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Controlling the Rotation of the Space Needle with Maple Systems Industrial PCs and Aveva Edge Scada Software

In September 2017, the Space Needle commenced construction on the largest renovation project in its history, “The Century Project.”

Guests are now surrounded by two breathtaking, multi-level, floor-to-ceiling glass viewing experiences including an outdoor observation level with open-air glass walls and Skyriser glass benches. The upper observation level is now connected by the Oculus Stairs to The Loupe below, the world’s first, and only, rotating glass floor.
Ken Roach, Senior Controls Engineer at Fives Lund, tells us about their choice of a Maple Systems Industrial PC for controlling the new, rotating glass floor in the Space Needle.
What functions does the Industrial PC perform at the Space Needle?

The function of the Maple Systems Industrial PC is pretty straight-forward. It allows the operators to set the speed and direction of the rotating glass floor, and gives us monitoring of any faults or warnings and a view into the load-sharing by the twelve AC motors that spin that turntable.

We chose a Maple Systems Industrial PC because it was sold bundled with Indusoft Web Studio (IWS) (now known as Aveva Edge) , so we were confident that it would work with that embedded OS. We’re running an ordinary Indusoft Web Studio 8.1 application with the softkey activation.

It’s been very reliable for us. At the very beginning we ran into a bug during startup and there was a minimum of finger-pointing before IWS figured out what was causing the runtime to crash in that revision of their software, but only on Windows 7 Embedded Standard platforms. We had a patch installed the next day and it’s been running for months now without issue.

Because we focus on unusual applications, we aren’t a volume OEM. I’ll always pay more for a quality product that gives me enough extra power and flexibility to accommodate the inevitable increase in scope or performance our customers tend to need. This could have been done with a 4” Red Lion if all I wanted was a “Go” button and a fault indicator.

It’s a heck of a view, isn’t it? I spent two weeks freezing and clinging to the central girders last February, but I’m very proud of the designers and the riggers who assembled the turntable frame perfectly round and level.

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