Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A different look at transport

Image source: Wikimedia

I happened to come across the subject of brown coal, its mining and finally its transport ... quite interesting:

"The lines of the works railway of the company RWE Power (former Rheinbraun) in the Rhenish brown coal area are electrified with single-phase AC current of 50 Hz at a nominal voltage of 6 kV which is different from the railway current/voltage common in Germany (15 kV at 16 2/3 Hz). In view of the large quantities transported the locomotives need high pull force, therefore the electric locomotives have all been specially designed. So, the locomotives of the EL 1 series were the first electric locomotives with thyristor controller worldwide and thus a milestone in the development of rail vehicles."

»»» Further information see Wikipedia

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rallye News

Image source:

You will find audio-visual news here:


And further information here:


Friday, June 25, 2010

Adventure rallye with Unimog

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It is regarded as the last adventure rallye in Europe and it is the only major motor-sport event for professionals and amateurs from the off-road and four-wheel scenes in Europe: the rallye Dresden-Breslau.

This mania is starting tomorrow!

Here's the link to more information:


The Unimog from the company Hellgeth Spezialfahrzeugbau GmbH in Wurzbach demonstrates what it can do. There are almost no original parts left in this exceptional talent with 1600 Nm and 405 HP at 1400 rpm.

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The vehicle

After several alterations it now has a mid-engine design with biturbo, underbody with coil springs and shock absorbers, adjustable brake balance, electronic tyre pressure adjustment - the list has no end. The heart of it is composed of two controllers. Everything is displayed and controlled with the suitable process and dialogue module. Pressure sensors measure, among others, the tyre pressure on both axes and the boost pressures of the turbos. Temperature sensors detect the temperatures of the shock absorbers and the engine. All values and the two turbos are controlled via the two controllers.


The rallye

It requires perfect equipment, because 1200 kilometres in seven legs and through rough terrain lie ahead: the adventure rallye Dresden-Breslau. The biggest European rallye, notorious for its toughness. The teams have to fight for a full week before reaching the goal. And this is to be taken literally: rough terrain, sandy or muddy passages, water trenches and narrow passes, moon landscapes and steep summits demand the utmost from electronics and driver. The capability to provisionally repair the worst damage at the end of a day has a whole new importance on this rallye.

The trial by fire that was fully booked has radiated a magical attraction again this year. Motorcycles and quads, SUVs and racing trucks from all over Europe took part. Followed by a train of service staff, press from eleven countries and numerous fans.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How are these demands implemented?

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That is why

* several controllers and CAN modules
* a display with pushbuttons (e.g. for aircraft preselection)
* a display without pushbuttons (display for engine, driving, etc.)

are used in an aircraft tractor.

More than 200 inputs/outputs are processed in the complete control system.

What are the advantages of the controllers?

Without controllers an aircraft tractor could not be operated at all. Therefore it is not possible to list actual advantages; controllers are simply necessary.

»»» For further information you can check Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Goldhofer themselves on this

"Introduction to the technology

Goldhofer's towbarless aircraft tractors compose a tractor generation which has been developed in collaboration with users and for users under consideration of essential factors such as

* logistics,
* efficiency,
* safety,
* and ecology."

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Each component has to make its contribution. That also goes for the controller:

"Modern data bus technology

Use of proven digital control engineering from the automative and truck sectors. Reduction of cabling complexity due to a decentralised alignment of standardised CAN bus components, which are common to all Goldhofer aircraft tractors. The Goldhofer control engineering concept, which is programmed "in-house", offers state-of-the-art safety and service convenience, for example, the individual modules can be easily exchanged via pluggable connections, in order to avoid long downtimes of the tractors in the event of any malfunctions."


What demands does an aircraft tractor make on a controller?

The core competences of the controller should be robustness and long-time stability. The same goes for the controller of the hydraulics (hydrostat and steering) but also for the communication with the diesel engine via J1939 (CAN). Also the option to extend the inputs/outputs via bus system (CAN) and the availability of several CAN lines are criteria to be met. But what about the implementation?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Application with a heavy load

Image source: / Tom Gr├╝nweg

Even on an airfield you can find some technical delicacies.

Here an aircraft system tractor of type Goldhofer AST 1 F 600 and its daily promenade: the apron of Frankfurt Airport.

The aircraft tractor handles 17,000 operations per month, an impressive number. Each time the tractor lifts between 30 and 50 tons which means it picks up a whole airplane. What must technology be able to do to ensure that no operation goes wrong i.e. what are the conditions for controlling this technology?

To put you into the mood (sorry only in German):


Thursday, June 17, 2010

To tow an airbus

...absolute high tech is required.

Take a look at these great photos.

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If you are interested in aircraft tractors and other "little tows large" vehicles, you’ll like this.

Website of a heavy haulage truck fan with details of history, technology and latest developments:


"In the little free time my job leaves me I collect material about the development of heavy haulage trucks, in particular trailers because the development of trucks and tractors is relatively well documented in literature."
[Dipl. Ing. Michael Bammel, Goldhofer Airport Technology and author of heavy haulage history]

Image source:

Monday, June 14, 2010

The function control in the Panther can be like this

The controller is programmed by the vehicle manufacturer because only he has the system-specific know-how. For this, a programmable controller is clearly an advantage. It would be helpful if the controller manufacturer already provides finished function blocks allowing a quick implementation of the vehicle functions.

Here are examples of the functions to be controlled: modern airfield fire-fighting vehicles have several water/foam cannons which are usually remote-controlled by joysticks. Operating modules for pumps, mixture rates, winches, flashing blue light, horn, door and alarm start controls are further components requiring electronic controllers.

For pumps these electronic modules are often used to display levels and to control electric valves. The extensive lighting system including the powerful airfield floodlights is also controlled and monitored via electronic control devices. The high performance engines (up to 1000 hp) and gearboxes have electronic control devices and are usually networked via one or several CAN bus systems.

And if you want to test this:


Image source: Wiking

Friday, June 11, 2010

Back to the firefighters

This is how airfield fire-fighting vehicles are controlled...

And for this you need electronic controllers.

Image source:

An airfield fire-fighting vehicle such as the Panther from Rosenbauer always has to function in case of an emergency. So the high uptime of the system is the most important requirement of this type of controller.

Also, the spare parts have to be available for a long time because these vehicles are used over a long period. The quick and flexible adaptation of the software using standard programming languages is a prerogative.

Also, the controller must have a CAN vehicle bus system for networking different electronic components (also from different manufacturers). These are high demands on the performance of the controller. At the same time the controller must be small in size...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

there is even an association of greenkeepers

DRG ... Association of German Greenkeepers, this can't be true ?

....if you are responsible for the turf in a stadium, you are no gardener or landscape designer but a head greenkeeper:


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This makes sense, there is not just a business around the players and sports equipment but for the playing field itself...

More information here (if someone wants to change their line of business):


Image source: ELIET Europe NV