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Penny and Giles has developed a number of bespoke solenoids to activate and control the machinery that cleans and oils the busy lanes in tenpin bowling centres throughout the UK and Europe.

The solenoids are manufactured for Canterbury-based Embassy Services, a company that specialises in the servicing, repair and refurbishment of tenpin bowling machinery, which is predominately supplied from the US.

While laminate has replaced traditional timber as the material of choice for bowling lanes, they are still oiled with a special low-friction lubricant to help protect the surface and control the path of the ball.

During tournaments, officials measure the amount of oil used to ensure that it meets strict rules governing both the amount used and to what portion of the lane it is applied.

The more games played on the lane, the more the oil degrades so the oiling machine is usually employed twice a day in reasonably busy centres and up to 10 times a day during tournaments.

The wheel-mounted machines begin their three-stage process at the bowler’s end of the lane, where a cleaning head applies a detergent to convert the degraded coating of oil into an emulsion.

This is then removed by a vacuum head and the machine begins to deposit a new coating of oil, which is built up in layers by moving the machine up and down the bowling lane.

When the process is completed, the machine is moved to the next lane.

Typically, a machine takes 30 to 60sec to strip and oil an entire bowling lane.

As well as controlling the supply of oil and lowering the buffing brushes and cleaning vacuum heads to the lane prior to the application of each new coating, the Penny and Giles solenoids also play an important role in shaping and tapering the finished coating.

In total, 12 solenoids are fitted to each machine.

A pair of larger Penny and Giles solenoids is connected to cantilevers to raise and lower the three heads that individually operate the cleaning, vacuuming and oiling functions.

Control of the six oil tanks fitted to each machine is operated by smaller Penny and Giles solenoids.

Embassy Services invited Penny and Giles to develop a robust, accurate and reliable solenoid that is an integral part of the complex pinspotter mechanism.

Pinspotter mechanisms are used to assemble and place the 10 pins upright onto the lane surface, register the first bowled ball and sweep away the fallen pins after picking up the remaining standing pins.

Swept pins are automatically lifted inside the machine, sorted and placed, ready to be ‘spotted’ for the next game by a table mechanism on the lane.

The table is moved to one of two different heights by the specially developed Penny and Giles solenoids, which are either engaged or disengaged.

The solenoid that the Penny and Giles unit replaces was an upgraded version of an archaic US-manufactured component, which was dual 50/60Hz and tended to run very hot in a bowling centre environment, making them very unreliable.

The solenoid developed by Penny and Giles was wound specifically for the pinspotter machine’s Hertz/voltage requirement, which also means that reliability and general performance is greatly improved.

The solenoid is mounted on the machine using a laser-cut bracket, which positions it accurately for operation.

Curtiss-Wright Industrial Group

The Curtiss-Wright Industrial Group is formed from a number established specialist companies who are experts in the design, testing and manufacture of a range of components and systems for the safe and reliable operation and control of mobile and static machinery – especially off-highway vehicles, heavy trucks, buses, military vehicles and motorsport. Within the business are four market leading brands — Penny & Giles Controls, PG Drives Technology, William Controls, and Arens Controls.

The Curtiss-Wright Industrial Group is formed from a number established specialist companies who are experts in the design, testing and manufacture of a range of components and systems for the safe and reliable operation and control of mobile and static machinery – especially off-highway vehicles, heavy trucks, buses, military vehicles and motorsport. Within the business are four market leading brands — Penny & Giles Controls, PG Drives Technology, William Controls, and Arens Controls.

Penny & Giles Controls
Delivers rugged component level solutions using the latest non-contact sensing technologies, and specialises in rotary, linear and tilt position sensors; joysticks; solenoid actuators and associated electronic signal conditioning. The business was first established in 1956 and pioneered aerospace sensing and data recording technologies with a reputation for quality, performance and reliability. The aerospace business continues today within other Curtiss-Wright business units. The company joined Curtiss-Wright in 2002.

PG Drives Technology
Delivers rugged subsystem solutions including programmable controllers and drives used in a wide variety of advanced electric-powered vehicles such as forklifts, pallet loaders, mobility scooters and wheelchairs, serving the industrial and medical markets. These products deliver precise variable power from batteries to electric drive motors, and are fully programmable to suit various motor profiles, voltages and power levels. The business was first established in 1976 and was originally part of the Penny & Giles group of companies. The company joined Curtiss-Wright in 2012.

Williams Controls
Delivers rugged component level solutions and is a leading designer and manufacturer of highly-engineered electronic sensors and electronic throttle controls for off-road equipment, heavy trucks, and military vehicles. The business was first established in 1937 and pioneered the development of the first electronic throttle control for large diesel engines, quickly becoming the world leader in the design and manufacture of electronic throttle controls for trucks and buses. The company joined Curtiss-Wright in 2012.

Arens Controls
Delivers rugged component level and subsystem solutions and is a leading designer and manufacturer of highly engineered electronic shift controls for automatic transmissions used on heavy trucks and buses. The company also designs and manufactures power management and traction systems for the emerging Hybrid Electronic Vehicle (HEV) market. The business was first established in 1939 and pioneered the development of “by-wire” vehicle control technology, and more recently power electronic drivetrain components and systems for the HEV market. The company joined Curtiss-Wright in 2013.

Curtiss-Wright Industrial Group has manufacturing sites in the US, Europe, India and China. Total customer service and support is assured via a global sales network with CWIG offices in the US, UK, Germany, India, Taiwan and China, as well as a network of distributors and agents covering other regions.

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