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Compagnie des Alpes has selected Unidrive SP AC drives from Control Techniques and motors from Leroy Somer for the refurbishment of the Dalton Terror zero-gravity drop-tower attraction in Belgium.

The drop tower is based at the Walibi theme park; the ride is a round tower of 77m in height and has five rows of seats, each with four-person capacity, in a ring around the tower.

The seats, weighing 1.5 tonnes empty, are hoisted by speed-controlled Leroy Somer geared motors to the top of the tower, where they are released to drop in freefall at a maximum speed of 110km/hr, generating complete weightlessness.

Magnetic current brakes that comprise permanent magnets fitted in the seats generating powerful Foucault currents in the metallic frame of the tower provide fault-free guaranteed braking, independent of the power supply, bringing the ride to a safe slow speed with hydraulic shock absorbers providing the final soft stop at the base.

This, Control Techniques said, makes the ride a ’zero-risk’ attraction.

The Dalton Terror was originally installed in the park in 1998 and featured the previous Classic Unidrives to haul the seats to the top of the tower.

Compagnie des Alpes has been investing heavily in the upgrading of many of the rides, with the accent heavily on safety.

When it decided to refurbish the Dalton Terror, the precise movement of speed profile of the previous Control Techniques drives was a key factor in the selection of the latest-generation of AC drives and five heavy-duty 75kW Unidrive SPs, operating in closed-loop flux vector mode, were fitted as part of the total renewal of the control panels.

Signals from encoders fitted to each of the Leroy Somer LSMV motors feed back to the drives and, using SM Universal Encoder Plus option modules, are re-transmitted to the PLCs that control the safety of the whole process.

The LSMV asynchronous motors, which are especially designed for use with frequency converters with reinforced windings, are fitted with a parking brake, a feedback encoder and a forced fan for continuous operation at low speed.

The braking energy is dissipated via the braking resistors, mounted on the roof of the control cubicles.

The Unidrive SP AC variable-speed drive range spans 0.75kW up to 1.9MW.

It is an advanced ’solutions platform’ AC drive, configurable into five operating modes – open and closed loop, vector, servo and regenerating modes – connectivity to most industry-standard networks and accepting most position-feedback protocols.

With a range of plug-in module options, its on-board PLC can be supplemented, as in this case, with specialist feedback and communication modules.

Control Techniques

Control Techniques, an Emerson Industrial Automation company, is a world leader in the design, production and marketing of electronic variable speed drives for the control of electric motors. Our strategy is to concentrate on delivering drives and servo products that enhance the productivity of our customers’ machines and processes.

We operate through a global network of drive and application centres that both distribute product and add value by building our drive products into custom designed systems and by offering the highest levels of customer service.

Our Control Techniques drive centres also provide us with invaluable feedback and market intelligence so that we can further improve our products and service. This customer focused strategy will enable us to continue to grow profitably.

Our competitive edge is based on our unique focus on drives, our strength in research and development, our investment low-cost manufacturing and an effective worldwide marketing strategy.

Emerson Industrial Automation, a business of Emerson, is a global technology provider that enables productivity, efficiency and quality gains for customers across a spectrum of industries. Our products include alternators, electric motors and drives, electrical distribution devices and mechanical power transmission, fluid automation and ultrasonic joining solutions. Visit our website for more details.

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