The Cologne Cable Car company, Kölner Seilbahn, is using Panomera camera technology from Dallmeier to ensure the safety of its carrying rope construction. The 930m-long aerial trip over the Rhine is enjoyed by over half a million passengers every year and the German manufacturer’s technology is being used to ensure that each of the 44 cars reach the end stations in Riehl and Deutz safely.
In order to guarantee the passengers’ safety at all times, operators require rapid visual detection of possible technical problems, particularly in the structure of the carrying cable. This project is the first in the world in which Panomera camera technology is used to do this. The rollers themselves are also monitored using Dallmeier IR box cameras.
“Besides the approach of the gondolas to the stations, we observe the way they run onto the pylons,” explained Carlos Castro, Operations Manager of Kölner Seilbahn. “30m up in the air, it is quite possible that a good gust of wind can set the cable and the pylons swinging. To enable early detection of incidents that cause the gondolas to approach the sensitive points out of alignment and to prevent technical problems, we decided to introduce video surveillance using the proven, patented Panomera camera technology.”
The carrying rope is supported by three pylons over its entire span. The resulting distances between the stations and the pylons range in length from 100m up to 480m over the Rhine itself. As such, VTS Video Technik Systeme GmbH, which was responsible for erection operations, only had access to a few installation points, but at the same time the specification in respect of imaging and resolution quality was extremely high. This meant that images must be recorded over very long distances, but at the same time the image material must still be of extremely high quality.
The Panomera multifocal sensor system was developed specifically to provide full area coverage with video protection for large spaces and long distances. The technology features multiple sensors with different focal lengths installed in a single housing and a special software program compiles a total image in high resolution. In this way, huge distances and expanses can be captured with a uniform resolution over the entire area of interest in real time.
“This technical advantage gave us the decisive edge in view of the specified infrastructure,” says Jürgen Vahlenkamp, managing director of VTS GmbH. “For video observation with the Panomera, we managed extremely well with the small number of installation points available. Thanks to the special lens and sensor concept we do not fall below the specified resolution value even in the more distant image areas.”
The operator has full control over the entire situation over the entire length of the cables between the pylons, live and in high resolution video images. In potential hazard situations, they can view details in a separate zoom image without losing sight of the overall action. In theory, any number of operators would be able to “take a close look” at a wide range of image areas at the same time.
“The operator has the situation under control at all times! He has access to an uninterrupted total view of the cables and the pylons, while analysing a detail picture of a certain area, at the same time if necessary,” continued Vahlenkamp, “We have succeeded in ensuring that the process of cable car operation is as safe as possible, to the complete satisfaction of our customer.”
Reflecting on the project Carlos Castro stated: “We’re delighted. At last we are in a position to monitor the entire span of 930m during operation. The images delivered are of outstanding quality.
With this system we now have a good, additional tool which enables the system to be displayed visually, complementing the existing, reliable technical monitoring and control systems.”