t Kuipke in the Citadelpark of Gent is undoubtedly one of the most famous cycling tracks in Belgium. It owes this fame mainly to track cycling and the Six Days of FlandersGent. But did you know that behind the wooden construction there is also a strong piece of technology?
Hydraulic installation trap door
Two hydraulic cylinders raise or lower the trap door of the cycling track. The gap between the moving part of the track (mounted on the trap door) and the fixed part should be small, so that the cyclists can cross it without bumping.
However, during the movement of the trap door, one side of the trap door may warp in relation to the other. Too much warping against the small opening can damage the wooden wheel track. The hydraulic system ensures that both sides of the trap door move synchronously, thus guaranteeing a minimal warp - and therefore a minimum of damage.
Time for an upgrade
With the previous system, the oil supply to both hydraulic cylinders was variably throttled during movement based on an inclinometer signal. Because the system sometimes still caused damage to the track, the demand came for a more modern and more accurate system. No problem for the experts of our Hydraulics Business Unit!
New and more accurate system
The team installed 2 new hydraulic cylinders with an internal path measuring system. By measuring directly on the cylinder, there is better positional accuracy than before.
A new electrical cabinet with new controllers was also provided: it receives the position signal from both road measuring systems and compares them with each other.
One cylinder is configured as master, the other as slave. The controllers control two proportional hydraulic valves so that the slave follows the master cylinder as closely as possible. The hydraulic unit was therefore also updated with new valves.
The controllers allow the programming and monitoring of a wide range of parameters. In this way, it is possible to better control the position and degree of misalignment and to tune the system with things such as a variable movement speed.
Together with a different way of securing the track, there is now less chance of damaging it. The future of our beloved cycling events is thus guaranteed!