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MediaService Industries Online

Bell strikes at the push of a button - Optimum swing for church bells with Siemens solution

Philipp Hörz GmbH, based in Ulm, designs belfries for churches – including tower clocks and bell frames. Every bell, which can weigh several tonnes, has its own dynamics and must achieve its optimum striking angle during the ringing process as well as the appropriate number of strikes.

Philipp Hörz GmbH, based in Ulm, designs belfries for churches – including tower clocks and bell frames. Every bell, which can weigh several tonnes, has its own dynamics and must achieve its optimum striking angle during the ringing process as well as the appropriate number of strikes.

The overall parameterization as well as that between between bells is called “voicing” and is completed using a Simatic HMI (Human Machine Interface) Panel KTP700. The Siemens solution is based on a Simatic Basic Controller S7-1200, which is equipped with an integrated web server and fully integrated into the TIA portal.

The overall parameterization as well as that between between bells is called “voicing” and is completed using a Simatic HMI (Human Machine Interface) Panel KTP700. The Siemens solution is based on a Simatic Basic Controller S7-1200, which is equipped with an integrated web server and fully integrated into the TIA portal.

They are rarely seen but often heard from a distance: Church bells. Philipp Hörz GmbH operates as a full-service belfry outfitter throughout Germany and beyond – whether for the tower clock or the bell frame. The company from Swabia has turned to Siemens automation technology to make sure the bells hung here ring at the correct time and swing for the correct length of time. The new solution allows the units which swing the bells to be easily parameterized as well as controlled and maintained remotely.
Even Schiller described them in his famous poem "Song of the Bell". However, a great deal of technology is involved in ensuring they ring in the way we are used to hearing them as well as adherence to strict standards. "A very gentle approach is required in order to avoid any bounce," explains Markus Willburger, designer at Philipp Hörz GmbH. "Each of the bells, which may weigh several tonnes, has its own dynamics. The appropriate striking angle combined with the relevant number of strikes must be achieved and then finally gently braked. It must be precisely supported throughout so that the optimum sound is achieved." The company now uses the Siemens S7-1200 Simatic Controller for the essential bell ringing mechanisms instead of the control cards previously used, where replacement parts were difficult to source.
Quick and easy to parameterize
One reason for selecting the Siemens solution was the integrated web server. "We are not programmers, but we found an expert software development partner in Siemens," explains Willburger. The Swabians also have the opportunity to fine-tune the system thanks to the collaborative partnership. "For us to be able to understand and adjust the ringing process in detail, we have clamped an additional encoder to the motor shaft," says Thomas Dehm from Siemens. "With an S7-1200 controller, we were able to track the sequence and log it in the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal." The parameterization of the bells, i.e. their "voicing" is now done via a KTP700 Simatic HMI (Human Machine Interface) panel. There are many differences here, depending on the size and weight of the bell. "Most churches have four bells and a single S7-1214 CPU (Central Processing Unit) is adequate for this arrangement," continues Dehm. If there are more bells, a signal module is added for extra inputs and outputs. The rapid counters in the CPU are particularly important here, each with a rotary pulse encoder, one for each bell, as well as the Sirius reversing contactor to control the motors." The optimum interaction between the encoder, contactor and motor ensures that the bell achieves the required strike angle. The Simatic unit also sends a signal to the clock tower, the so-called striking mechanism lock. This prevents the bell being struck by an additional hammer while it is ringing, as would occur on the hour.
Complete remote control
A further benefit compared to the control cards previously used is that the Siemens controller can be easily integrated into existing units. Furthermore, a Simatic unit recognizes the direction in which the bell is swinging which means the motor never rotates in the wrong direction. The bells can also be controlled and maintained remotely via Sinema Remote Connect (Sinema RC) using a tablet or smartphone and several churches can be managed from a central point which makes the whole process much more straight forward.

 

MediaService application reports may be based on previously published Siemens technical articles.

Contact

Ursula Lang

Siemens AG

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