Industrial gearbox engineering by Bonfiglioli Transmission (Aust) has helped bring thousands of fans closer to the spectacle at the State of Origin Rugby league matches at ANZ Stadium.
Bonfiglioli combination helical/planetary technology, which is typically used in resources, manufacturing and materials handling, has been incorporated to a drive system that rolls forward 500-tonne sections of seating to give enthusiastic fans a better view of events such as the State of Origin, Rugby Union Tests and soccer matches attracting total attendances of 80,000 and more.
The 90x30-metre sections of grandstand on each side of the ground are rolled forward 15.575 metres before each event in less than half an hour to place about 7,500 privileged fans on each section much closer to the sidelines and the action.
Bonfiglioli Transmission (Australia) Ltd Managing Director Mr Malcolm Lewis explained that the scale of the job and the technology involved was comparable with some of the biggest materials handling tasks ever undertaken in Australian manufacturing or mining.
The Multiplex project at the ANZ Stadium involved a high degree of technical innovation in the production of a series of 28 gearboxes to operate in two banks of 14 driving bogies for the mobile building structure. Instrumental in the design and installation were Eilbeck Cranes, which specified the Bonfiglioli drives involved, and Control Techniques that worked with Bonfiglioli to resolve the technical challenges in co-operation with Structural Systems.
Each gearbox features a 1.1kw four-pole electric brakemotor driving an A series helical gearbox combined with a compact planetary Trasmital gearbox. The 105kg combination provides high torque within a restricted space, offering a highly cost-efficient and compact installation compared with a much bulkier alternative weighing 261kg.
According to Mr Lewis, the drives operate with a number of technologically interesting features, including electronic encoders linked to PLC-controlled variable frequency drives that ensure all the motors operate in unison, enabling the bogies to drive smoothly without imparting any discordant stresses into the structure.
The Bonfiglioli brakemotor was also fitted with a ventilated servo for ongoing reliability within a restricted space, where maintenance access could be an issue. The ventilation was important to ensure reliability, because the drives controlled by the variator do not run at their constant design speed, which without the ventilation can produce heat.
A final feature of the arrangement was a micro-switch built into the brakemotor circuit to ensure all brakes were released before startup.
Mr Lewis says the project illustrates the many inputs that go to make up a large-scale industrial motors and drives project, including product range, engineering innovation and ability to deliver from quality-controlled facilities within Australia.