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Position Measurement with RFID and Encoder

Amusement park supplier Wiegand is implementing the future position measurement in two fairground rides with a system consisting of encoders and RFID read/write heads from Turck, connected to a Hima safety controller

Wiegand, the Hessen-based amusement park supplier, previously used an encoder in its Wie-Flyers and Bobkart circuits that only offered limited performance in severe outdoor environments. After this was discontinued, Wiegand and its integrator ARI-contact came upon a permanently robust solution based on Hima and Turck products. Turck encoders, RFID tags and read/write heads will in future ensure safe movement for these fairground rides. Through the combination of incremental and RFID position sensing, the system reliably prevents any collisions. The controller of cooperation partner Hima was adapted here especially to the modules used.

  • QR24 encoder is positioned on the roller of the rail guide, from where it sends pulses to the controller

  • The Wie-Flyer track in Brotterode is equipped with RFID tags

  • The new solution from Turck and Hima impressed Workshop Manager Oliver Grothkopp

  • The HIMatrix in the control cabinet coordinates the other controllers in the rides

The Hessen-based company, Josef Wiegand GmbH & Co. KG, patented summer toboggan runs and thus grew to be world market leader in this sector. Wiegand has now introduced a few technical innovations to its flying rides, the so-called Wie-Flyers, and on its Bobkarts.

One controller, different options

The Wie-Flyer is a suspended gondola-shaped two-seater, in which the riders can control its speed as required. The power for the flyers is supplied via a system integrated in the rails. An automatic distance control system is integrated in order to prevent collisions. This measures the position of the individual gondolas and lets them communicate between each other. In this way, the following gondola always knows the location the gondola in front.

The Bobkarts are electrically driven toboggans that run through a stainless steel track. As the Bobkarts have the same controller as the Flyers, the same speed and rear-end collision prevention features are used.

In the previous design, Wiegand used optical encoders in its Wie-Flyers and Bobkarts in combination with a Hima safety controller. When the manufacturer discontinued the encoder, Wiegand looked for a suitable replacement for the positioning of its amusement rides. Added to this was the fact that the previous solution was very susceptible to faults and mechanical problems often occurred.

Hima and Turck offer the solution

Wiegand, Hima and its integrator ARI-contact then started to search for an alternative solution. The controller manufacturer found the solution at Turck. Hima knew the requirements that the position sensing and safety system had to fulfill due to the previous collaboration. The system had to determine the position of the individual gondolas and control or restrict their speed on the basis of this information. Fail-safe position sensing also had to be guaranteed even at high speeds. Besides position sensing via an encoder, RFID was also used.

Intensive development process

The position sensing solution using RFID and encoder enables the controller on board the gondola or kart to coordinate the position sensing. Turck developed a firmware specifically for its RFID read/write heads. Hima provided a function block for this that was specifically designed for Turck’s RFID system.

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