Sydney 2000 Olympics
APC Integration's stage automation system Stagemaster was used to fly people and objects in the 150 m long, 120 m wide, 40 m high Olympic stadium, in complete safety and with millimetre accuracy.
The system comprised 18 winches, each capable of lifting between 150 and 300Kg and moving at speeds of up to 4 metres per second. The winches were used in pairs each connected to a steel wire cable. One winch in the pair effected the vertical movement and the other the horizontal movement. A Siemens AC servo motor, providing millimetre accuracy, precise speed control, and bump-less take off and stop capability powered each of the winches.
The control system comprised of two operator stations (utilising APC Technology Workmate Industrial PC's) connected to a network of Toshiba programmable controllers. With two fully independent operator stations, one is used as the main control station and the other can be used as a hot standby, which can take over in event of a problem. The system also provided a full manual backup facility, in the unlikely event that both stations failed.
The safety requirements were very stringent - essential for the wellbeing of people suspended 40 metres above the stadium floor. Each winch had two mechanical failsafe brakes and an electrical regenerative braking system, which would allow the winch to gently unwind the cable in the unlikely event of all else failing. In addition there was a separate monitoring system, checking for any errors in the overall system. The winches mechanical engineering were provided by the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Mechanical Workshops.