Pacific Blue Engineering was hired by a large Parks and Resorts client to assist with the test and adjust phase of a new resort and to provide a Sub-System Controller (SSC) for a separate attraction. The primary objective of these projects was to provide on-site service to test, debug and edit controller software and wiring to meet the highest requirements of safety and automation reliability. It was extremely important for this entertainment client to commission various attractions on a soft opening schedule while maintaining the highest degree of safety management possible. What differentiates the entertainment industry from others is that multiple guests usually interact in vehicles in hazard zones versus being protected or locked out of typical machine safety dangers.
In completing this project Pacific Blue manufactured, programmed, and commissioned a safety SSC, executed, and witnessed thousands of Site Acceptance Tests (SATs) for site vendors to meet internal and external compliance. In addition, over 100 additional tests were written for two other attractions within the client’s Theme Park. One Pacific Blue engineer was assigned the role of “responsible individual-controls” after working with one major ride for six months and saw that ride through to full acceptance. This Pacific Blue engineer continued to work at the park as an automation and controls consultant, leading to the extension of his original contract through fourteen months, and his involvement with both the initial project as well as other attractions that needed additional automation and engineering assistance.
As part of the SSC scope, there was a wireless station stop system, and a Siemens S7 Failsafe PLC was programmed and fabricated by Pacific Blue Engineering. This system was also commissioned for a second ride which had a mobile load and unload platform, allowing operators to assist customers and if there was any difficulty getting on or off the ride vehicle. A station stop button could be pressed using a wireless hand pack carried by the operator. A major challenge to the engineer was acquiring familiarity with the client’s standards for running SATs. In most cases, an SAT created by a ride vendor contains typographical errors and does not always accurately represent every step required to set up or to recover from a specific fault being tested. Each test can be marked up and have notes and comments added to accurately represent how the test is conducted. However, it is very important to be clear and concise with the information that is provided, otherwise, the test may need to be entirely rewritten and reconstructed.
In addition to making Siemens S7 Failsafe PLC programming changes, it was also necessary to verify the proper field terminations to the PLC as well as returning after commissioning to meet any additional requirements from the vendor of the ride.
Overall, Pacific Blue Engineering contributed both on and off-site to the opening of five attractions as well as helping to maintain land-show effects. The work completed met rigorous compliance standards for both ride system safety and code pedigree tracking.
Looking to the future it will be very important for Pacific Blue Engineering not only to exceed the entertainment industry needs as they arise but also to continue to pro-actively add value as safety controls and ride engineering experts during design, submittals, testing, and commissioning phases and beyond.