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SEW on the Podium at the Winter Olympics

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The SEW-Eurodrive Group is a global designer and developer of mechanical power transmission systems and motor control electronics headquartered in Bruchsal, Germany.  

At the recent 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, SEW-Eurodrive contributed its motor and drive expertise to help keep the Games’ medal ceremonies on-track.  

A combination of SEW-Eurodrive geared motors, drive electronics and operator interfaces was employed to hoist the country flags during the medal ceremonies, delivering a reliable combination of precision positioning and speed control.  

ZFX Flying Effects, a leading expert in the theatrical flying effects field had the responsibility of flying the flags for all the medal ceremonies at the Games’ five separate venues.  

According to Robert Dean, founder of ZFX the key challenge was to raise the flags to an exact height at a specific speed, each and every time the gold medal winner’s national anthem was played, all while broadcast on live TV.  

“We knew that this would be no problem for SEW-Eurodrive,” he said.  

An SEW-Eurodrive helical geared motor with Hiperface encoder was used in conjunction with SEW-Eurodrive’s flagship application inverter, MOVIDRIVE B.  

The MOVIDRIVE B’s integrated IPOS positioning and sequence control with encoder feedback was ideal for raising the flags into position in an accurate and timely fashion.  

A drive operator terminal (DOP) served as an interface for configuring speed and position set-point specifications, start signals as well as function monitoring.  

Interestingly, ZFX first used SEW-Eurodrive drive technology to fly ‘Jesus’ in a Broadway-quality Passion play several years ago.  

“Since then we have used SEW as the backbone of our automation for many productions including Wicked the musical in Stuttgart and Sydney,” said Dean.

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