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    Automation equipments for London's Millennium Wheel

    Schneider Electric provided 66 Modicon/Telemecanique Premium programmable logic controllers (PLCs), two Monitor Pro Telemecanique supervision systems and 64 Altivar 58 Telemecanique speed drives for the automation system that operates London’s Millennium Wheel. The system was supplied by Semer, a French company based near Saint-Gervais that engineers, builds and maintains control and monitoring equipment for a wide range of needs, including steel making, special machines, environmental projects and ski lifts. To meet the safety and availability requirements involved in transporting people, the Millennium project’s automation system is based on the concept of redundancy. Two central PLCs installed on the ground and linked to the supervision system communicate via radio with two onboard PLCs in each capsule. In turn, these PLCs communicate with a speed drive that controls the stabilitysystem’s motor. The supervision system manages data to ensure maximum comfort and provide a large array of services. In particular, it controls the motion stability system and heating and air conditioning for each capsule, as well as the lighting, which changes as the wheel turns, and the multilingual public address/sound system.

    > A giant bicycle wheel
    The Millennium Wheel, known as the London Eye, has a unique design. On a traditional Ferris wheel, the cabins are suspended and held in a horizontal position by their own weight as the wheel turns. The London Eye, on the other hand, resembles a giant bicycle wheel with 32 glassed-in capsules attached to the outer rim. Each capsule is kept level throughout the ride by a dedicated motion stability system. The gondola-type cars can carry 800 people for a 20-minute ride.

    Located across the Thames from Big Ben, the London Eye is the largest observation wheel in the world. The 135-meter high structure, inaugurated on March 9, offers an exceptional panoramic view of London.