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Snow and Servos: Rexroth Solutions 0

Posted on 14, January 2019

in Category Blog


Rexroth created the drive and control system that moves the roof of the Amsterdam ArenA. The two-piece roof can open or close in 20 minutes to take advantage of sunny skies or to shelter its 52,960 spectators from inclement weather. With four AC-servomotors (2AD) on each side of the two halves of the roof, the system requires two cabinets, both of which are placed outside of the arena. They use standard heating and cooling systems to keep the servos comfortable. The required ambient temperature is roughly 5 degrees Fahrenheit to 105 degrees.

So the seasonal issue for the Amsterdam ArenA is not the temperature needed for the motion control system. It’s snow on the roof.

It is possible for the snow load on the roof to become too heavy for the system to move. The roof weighs 1,040 tons — 520 tons for each steel and glass half of the complete structure. So snow weight isn’t a frequent issue. In fact, there is a winter break

The system uses 140 kW power to move each half of the roof 38 meters. The two sides are controlled separately, with redundant systems for safety’s sake. That comes to 16 servo motors and 16 single drive systems, two controllers, and two switchboard. Visual Motion software controls everything.

The ArenA is the home of the AFC Ajax, and is the largest stadium in the Netherlands. It opened in 1996, having cost 96 million euro. It was the first European stadium with a retractable roof. Architects Rob Schuurman and Sjoerd Soeters actually had the roof made first. In 2014, solar panels were added to the roof, reducing energy costs by roughly 10%.  Even today, the roof is the defining characteristic of the stadium.

Rexroth is often called on for amazing feats of engineering. That’s a good reason to choose Rexroth drive and control for your projects, too. When you need Rexroth support or repair, call on us. We specialize in Rexroth electric motion control. We offer phone and field support, factory repair and reman, and emergency replacement units.

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