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Yaskawa inverter drives for the largest and highest Observation wheel in the world

Synchronization, connectivity and high availability. With a diameter of 250 meters, the new “Ain Dubai” is the largest and highest Observation wheel in the world.

Yaskawa inverter drives for the largest and highest Observation wheel in the world

The world’s first concave loading conveyor belt from Sunkid allows around 1,750 visitors an hour to take in the views above Dubai. The Austrian manufacturer Bruckschlögl GmbH is a global market leader in the supply of small ski-lifts and chose inverter drives from Yaskawa for this challenging task.

Named after the Arabian word for “eye”, “Ain Dubai” is a magnificent attraction in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE): Over 11,000 tonnes of steel were used in its construction. Each of its spokes are longer than a football field. And each of the 48 luxuriously fitted cabins is larger than two double-decker buses.

Another feature of this record-breaking Observation wheel, which itself towers over Observation wheels in Las Vegas, London and Singapore: its special loading conveyor belt can move up to 30 percent faster and can thus increase capacity by 30 percent. Furthermore, the loading conveyor belt is also designed as part of the emergency evacuation route.

First U-shaped loading conveyor belt
Bruckschlögl GmbH, which is headquartered in Bad Goisern in Upper Austria, developed and produced both the belt and the access gate. The company is the main innovation and design location of the Sunkid family of companies. Conveyors from Sunkid (Sunkid Moving Carpet), which were originally developed as ski conveyors and have since proven themselves a thousand times over in passenger transport, are also now used in the amusement park industry and a huge variety of other applications worldwide.

The loading conveyor belt created for “Ain Dubai” is one of the highlights of the company’s solutions to date: it is the first to have a concave U-shape that follows the specific design of the platform. Meanwhile, the design of the antistatic link chains ensure the highest safety standards, silent operation and slip resistance. The chain tensioning eliminates vibrations. Last but not least, a special cleaning feature effectively counters the local climatic conditions in Dubai, including heat, dust, wind and salty sea air. The overall system conforms to the conveyor belt standard EN 15700.


Yaskawa inverter drives for the largest and highest Observation wheel in the world

Drive engineering challenges
Since the Observation wheel turns continuously, the loading conveyor belt optimally adapts the difference in speed between the rotating gondolas and the static platform to achieve the necessary level of safety and the maximum achievable capacity. To do so, the standalone control unit for the loading conveyor belt communicates with the control unit for the Observation wheel and access gate. The normal speed is 0.2 m/s.

Three inverter drives from the Yaskawa GA700 series provide the drive control. There were three main reasons for this decision: firstly, the inverter drives are synchronized with each other through an internal bus system (Modbus) and also ensure perfect synchronization between the movements of the wheel and belt.

Secondly, they offer a high level of connectivity. They provide interfaces for all common fieldbuses to enable integration in a variety of system environments. Specifically, these are: Ethernet/IP, Profibus, Profinet, EtherCAT, Powerlink, CANopen, DeviceNet, CC-Link and the Yaskawa bus MECHATROLINK. The inverters also feature an integrated RS-485 interface, allowing them to be networked with one another. Up to five inverters can be controlled with a single option card, meaning that fewer cards are required and thus lowering installation costs.

Thirdly, these robust and reliable devices meet the high requirements for availability even under particularly challenging climatic conditions: they tolerate operating temperatures up to at least 50° C with no derating. In addition, Yaskawa provides an on-site service and stocks spare parts in Dubai – as it does in many other markets worldwide.


Yaskawa inverter drives for the largest and highest Observation wheel in the world

GA700 – the versatile industry drive
The GA700 is the versatile Yaskawa drive for industrial applications. The GA700 inverter series is available in a power range of up to 355 kW and features an outstanding level of user-friendliness alongside its worldwide standards and maximum reliability. High flexibility, small dimensions and built-in functions make it easy to integrate into practically any application. Intelligent tools such as the startup wizard, data logging, the DriveWizard mobile app, and many more help you with setup, startup and troubleshooting, saving valuable time.


Yaskawa inverter drives for the largest and highest Observation wheel in the world

Functional safety features such as SIL3-compliant STO inputs (Safe Torque Off) and an integrated EMC filter complete the basic equipment of the GA700 inverters. The STO function enables emergency stops to be applied easily and safely. All model variants are designed in protection type IP20and are correspondingly robust, ensuring they meet the usual high Yaskawa standards in terms of quality and reliability. In particular, they are designed for ten years of maintenance-free, continuous operation.

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