Good quality track lighting is an important component of night-time racing venues, not only benefitting trackside punters and TV viewers but also ensuring the safety of jockeys and horses.
The outer eastern Victorian racing venue, Cranbourne has just completed a $6.7 million lighting installation for its thoroughbred track, making it one of the few world class venues in Australia to offer night-time thoroughbred racing. The track lighting system not only provides high lux levels but also flexibility and energy savings to the venue.
Comprising of 46 masts that house 750 floodlights, each with a rating of 2,000 kW, the lighting system can be remotely controlled from the race course CEO's office. Lighting, for instance can be dimmed between races, and sprint events held on the front chute can be run while the rest of the track can be dimmed or turned off.
Four levels of redundancy have been built into the system. Should the start-up or shut automation fail, each mast can be turned on or off manually in the CEO's office, from the track control room within the circuit or at each individual lighting mast.
Each bank of lights is supplied by 75% grid power and 25% via a 550kVA diesel generator. In the event of a sudden grid blackout, the lighting would reduce to around 25% of its capacity (300 lux) and still be adequate for jockeys to complete the race or pull up their horses and return to the mounting yard in safety.
The reduced lighting level would also allow the public to safely exit the venue if power is not restored.
Racing Victoria Limited's Andrew Beath, who was the project manager for the upgrade explained that the track lighting system was installed at Cranbourne to create another venue for night time racing to help capture a wider share of the gaming market. The Cranbourne site was ideal for their requirements except for its lighting capabilities, which were well below the required lux levels.
According to Andrew, the new track lighting system was designed to deliver 1,200 lux to suit the TV broadcast cameras and trackside spectators. Preset auto dimming would drop to around 800 lux, which would ensure the lighting ballasts would remain operational and not cause the lights to flicker or drop out. The new lighting masts, measuring around 18-22m in height delivered the desired lux levels.
The PLC solution offers control and flexibility as well as four levels of redundancy. The software on the CEO's PC shows a graphical representation of the lighting plan at the track enabling him to see the powering up of lighting masts in sequence. He can also dim or strengthen the lighting at the touch of a button. Similarly, he can turn off the lights at the end of the race with the built-in redundancies in the system ensuring that the lights aren't left on unnecessarily.
The PLC-based lighting control system also allows either the whole circuit, just the front straight or the 1000m chute to be illuminated, depending on the length of the race to deliver significant energy savings. The venue hopes to achieve 30% savings on the energy bill with the help of these flexible lighting options.
Additionally, dimming and turning off lights also help to prolong the lamp life of the floodlights to around 10 years, increasing the savings factor through reduced lamp replacement and maintenance costs.
Key highlights of the Cranbourne track lighting solution:
- Profinet-based distributed I/O solution
- Combines Cat 5 Ethernet and fibre optic cables connecting 46 ET200S stations to control lighting equipment located at each lighting pole around the race track
- Siemens S7-300 PLC controls and monitors the distributed I/O stations by using its integrated Ethernet/Profinet interface
- PLC also provides comprehensive diagnostics, eliminating the need for an additional communication card
- Monitoring and control done via WinCC SCADA system
- Ring topology approach by using integrated Ethernet ports of the distributed I/O system eliminates need for additional Ethernet switches
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