How Emerson Is Helping Hockey Players Hit the Ice

by Shawn D.

Hockey season is upon us.  Youth programs are underway and professional hockey leagues are kicking off their respective seasons in coming weeks.  Hockey is a point of excitement for fans, coaches and athletes.  Some of us are lucky enough to get a chance to experience all three roles. 

While the focus will largely remain on slapshot goals and championship runs, for many engineers and building managers a win is notched well before the puck is dropped.  No matter the outside climate, the objective is to prepare a high quality consistent ice surface.  One such extreme example is Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah sports arena in Qatar — an arena tasked with creating sub-freezing conditions even as outdoor temperatures soar well above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s part of a complicated process that is maintained thanks, in large part, to precise control tools. Let’s take a closer look. 

How is hockey rink ice maintained?

While hockey arenas vary greatly in size and design, the systems used to maintain an ice rink generally follow a similar design. 

It all starts with the ice itself – about ¾ to 1.5 inches in total – which is sprayed down in layers as water. Below that rests a chilled concrete slab that is filled with a complex pipe system used to regulate the exact temperature of the layers above it.

A large refrigeration system pumps up to 9,000 gallons (34,000 liters) of cooled brine through the piping system and keeps the ice around 24 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What does Emerson bring to the table?

Managing thousands of gallons of brine water in addition to other variables is no easy task. That’s why groups at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah arena selected Emerson’s Movicon software system to supervise the process. 

The supervisory control system communicates with electrical devices around the stadium to control building power. The intuitive graphics can provide an incredibly easy to understand interface to see all aspects of the system. It also oversees the plumbing and cooling systems so potential water or gas leaks can be quickly reported and repaired after managers are alerted through a series of alarms.

“There are several benefits we appreciate in using Movicon,” says Jose Fernando Pereira, Project Manager and Automation Team Leader at Lysys Qatar W.L.L. “Through the Movicon SCADA interface, operators can evaluate the operating conditions of the different equipment and analyze the historical alarms. They can also generate and compare historical data with trends and real-time data or export them with just one click in an Excel format to be easily analyzed outside the SCADA application.”

In addition to precise environmental control, the Movicon system offers virtually unlimited project customizations. That includes taking data from an external weather system to help ensure the playing surface remains at an optimal temperature. 

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