When it's a long, hot summer, theme parks with water attractions such as a log flume ride provide a refreshing and fun venue for visitors to stay cool. Ultrasonic sensors help ensure both safety and operational efficiency.
Log flume rides are divided into several operational areas. For safety reasons, only one boat at a time can be in each area. In addition, the path must be cleared as quickly as possible for the next boat. In track-based rides, inductive sensors are commonly used. However, in log flumes, the boats need some space on either side to float in the water. In this application, ultrasonic technology is the ideal sensing solution.
Passenger safety is the top priority; the risk of boats colliding must be eliminated. At the same time, the system must ensure that the ride operates as smoothly as possible to reduce waiting times for park visitors.
To meet the safety requirements for a log flume ride, the technology has to work reliably. An ultrasonic sensor is mounted at the exit of each area. Once a boat goes through the exit, the next boat is able to come through. If the space is occupied, the boats that follow are prevented from entering.
Ultrasonic sensors detect the boats regardless of their shape, color, and occupancy. The ultrasonic sensors are noncontact, so there is no wear to the boat or the sensor. In this application, a UC6000-30GM70S-2E2R2-V15 ultrasonic sensor is used to detect the boats. This type of sensor can withstand extremely harsh environmental conditions and provides consistently reliable signals.
The sensor switching window – the range between the minimum and maximum distance in which the object is detected – is very simple and intuitive to adjust using two potentiometers. Adjustments can be made in everyday operating conditions on the device itself, reliably and specifically for the application. The detection range of the ultrasonic sensor is up to 6 m.
Ultrasonic measuring is not adversely affected by changing weather conditions (strong sun, fog, temperature fluctuations). Detection faults caused by water spray can be avoided with correct adjustment of the measuring parameters. This minimizes the risk of accidental activation. The swivel head of the sensor is very easy to mount and align to the moving boats. It requires no maintenance, since neither dirt nor water droplets impair its function.