People Mover / Monorail

We designed and built a new product to add to the Amusement Technical offering: a People Mover / Monorail. To satisfy the requirements of prospective customers and to be a commercially viable venture.

We set ourselves the following parameters as our design criteria:

  • Train should be compact in design to fit on minimal station sizes.
  • Body construction to be of composite materials in order to avoid lengthy coachbuilding operations, further they should be modular in construction so as to minimise the tooling costs.
  • Train should run on commonly adopted track construction of two parallel I-beams, to keep the market open for retrofit sales.
  • Connection between carriages to be kept to minimum to reduce maintenance issue with lots of flexing cables.
  • Carriage number to be entirely modular allowing train to be lengthened or shortened for different customers with little or no additional engineering.
  • Train to be accessible for customers with reduced mobility.
  • Control system to incorporate sufficient safety performance levels such that migration to fully autonomous would be easily achievable.
  • Drive system to be energy efficient utilizing suitably sized AC motors with speed control via variable frequency drives (VFD’s)
  • Control system to be based upon centralized PLC CPU with distributed IO and networked drive units via a proprietary fieldbus protocol.

Bodies and passenger containment

The train is designed to be modular, high capacity and accessible to all.

We decided on two carriage variants - an end carriage with driver position and a middle carriage. The end carriage would also incorporate a wider door opening for wheelchair access as well as a sliding seat that provides an open floor space for wheelchairs to be accommodated.

The front cabin would accommodate six passengers and the middles would allow for 12, 80KG per passenger being the design weight.

The body is made almost entirely from composite materials, double skin construction with very minimal supportive steel.

The whole body and seating assembly is a self-contained monocoque that sits over the chassis and running gear, attached by a series of suspension mounts. By adopting this method it means that removal of the bodies is easy for annual inspections but also by keeping the two elements entirely separate the running gear is not affected by any subsequent changes to the body or seating.

The body components are designed to be modular in order to reduce tooling and provide for numerous variants to be offered.

Chassis and Running Gear

The chassis is designed to be of a common size for both carriage variants. The chassis sits on two-wheel carrier assemblies, one at each end, attached to the chassis by slewing rings. This means that different track profiles can be accommodated by only making a revision to the wheel carrier without impacting on the chassis.

The chassis itself is designed as a step frame arrangement, thus allowing very low access into the trains and keeping the centre of gravity as low as possible.

Chassis and wheel carriers were subjected to detailed finite element analysis.

Each carriage is driven at one end by a vertically mounted 5.5Kw motor with a helical bevel gearbox, the drive wheels are mounted on an axle passing straight through the hollow shaft output.

The wheel carrier is designed to have minimum clearance between the outer shell and the track so as to mitigate against the effects of a tyre failure, it also provides a simple gauge of tyre wear.

Control system

The control system is designed around the following basic principles:
  • Each motor has its own variable frequency drive, drive to receive all signals via fieldbus (Ethernet IP)
  • Minimum connection between adjacent carriages, in the end was 3 phase power, 24V DC and ethernet connection.
  • Distributed IO to all carriages for door control, including integrated safety.
  • Driver control at each end of the train so train could be driven in either direction.
  • Driver controls designed to be fool proof and eliminate the human factor from the safety performance levels.
  • System incorporated automatic doors with secondary locking and monitoring.

Full risk analysis was performed on the control system in order to satisfy the requirements of   EN13849.

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