex supervisory (Level 2) control systems. Now, with Trimble’s endorsement, Trutegra has become the go-to provider of this solution in the marketplace. The efficiency of automated crane systems allows warehouses to perform a higher quantity of work each day. So when an ICS 5000 stops working due to its fixed life of operation, time is money. Trutegra is continually working with partners and warehouses nationwide to minimize “down” time by replacing ICS 5000 units in advance of an emergency.

The Certo Brothers Solution:

When Certo Brothers called in late 2011 needing assistance with its crane and positioning system, Trutegra began an in-depth assessment of Certo Brothers’ system and needs. The business owned and operated two HK cranes which perform horizontal and vertical movement simultaneously while boasting an 1800-pound weight load. Package retrievals, on average, can take approximately 30 seconds with a 30 second return rate. With two HK cranes in its warehouse, Certo Brothers required replacement of four total ICS 5000 devices. Trutegra removed the (4) ICS 5000s and installed the ABICS in less than two days. The upgrade relieved Certo Brothers of its dependence on the old technology and allowed for the new ABICS technology to be integrated, a key differentiator for Trutegra. Over time, any business operating an automatic crane with an ICS 5000 implementation will require an upgrade. Let Trutegra deliver the fast and reliable ABICS solution for your crane system today.

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