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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.

Key Features

  • 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.