St. Louis Gateway Arch Tram Hoist Control System Replacement
While what riders see hasn’t changed, the project team completely overhauled the tram’s infrastructure. Mechanical relays that were manually activated have been supplanted by human machine interfaces that automate and closely monitor tram functions. New variable frequency drive/AC motors enable better control over speed, including the ability to move the tram to a specific spot at a safe pace. An upgraded programmable logic controller (PLC) changed the system from analog to digital, making many aspects of operational control more readily available to operators. It’s expected that the digital system will not be affected by temperature and therefore provide more consistent ride times year round; the old system was temperature sensitive, leading to longer ride times during hot weather.
When it comes to managing a complex transportation system, having up-to-date information about equipment performance is vital. Sensors now continually monitor the temperature of tram motors, the pressure of the oil pumps, and other key aspects of system function. All of the data is integrated by the PLC, giving maintenance personnel a real-time view of system performance so they can take preventative measures before problems occur. With the new infrastructure in place, the iconic ride is set to run smoothly and efficiently for decades to come.
Aschinger Electric, in partnership with Harlan Company and Gannett Fleming, completed this project.
- Upgraded programmable logic controller moves system from analog to digital, giving operators more system control
- Variable frequency drive/AC motors manage speed for a consistent, smooth ride
- System sensors provide operational data for maintenance personnel
- All safety systems have a backup to assure a safe and enjoyable experience for up to 6,000 people a day.
“Down to Earth” Energy Savings
Drilling Service Co. in Bridgeton has been providing “Down to Earth” service for its drilling and underground construction customers for 60 years. The owners of Drilling Service know the technical solution to almost any construction site situation issue.
They also know that in order to be competitive they need to control every nickel of their overhead.
Aschinger’s energy management team studied the lighting and other energy loads of DSC’s offices and warehouse.
They provided a number of retrofit solutions, including LED lighting fixtures. They also assisted DCS in applying for energy tax credits.
“When Aschinger showed us the dollars and cents it was a no brainer,” Jeff Murphy, DSC vice president said. We went from 25-year-old fixtures to state of the art, and saved money in the process.”
In 2013 BJC Healthcare was in the very early stages of a $1 billion upgrade and expansion to its Barnes-Jewish medical complex. "Infrared analysis and recommendations by Aschinger have paid an unexpected bonus in helping the hospital plan for the future," Paul Welle, electrical supervisor, Department of Facilities Engineering for Barnes-Jewish, said.
Welle engaged Aschinger – a certified a TEGG® guaranteed testing and inspection provider – to assess the safety and reliability of the hospital’s equipment and systems.
Currently Paul Welle is in the midst of what BJC refers to as a “decanting” process of moving personnel and services into other facilities to make way for major demolition and expansion of the hospital complex.
“We were quite pleased with Aschinger,” he said. “Our previous infrascan company wasn’t nearly as thorough.” The previous company quoted BJC a lower rate for their work, but Welle was much more pleased with the value he received from Aschinger.
“Aschinger not only took a photograph and said, ‘This is a hot spot’: They gave us amp ratings, criticality ratings, and most important they were very thorough in getting all the equipment, which was a big boon to us.” Aschinger’s team spent a month meticulously recording the electrical equipment at Barnes-Jewish and producing its report.
“They cataloged well over 1,000 pieces of equipment. This helped us out a lot because we were able to use it as the basis of an equipment review,” Welle said.
Mercy Hospital Jefferson
Mercy Hospital Jefferson addressed both safety and operational issues with an arc flash analysis, training and maintenance program from Aschinger.
Rick Moravec, director of facilities at Mercy Hospital Jefferson had served in that role when the hospital still was called Jefferson Regional Medical Center, prior to its merger with the Mercy system in 2012.
Moravec was concerned about the hospital’s compliance with National Fire Protection standard 70, related to arc flash safety, and with NFPA 70E, related to use of personal protective gear (PPE) when working around electrical hazards.
This was particularly important to him given the mission-critical nature of a hospital’s equipment. “We brought Aschinger in because we had not had (an arc flash) survey done in the six years I had been there,” Moravec said.
“They came in and surveyed the facility. We had them do training for our guys as to what arc flash hazards are. They helped us realize what our exposures were.”
Moravec said that Ashinger personnel trained his facilities team on appropriate boundaries around energized equipment, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the hazards associated with particular pieces of equipment. Aschinger also worked with Moravec to identify PPE needs for his workers and to source the equipment.
There were added benefits beyond code compliance and safety: “The thing that I like was that we got a complete set of electrical diagrams,” he said. Jefferson Regional Medical Center opened its doors in 1957. Like many regional/rural centers it added on through the years.
“Our diagrams were a hodgepodge of pieces,” Moravec said. “Aschinger looked at our building and gave us a complete set of one line diagrams. Before, when we had an issue we could grab the pieces but we even weren’t sure if they weren’t right. Another good thing was their analysis and maintenance recommendations.”
Rollin’ on the River for J.B. Marine
As you cross the Jefferson Barracks Bridge on I270/255 and look south you’ll see a sprawling office and industrial complex – much of it floating on barges on the river. That’s J.B. Marine, a barge and tow boat repair facility, founded in 1976.
Dave Heyl, J.B. Marine, chief financial officer, is a big Aschinger fan. “I’ve worked with Aschinger for five years and they’ve upgraded our electric several times through our moves and expansion,” Heyl said in an interview from his floating office. “Because we’re located on the Mississippi it’s a unique situation. We’re dealing with OSHA, St. Louis County, and the U.S. Coast Guard.”
Mike, Heyl’s contact at Aschinger, heard his concerns and put together team of electricians, who can work anywhere in J.B.’s four dry docks, shops or fab facilities. “They’ve taken such an interest that I can refer to the “Hennepin barge” (barges are named for their place of origination), the fab shop, the machine shop – they know exactly what I’m talking about, and they take care of it,” Heyl said.
J.B. Marine has expanded its business significantly in the past seven years, adding the machine shop six years ago, and the fabrication shop 18 months ago. Tow boat props and rudders can be severely damaged on the river. Each boat’s equipment is a one-off custom installation, so J.B. Marine’s services are highly valued in the industry.
And J.B. Marine’s partnership with Aschinger Electric helps make delivery of those services possible. “There’s a lot of watertight equipment. There are special connections so we can make quicker disconnects when we pull a barge out of a tow,” Heyl said.
Through it all – repairs, expansions, even a recent proposal from Aschinger for a solar panel installation – Heyl looks to Aschinger for service and technical leadership to keep J.B. Marine rolling on the river.