Read How the Golden Gate Bridge’s Road Zipper Uses a Maple HMI to Save Lives
For over 65 years, the philosophy of Lindsay Corporation has always been to manufacture and distribute machinery that could withstand the growing pains of a flourishing nation. In doing so, Lindsay also strives to maintain a high standard for safety while collecting and providing valuable data. The roots of the company were started in the farming industry and eventually expanded into road and railroad safety. This expansion led them to branch into Lindsay Irrigation Solutions and Lindsay Transportation Solutions under the Lindsay Corporation umbrella.
Lindsay Transportation Solutions’ (or LTS) main focus is road safety. A common concern with road safety is dealing with high-volume traffic, especially related to specific settings such as on a bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Opened in May of 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge has increasingly been an area of concern for residents of San Francisco. The city’s population has grown to over 17,000 people per square mile according to the latest US census in 2015. With six lanes spanning the width of the bridge, the only barrier separating the North and South-bound lanes were 19” tall plastic tubing set at 25-foot intervals. With this insufficient barrier system, the likelihood of head-on, fatal collisions was always going to be at its peak.
The Road Zipper
After over 70 years without an appropriate boundary, a movable barrier system called the Road Zipper, was adopted in 2015 as the solution to a safer Golden Gate Bridge. The use of a movable concrete barrier and barrier-moving machine allows for traffic lane adjustments by creating or eliminating lanes at certain times of the day based on traffic conditions. This ability to open, close, and change lanes can be used for protecting work zones, eliminating crossover-road fatalities, and creating contraflow lanes.
Road Zipper Upgrades
After the Golden Gate Bridge project, it was discovered that the current controller hardware was soon to become obsolete. The Road Zipper itself had been around since the 1980’s, meaning it was due for enhancements. LTS saw this as an opportunity to upgrade the Road Zipper’s control system to ensure it would run on future-supportable hardware, and provide new, additional real-time data displays. Enter the Maple Systems high-speed, high-resolution HMI5150XL
. A 15” touch screen unit with Ethernet, 2 Serial ports, 2 USB ports and a VNC Server which allows for remote monitoring.
The upgrade project for the Road Zipper was led by Dave Blankenship, Senior Electrical Designer at LTS:
“When I first came to work for LTS, I reviewed their current control system and was surprised to discover that some of the currently used PLC hardware components were going obsolete. A closer look also revealed that the PC and view monitors in use were running a single page display-only screen using legacy Visual Basic code. I approached the Applications Engineers at Maple Systems with my idea of replacing the current control system with an HMI and PLC (ControlLogix) combination. One that would not only function as needed, but provide a multi-page touchscreen display with enhanced features, including custom screens with push buttons, machine status indications, custom faceplates for multiple operational modes, etc." Blankenship went on to say:
"The Maple Systems HMI does a beautiful job showcasing all the improvements LTS required and really makes it pop. And, despite all the work that's been done using a remote cellular modem, CANbus gateway, remote I/O, and PLC program, the central focus is still on the HMI" - Dave Blankenship, Senior Electrical Designer Lindsay Transportation Services
In addition, LTS appreciated the ease of use in integrating Maple’s HMI5150XL seamlessly into the Road Zipper. From their standpoint, the addition of this controller added value to the Road Zipper with increased visibility, intuitiveness, and supportability (compatible hardware). A few other noteworthy features LTS utilized on the HMI5150XL include the USB feature, which allowed for recipe uploads, and the touch screen. Engineers at LTS also applauded the following Maple features: Alarm Notifications; VNC Server; Free Tech Support; and Easy-to-Use Software.
When asked how Maple Systems compares to other brands in the HMI market, Dave said that he has personally worked with many other, well-known brands in the industry, but he has concluded that Maple Systems' value is unmatched. Dave stated that the price, functionality, value, and support were all aspects of a service that “is a pleasure to work with” and simply cannot be compared to other HMIs in the market today. Maple Systems is proud to have been, and to continue to be, LTS’s ideal solution for such a complex upgrade. The most recent recipient utilizing Maple Systems HMIs is the Walt Whitman Bridge connecting Philadelphia to New Jersey, hosting two newly upgraded Road Zippers in 2016. It is an honor for Maple Systems to be part of history with this partnership in creating safer roadways across the world, from New Jersey to New Zealand!
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