Rexroth is known for its apprenticeship programs and its connections with educational institutions. One, in Staffordshire, England, includes a backstage visit to one of Rexroth’s great engineering feats: the London Eye.
The London Eye was the world’s largest Ferris wheel when it was built in 1999. It is still, according to the owners, “the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.” It’s 443 feet tall, more than four times the size of the Great Wheel, London’s 19th century take on the original Ferris wheel built for the Chicago World’s Fair.
The drives that control the motion of the wheel are Rexroth drives. They power the wheel’s stately motion, slow and steady enough to let passengers enter the pods while the Eye is moving. In fact, the Eye never stops moving. It travels 1.26 centimeters per second, every second, every minute, every hour, every day.
Every part of the system is mirrored by a backup, so that all the drive functions are duplicated. This ensures the safety of the wheel.
Students from the JCB Academy, a technical school, get to visit the Eye each year to learn about drive and control systems. They come up with a maintenance plan and build a model using the same principles that keep the Eye going. The students are 16 to 18 years old. The program helps them gain an understanding of engineering principles — and helps keep their excitement with motion control become part of their lives for the long term.
The program, known as the Bosch Rexroth Challenge, helped Rexroth become the 2017 winner of the Drives & Controls Contributions to Skills & Training award. “Awarded to the motion control company or organisation that can demonstrate a consistent contribution in relation to the delivery of professional training and skills development,” this award honors companies that make a contribution to the industry as a whole.
Rexroth certainly can claim that honor.
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