Press Release 24 February 2021

Monitoring cables over the Rhine

Kölner Seilbahn, the Cologne Cable Car company trusts in Panomera® technology

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Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Cologne! Every year, over half a million passengers soar over the Rhine at a height of 30 metres with the Cologne Cable Car – and are rewarded with an unparalleled view of the city and cathedral. For ensuring the safety of the carrying rope construction, Kölner Seilbahn relies on the Panomera® camera technology of Regensburg-based manufacturer Dallmeier.

Experience Cologne from the air

The Cologne Cable Car offers an unrivalled view of the Cologne Old Town and its cathedral. Riding in gondolas at a height of 30 metres above the ground, visitors enjoy a bird’s eye view of Cologne, the Old Town, the river Rhine and the beautiful city environs. The Cologne Cable Car has featured as an established attraction of the city for over 60 years, and every year more than half a million passengers enjoy the 930-metre-long aerial trip over the Rhine. In order to ensure that the 44 cars reach the end stations in Riehl and Deutz safely from spring to autumn, the operators have decided to install video security technology from Dallmeier.

The first use of Panomera® to monitor a carrying rope
The Cologne Cable Car project is the first undertaking anywhere in the world in which the patented Panomera® camera technology is used to monitor a cable car carrying rope. In order to guarantee the passengers’ safety at all times, the operators require rapid visual detection of possible technical problems, particularly in the structure of the carrying cable.

Carlos Castro, Operations Manager of Kölner Seilbahn, explains: “Besides the approach of the gondolas to the stations, we observe the way they run onto the pylons. 30 metres up in the air, it is quite possible that a good gust of wind can set the cable and the pylons swinging. To enable early detection of incidents that cause the gondolas to approach the sensitive points out of alignment and to prevent technical problems, we decided to introduce video surveillance using the proven, patented Panomera® camera technology.“

Long distances, few installation points – not a problem for Panomera®
The carrying rope is supported on a total of three pylons over the entire distance of just under one kilometre. The resulting distances between the stations and the pylons range in length from 100 metres up to a considerable span of 480 metres over the Rhine itself. Consequently, our project partner VTS Video Technik Systeme GmbH, which was responsible for erection operations, only had access to a few installation points, but at the same time the specification in respect of imaging and resolution quality was extremely high. Simply put, this meant that images must be recorded over very long distances, but at the same time the image material must still be of extremely high quality. Together with the VTS, the operators of the Cologne Cable Car found exactly the right solution in Panomera® technology. VTS GmbH has been a reliable, capable business partner to Dallmeier for many years, and brings the necessary expertise to the project based on long experience.

The Panomera® multifocal sensor system is considered to have revolutionised video surveillance. It was developed specifically to provide full area coverage with video protection for large spaces and long distances. The particular feature of the technology is that multiple sensors having different focal lengths are installed in a single housing and a special software program compiles a total image in high resolution. In this way, huge distances and expanses can be captured with a uniform resolution raster over the entire area of interest in real time. Jürgen Vahlenkamp, managing director of VTS GmbH explains in more detail: “This technical advantage gave us the decisive edge in view of the specified infrastructure. For video observation with the Panomera®, we managed extremely well with the small number of installation points available. Thanks to the special lens and sensor concept we do not fall below the specified resolution value even in the more distant image areas. The ideal prerequisite for surveillance over very long distances!“. The rollers themselves are also monitored using Dallmeier IR box cameras.

Complete control by the operator
The operator has full control over the entire situation over the entire length of the cables between the pylons, live and in high resolution video images. In potential hazard situations, he can view details in a separate zoom image without losing sight of the overall action. In theory, any number of operators would be able to “take a close look“ at a wide range of image areas at the same time.

“The operator has the situation under control at all times! He has access to an uninterrupted total view of the cables and the pylons, while analysing a detail picture of a certain area, at the same time if necessary“, continues Vahlenkamp, “We have succeeded in ensuring that the process of cable car operation is as safe as possible, to the complete satisfaction of our customer.“

Customised solutions
The wind that blows against the masts and cables 30 metres above the ground can cause them to start rocking, and poses certain challenges not only for the operation of the gondolas but also for the installation of the cameras. To ensure that the camera systems – each weighing more than ten kilos – are not damaged or themselves become a hazard, the cameras were secured to the pylons using special plates. The lenses themselves are installed immovably inside the camera housing and are unaffected by any swinging motion.

“What we plan is what you get“
In view of the special requirement of this project, the Dallmeier 3D planning team first simulated a digital twin of the entire surrounding area. With this approach, the manufacturer Dallmeier ensures that planning and real-life implementation match each other as closely as possible, and the customer benefits from the highest certainty regarding both the plan and their investment.

The next step in the project execution was to construct and test the finished system, consisting of cameras and a high-performance recording appliance. In Dallmeier’s own Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) Centre in Regensburg, the systems were pre-set according to the customer’s specification. The “FAT test run“ which follows ensures that project partner VTS will be able to install and commission the preconfigured system quickly and without difficulties. Carlos Castro sums up: “We're delighted. At last we are in a position to monitor the entire span of 930 metres during operation. The images delivered are of outstanding quality. With this system we now have a good, additional tool which enables the system to be displayed visually, complementing the existing, reliable technical monitoring and control systems.“

Data protection and data security
In public areas, data protection and EU GDPR are important topics. Dallmeier’s technology is compliant with all required criteria for data protection and data security, including during application in public areas.

Remain equipped for the future with Dallmeier systems
Roland Deja, Operations Manager Sales Backoffice at Dallmeier: “​​​​​​​With the Dallmeier solution, we have given the go-ahead for cable car monitoring projects. The integrated approach adopted in Dallmeier solutions means that both the cameras and software can be upgraded, e.g., with AI-based assistance systems, at a later time as well. Thus, systems will remain viable for many years into the future and guarantee investment security for the Kölner Seilbahn.“​​​​​​​

About Dallmeier

Dallmeier: Turn images into assets.
With pioneering video technology from Germany.

In 1984 Dieter Dallmeier founded what is now Dallmeier electronic – not in the proverbial garage, but in a garden shed in Regensburg, Germany. Today, the company, which can justifiably call itself a hidden champion for video information technology "Made in Germany", has several hundred employees worldwide, more than 250 of them at the company headquarters in the centre of Regensburg alone.

Our customers: From commercial enterprises to World Cup stadiums
Dallmeier's camera, recording, software, and analysis solutions optimise security and processes for B2B end customers in a wide range of industries in over 60 countries. The focus is on users from the casino, smart city, airports, logistics, stadiums, and industrial sectors. But also, banks, critical infrastructure facilities as well as medium-sized companies from all sectors.

Low total cost of ownership "Made in Germany"
With pioneering innovations, Dallmeier has succeeded time and again in placing itself at the forefront of technology: From the world's first digital image storage system with motion analysis in 1992, the patented "multifocal sensor technology" Panomera® with its "Mountera®" mounting system, to the latest Domera® camera family, which allows up to 300 camera variants with only 18 components. These and many other innovations provide real, tangible customer benefits. And with a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and a high Return on Investment (ROI) they can easily compete with systems produced and supplied from low-wage countries.

Cybersecurity, data protection and ethical responsibility through maximum vertical integration
With 100% "Made in Germany", we also guarantee our customers the highest standards in data protection, cybersecurity, and ethical responsibility. With high quality and short supply chains, we also ensure – almost incidentally – sustainability and environmental protection. From our prestigious headquarters in the centre of Regensburg, Dallmeier not only carries out its own research and development but also the complete manufacturing process – from component to product to solution.

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