Monte Kaolino, Hirschau / Upper Palatinate

VALEO ITstands forsafety

Monte Kaolino, Hirschau / Upper Palatinate

Videotechnik an Europas größtem künstlichen Sandberg


Für die Mitarbeiter von Betriebsleiter Wolfgang Schwarz gilt es, jederzeit konzentriert zu sein und ganz genau hinzuschauen: Haben alle Mitfahrer oben am Start den Sicherheitsbügel korrekt angelegt? Wenn ja, beginnt nach einem Knopfdruck ihre Abfahrt auf der Rodelbahn vom Monte Kaolino in Hirschau/Oberpfalz. Sofort schweift der Blick des Mitarbeiters prüfend auf die Bilder einer weiteren Videokamera. Denn nur Sekunden später rauscht ein anderer Bob mit Tempo 40 auf das Ziel zu. Kurz vor-her soll der Fahrer bremsen. Macht er das nicht, gibt es ein kurzes Klack: Dann drosselt die Anlage automatisch die Geschwindigkeit der Mini-Waggons. Weite Teile der Rodelbahn haben MOBOTIX-IP-Kameras fest im Visier, jeder Start und alle Zieleinfahrten werden gespeichert. „So dokumentieren wir das Geschehen auch objektiv, wenn sich einmal ein Gast beschweren sollte“, sagt Schwarz.

Sandberg calls: skiing in swimming trunks

The gigantic white sand mountain in Hirschau near Amberg is a rarity. It is one of the highest artificial surveys in Europe - 30 million tons of quartz sand are piled up 150 meters high. Even in the scorching heat, the mountain shines almost snow white in the middle of summer like an alpine peak far away and offers brilliant views all the way to the Czech Republic. Born out of mining work, the Monte Kaolino attracts hundreds of thousands of leisure enthusiasts year after year with attractions that are so rare: skiers and cool sandboarders in bikini and swim shorts glide effortlessly - sunglasses casually on your nose - on the glittering sand in the valley. Some people sit on a small piece of plastic (“bob”) or slide down on bare feet. The fascination of Monte Kaolino has already been the subject of a report by the popular knowledge magazine “Galileo” on Pro 7. A sandboarding world championship, which is very popular with the public, also took place on the local mountain of the Upper Palatinate skiers.

The SC Monte Kaolino ski club, as operator of “Monte Coaster”, has to secure video technology according to the requirements of TÜV Bayern: On the one hand, the toboggan run with a total length of 800 meters and a maximum gradient of 55 percent. On the other hand, a so-called “boat facility” with a length of 200 meters, on which a height difference of 150 meters can be mastered: skiers and boarders are slowly pulled up onto the mountain like a lift in a small 9-seater boat. Those who are not so bold can go downhill with their counterpart.

MOBOTIX IP cameras have their sights on the entry, middle section and destination of the two routes. Norbert von Breidbach-Bürresheim, the Managing Director of VALEO IT Neteye GmbH, planned and realized the video technology on Monte Kaolino. "Nevertheless, there were a few sticking points where it turned out for us that only MOBOTIX-IP systems master really difficult challenges.”

Cameras defy sandstorms at 100 kilometres per hour

One difficulty is clear at first glance: The finest sand that is whirled up quickly puts ordinary cameras at checkmate. The micrometer-sized grains can cling to the cracks in the housing, damage the sensitive electronics and quickly lead to system failures. Cameras with mechanical zoom or pan options would quickly be overwhelmed: The proverbial sand in the gearbox would quickly block the control mechanism.

Von Breidbach-Bürresheim does not have all these problems: For years he has relied solely on MOBOTIX IP cameras with brilliant digital zoom and absolutely sealed housings (depending on the model up to protection class IP 66). They recently demonstrated that the Palatinate are experts in extreme outdoor conditions with installations on Mount Everest or in the Antarctic.
Sometimes there is also unpleasant weather on Monte Kaolino: The wind whips up to 100 kilometres per hour over the artificial mammoth hill and swirls up the fine-grained sand like a storm in the Sahara. Von Breidbach-Bürresheim did not have a reason to detach the cameras. “MOBOTIX devices can easily withstand such conditions.”
In an extensive pre-test, the MOBOTIX IP cameras showed their skills in 2008. At that time, operator Wolfgang Schwarz planned to modernize his old system. The sharp, detailed images and the reliable casing immediately convinced him, so there was no competition presentation at all.

Camera masts: screwed into Sandberg Monte Kaolino with giant dowels

A special challenge for the video specialist was attaching the camera masts to the yielding and unstable surface. But VALEO IT Neteye GmbH also found a solution for this: The masts are screwed deep into the mountain in oversized sleeves. The special fastenings are similar to the plastic dowels that home users turn into plasterboard. “The masts are rock solid. At most, a slight wobble of the camera image is noticed in the valley station when the wind is really heavy,” says von Breidbach-Bürresheim.
VALEO IT Neteye showed its system competence not only in the fastening, but also in the planning task: It was sensible to install as few cameras as possible. After all - according to the specifications of the TÜV – a single operator must have everything in view at all times on the toboggan run and boat facility. Too many pictures would push a single viewer to the limit of his or her ability to take pictures.

Von Breidbach-Bürresheim achieves the required permanent overview with astonishingly few devices: In total, only seven cameras are installed on the mountain, four on the toboggan run, three on the lift system. Two MOBOTIX AllroundDual cameras and six new all-round devices are currently in operation.

Few but high-resolution cameras - a lot of costs saved

All cameras have a prime lens and fisheye lens. "If it is only a matter of checking with a quick glance whether everything is running smoothly, this solution is ideal - the operator is not overloaded at his workplace by the senseless output of many cameras," says von Breidbach-Bürresheim. A short glance shows the toboggan run supervisor whether young people are once again creatively testing the capacity of a toboggan bob. The cameras also offer microphones for audio transmission: from the control centre, voice announcements can be made to the guests at the push of a button.
In the event of complaints or accidents, the MOBOTIX cameras offer the advantage of modern IP devices. Thanks to the high resolution, digital zooming can be carried out up to eight times, and even the smallest details can be easily recognized. The free MOBOTIX video management software is installed on standard PCs. Among other things, it allows the resolution, frame rate and recording time of the video streams to be adjusted with a click of the mouse.

Ready to use in just four days

The wiring was also elegantly solved by Breidbach-Bürresheim, who has been working exclusively with MOBOTIX cameras since 2005. He laid a supply tube at a depth of 80 centimetres. It contains and protects optical fibres, but also two-wire sections. Existing lines such as telephone cables, bell wires or antenna cables can be upgraded intelligently and inexpensively for IP technology with the MOBOTIX "Mx2wire" solution. Only one Mx2wire unit is required at the beginning and end of the route. The special feature: In addition to the data, the energy for operating the cameras can also be transported over these distances (“Power over Ethernet”, PoE).

VDSL modems take over the transmission of the video streams into a small wooden house at the bottom of the hill. There is network storage not far from the viewing areas. If nothing special happens, the images are overwritten every 14 days.

Operator Wolfgang Schwarz finds the complete solution amazingly simple and effective. "As requested, the operating costs are low." But he was even more astonished at how quickly the system was ready for operation: Within just four days, von Breidbach-Bürresheim had laid all the cables, installed masts and cameras and parameterized the system.