COMMUNICATION, INSTALL A SYSTEM BY
Back to the "Home" page
Based Funicular Control & Monitoring System
Funicular at the Cape Point Natue Reserve, being a relay based control
system, had reachthe end of its useful llife, and was becoming
increasing difficuly to maintain.
Micromation was approached to redesign the Funicular carriages to give
the Funicular a modern, open and airey look, as well as totally
redesign the internal control and monitoring system.
The design of the modern carriages was given to a well known industrial
designer, who specialsed in sports car and other vehicle designs.
Micromation redesigned the control and monitoring system, using
as a key component its Emergency Vehicle Auxiliary Power Programable
Logic Controller system (APPLC).
This gave Micromation the ability to change the design parameters via
software, which considerably enhanced the on-site commisioning
process. Two different programs were developed - the one
was used only for testing and commissioning, the other was the final
Control and Monitoring program which was used for normal daily
use. The system included a special function to
monitor all inputs and outputs, and keep these logged on a data base
for future analysis.
Micromation used special Open Circuit/Short Circuit detectors on all
vital inputs to the APPLC, so that any fault caused by defective wiring
could be immediately detected, and would then stop the Funicular from
As the Cape Point is well known for its gale force winds which would
stress the carriages if they were permitted to run during periods of
high winds, Micromation fitted an anemometer on the top station to
accurately measure wind strength, and prevent the funicular operating
during high winds.
The Funicular power system design was very challenging, as the
funicular was only permitted to have a on board batteries as a power
source. These batteries then had to be quickly
re-charged each and every time the Funiclar entered a station, via a
dual brush system. However, when in the station overnight,
the power system had to prevcent any overcharging of the batteries.
Being located in a game reserve, other options such as on-board motor
generators were not permitted.
The only other source of power was the sun, consequently the power
system included two rugged solar panels per carriage, which provided an
axuliary source of power. The reason for using very
rugged solar panels was that, being a game reserve, the area has a
baboon troop, which previously had been very destructive, and would no
doubt have broken the converntion crystaline panels.
The funicular required power to operate all the electronics, the
sliding door controls, all the safety interlocks, the communications,
the internal lighting, the external lighting, as well as the carriage
The voice communcation system consisted of IDAS digital radios, which
gave excellent coverage of the area.