Automated Olympics

The first two points of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee’s three concepts for the 2008 games, “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics, and People’s Olympics,” depend heavily on the participation and effort of engineers and technicians. As such, automation, instrumentation, and control systems are an essential part of this year’s Olympics in Beijing.

08/01/2008


The first two points of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee’s three concepts for the 2008 games, “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics, and People’s Olympics,” depend heavily on the participation and effort of engineers and technicians. As such, automation, instrumentation, and control systems are an essential part of this year’s Olympics in Beijing.

Green city

The quality of the environment in Beijing has been frequently criticized. However, since winning the right to host in July 2001, Beijing has employed various techniques in an effort to improve the environment.

Solar cells, while not yet the main power source, have been installed in many Olympic buildings. For example, 1,124 solar cells were installed in the National Indoor Stadium on the roof and the south glass wall of the stadium. These convert collected solar energy into direct-current electricity, which is then pumped into the low-voltage distribution system online through special equipment. This solar power station has a lifespan of 25 years, offering a total of 2.32 thousand kilowatt hours, reducing use of coal by 904.8 tons, cutting back emissions of carbon dioxide by 2,352.5 tons, sulfur dioxide by 21.7 tons, and nitrogen oxide by 6.3 tons.

To provide Beijing with even more green energy, the first stage of the Guanting wind power station, which features permanent-magnet direct-wind-driven generating sets, was connected to the grid in January 2008.

Intelligent gyms and pools

Two of the most famous venues at this year’s Olympics are the Water Cube (National Aquatics Center) and the Bird’s Nest (the principal Olympic stadium in Beijing).

“Splendid Light Sight” in the Water Cube is the most important lighting project in all of the Olympic gyms, combining more than 400,000 LEDs into the world’s largest LED artwork, and forming a huge control network with about 60,000 nodes. In this three-layer, two-network structure, 188 EDS-361-T switches from Moxa are deployed on the device layer, 15 EDS-516A-MM-SC switches are on the access layer, and two EDS-726 modular switches are on the core layer.

The Water Cube’s control system is made up of three independent systems, one each for the swimming pool, diving pool, and warm-up pool. An additional system controls the central water treatment monitor.

“Water Cube technicians can monitor events in all three pools via the host PC located in the central office and can also configure the system there,” says Jin Jianxiang, president of Supcon Technology Co. Ltd, which is providing the automated water treatment systems, wave generating technology, and safety control systems to the Water Cube.

The control system uses fiber optics and SCnet II, a type of high-speed industrial Ethernet, to link the control stations, operation stations, and communication interfaces. Data, including pH levels, residual chlorine, and pump flow are received through a data interface designed with open-source OPC software.

The China Seismological Bureau requires that every new structure be built to withstand any outside impact—from natural geological movement to an enthusiastic audience of thousands. SeismoCast building monitoring solution from CGM Engineering Co. Ltd, was selected to take on this enormous responsibility.

By utilizing LabView software and CompactRIO hardware produced by National Instruments, CGM was able to complete two government-approved monitoring systems in less than a year. Nine sets of 64-channel CompactRIO systems are present in the Bird’s Nest (the principal Olympic stadium in Beijing), as are two sets of 36-channel systems installed in the Water Cube. Each is linked to an embedded computer and in a fixed NEMA 4 enclosure. These systems were created to monitor unnatural activity that could be cause for alarm. The main task of the system is to measure structure vibration and acceleration to ensure that the entire structure is sound.

Mass transportation

Nine subway lines are under construction in Beijing, with four of them scheduled to be running for the Olympics. Environment monitoring and control systems (EMCSs) have been applied successfully in Line 5 of the Beijing subway, as well as in the improvement of Lines 1 and Line 2. These systems—including air conditioning, water supply and drainage, power and lighting, automatic fire alarm, environment monitoring, and escalator systems—can coordinate varied devices in emergencies to keep passengers safe.

The 16 stations of Line 5 are equipped with energy management and control systems (EMCSs) from Siemens. These systems include double loop Ethernet with Scalance switches, hot backup and redundant PLC controllers, Profibus devices, ET200M stations, I/O modules, transducers, interface devices, and maintenance stations comprised of Siemens IPC and WinCC products.

An automation amalgamation

This year’s Olympics in Beijing showcases additional control system technologies and vendors:

  • Siemens is behind the luggage distribution system in Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport, as well as several gyms’ security systems, and the water treatment system in Qinghe Water Plant.

  • Emerson designed the regulators used in the Olympic torches and transducers for the central air conditioner in the national stadium.

  • Schneider Electric equipped the Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube, and the new airport terminal with lighting systems.

  • Rockwell Automation provided infrastructure automation solutions.

  • ABB plays a big part in Beijing’s power network.

  • Honeywell acts as the housekeeper of the Bird’s Nest with its control systems.

  • GE, as the global partner of the International Olympic Committee, has assisted Beijing with deploying its power systems in hotels and Olympic conference centers.

Local Chinese automation vendors also play a part. Hollysis won the bid for supplying the power monitoring systems and environmental control integration systems for Beijing subway Line 10. Several Evoc products, such as security systems, automatic ticket check systems, and air quality monitoring systems are being utilized in Olympic stadiums. Kyland provides power monitoring systems for the main Olympic gyms, SCADA communication systems in Terminal 3 of Beijing airport, and switches for the high-speed railway stations in Beijing and Tianjin, a co-host city for the Olympics. And Econtrolnet created monitoring systems for the Olympic aquatic sports field and street lamps along the airport expressway.


Author Information

Liu Yiliu is a writer for Control Engineering China, a Chinese language publication produced by Reed Business Information accessible online at




No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.