ave you ever worried you might not have time to get through the metro turnstile with your luggage? Or you slowed down as you move through the exit door in case it suddenly closes? Not to mention tailgating fare-dodgers who slip through just behind you! Relax! With the smart motor co-developed by Crouzet and Thales, these taxing moments will soon be just a distant memory.
The technical and economic stakes involved
The two partners – along with transport network operators and policy-makers – were naturally keen to improve the user experience and streamline user traffic. “It’s a very competitive sector, so it’s essential for Thales to constantly innovate with solutions that are more reliable, simpler, more rugged and ultimately cheaper for our customers, while still meeting stringent user safety standards. Up until now, we’ve been using commercial off-the-shelf motors. Developing an exclusive motor gives us a decisive competitive advantage”, says Christophe Raynal, head of Hardware Engineering at Thales Communications & Security.
A versatile, stand-alone motor
The solution developed introduces two major innovations. First, the blocking function previously handled by a latch has been transferred to the motor. “To resist fare-dodgers trying to force or kick their way through, the motor has to apply a very high torque. This specification is difficult to reconcile with safety: the motor has to provide strong resistance to intrusion but at the same time operate gently for fare-paying users,” explains Mr. Raynal. This is where the second innovation comes in: the incorporation of firmware (embedded software) capable of controlling the entire gate opening software. “Our turnstile is equipped with a 3D sensor capable of recognizing a person with luggage, a pushchair, a wheelchair – or a fare-dodger. It sends the appropriate request to the motor, which manages the dynamics of opening and closing (speed, torque, direction of rotation, etc.) or, on the contrary, blocks the turnstile,” explains Mr. Raynal. Communication also uses a CAN network, so there is less wiring involved and therefore lower production costs and fewer sources of breakdowns.
A fruitful, long-term collaboration
The project began in the early 2010s by co-designing the specifications: several different solutions were designed, prototyped and tested. This long-term collaboration involved experts in mechanical engineering, electricity, software and telecoms, with the design office and Crouzet’s workshops in Alès, France working very closely together. “It was very slow to get off the ground because the subject is really very complex. But we now have a single motor for all of our types of doors and we are even thinking of using it for other systems, such as the barriers for car parks and motorways,” says Christophe Raynal. The Thales turnstile gate with a Crouzet motor is now entering its service life, with programs in the Netherlands, India, Doha and Dubai.
|Thales turnstile||Current turnstiles|
|Crouzet SQ57 motor: DCmind Brushless motor with planetary gear unit||Brushless motor or DC with no control electronics|
|Embedded control electronics (firmware)||External control electronics|
|Dynamic management of impact forces||No dynamic management|
|Communication by CAN bus||Communication by serial link|
|Lower TCO: greater reliability (low MTBF, higher MCBF), low power consumption.||Frequent maintenance, no attempt to save power|
|Stop at any position||Closed or open position|
|Doors blocked in closed position by motor torque||Doors blocked by an external mechanical system|
|Panic door opening is manual or at programmed torque value||Sliding doors controlled by systems outside the motor|