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A communications upgrade for the ultimate thrill ride

Industrial hotspot radios support fast RF data rates up to 300 Mbps, delivering great packet-per-second performance and ensuring reliable communication. The company also can monitor radios performance and status using an HMI.

A MAJOR THEME-PARK ATTRACTION COMPANY, Antonio Zamperla SPA, whose rides can be experienced worldwide, offers something for everyone, coaster-lovers of all ages and their less thrill-seeking friends. Even for the former group, the Disk′O Coaster is an adventure. It essentially rocks and spins riders who sit in pedestal seats that face outward, offering a visual smorgasbord while speeding along a 300-foot (100-meter) track at up to 43 miles per hour (70 km/h).

A feeling of weightlessness for the riders only adds to the target audience′s thrills. It′s a major attraction for many park visitors, and a prime example of Zamperla′s dedication to pushing the envelope when it comes to innovative artistry and movement in its rides. All in all, it′s a ride for which you′d want to have as many safety checks as possible.

Industrial hotspot radios increased reliability and throughput to provide a smooth, safe ride for thrill-seekers.

Safety system focus

Three years ago in Altavilla Vicentina, Italy, Zamperla started conducting testing to make the Disk′O Coaster even safer. They had been using a non-Safety I/O PLC with a more conventional Bluetooth wireless system that was based on standard OMNI antennas.

Solutions from Rockwell Automation and Siemens were considered, and Zamperla eventually decided to opt for a setup involving a Rockwell Automation CompactLogix L43S. That solution also involved the communications implementation of ProSoft Industrial Hotspot Ethernet radios for safety I/O, along with a Power DC and PowerFlex 7S drive on the remote side of the solution. ProSoft worked with Rockwell to come up with a solution that would help ensure the safety of the Disk′O Coaster′s riders. The main goal in the new communications system was to replace the previous Bluetooth communication setup, incorporating distributed Safety POINT I/O. The Safety POINT I/O was used on board the ride to monitor the safety belts and the doors of the coaster. ProSoft′s radios also increased reliability and throughput, working in conjunction with the CompactLogix to provide a smooth, safe ride for thrill-seekers. When safety is a top priority and equipment is moving as fast as the Disk′O Coaster often is, highly reliable connections are a must.

Safety POINT I/O is used on board the Disk′O Coaster ride to monitor the safety belts and doors of the coaster.

Industrial hotspot radios

Industrial hotspot radios have helped improve the communications system, according to Fabio Berti, chief engineer for Zamperla. The radios support fast RF data rates up to 300 Mbps, delivering great packet-per-second performance and ensuring reliable communication. The company also appreciated being able to monitor the radios′ performance and status using an HMI, thanks to diagnostic tags. Between the system performance and ease of use, Zamperla saw that ProSoft′s radios within a Rockwell Automation infrastructure offered an effective solution.

"The goal was to improve the efficiency and the security of the application," Mr. Berti said. "Thanks to the wireless Ethernet-based solution, it is possible to use Safety I/O and improve the data rate of communication, satisfying Zamperla′s needs."

Lauren Robeson is a Global Communications Specialist for ProSoft Technology.


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