Stadium scores with GE-controlled retractable roof

When the National Football League's newest team, the Houston Texans, kicked off at Reliant Park last fall, they began playing in the world's first retractable-roof NFL stadium. The fully automated, 2-million-pound retractable roof, which was designed, manufactured and installed by Minneapolis-based integrator Uni-Systems, features an automation system from GE Fanuc Automat...

01/01/2003


Houston, TX - When the National Football League's newest team, the Houston Texans, kicked off at Reliant Park last fall, they began playing in the world's first retractable-roof NFL stadium. The fully automated, 2-million-pound retractable roof, which was designed, manufactured and installed by Minneapolis-based integrator Uni-Systems, features an automation system from GE Fanuc Automation, an affiliate of GE Industrial Systems. With safety and reliability as key design priorities, the new roof will operate an estimated 120 times each year for the next 30 years.

The bi-parting retractable roof consists of two large panels that open at the 50-yard line, and then ride along steel rails at 35 feet per minute under ideal wind conditions, reaching either end zone about seven minutes later. Ten tri-chord trusses with a carrier at each end support the roof panels.

The control system features GE Fanuc Series 90-70 programmable logic controller (PLC), which determines travel speed based on data collected from wind sensors, and controls the 20 GE AF-300 G11 adjustable frequency drives that move the wheels on the roof's two carriers. Data are transmitted via fiber optics running up to each roof section, where the signals are converted to microwave. GE Fanuc Cimplicity HMI Plant Edition software collects data and provides the stadium operator with a graphical representation of the roof transport system on a standard PC.





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