Case Study: Rogers Centre

The Rogers Centre, formerly known as the Skydome, recently wrapped up a major renovation on the world’s first-ever, fully retractable stadium roof with New Electric’s help.

The 11,000 tonne roof, which was leading-edge and state-of-the-art when it was installed in 1989, remained fully functional over its nearly three decades, but it’s legacy systems needed an update to ensure peak performance and eliminate the occasional stop and slowdown.
As a result of the renovation, the roof now closes and opens smoothly and quietly, in just 20 minutes, compared to the previous 40 to 45-minute trajectory. The many new systems also expedite the accurate identification of any issues and direct staff to the most appropriate preventive maintenance and repairs.

New Electric, which over the past decade has handled the Rogers Centre’s electrical requirements, for everything from the roof and its power and control systems to its concession stands and ATMs, lights and the Blue Jays’ locker rooms, bid on the job.

Despite its firsthand experience with New Electric, the Rogers Centre initially wanted to award the $10 million contract to update the roof’s software and hardware to a recognized retractable roof expert. However, when the world’s leading retractable roof experts were unable to meet the Rogers Centre’s timelines, New Electric got its chance.

After the 2015 baseball season wrapped, New Electric got to work to meet the challenging deadlines.  First and foremost, a state-of-the art, plug-and-play computer now operates the Rogers Centre roof and manages its performance.  If it identifies a mechanical, electrical, software or hardware issue, it immediately tells Rogers Centre roof teams exactly where to go and what they need to do when they get there.

It’s worth noting that unlike the previous computer, which was installed before cell phones existed and just as desktops moved into the workplace, the new system is non-proprietary and highly intuitive which ensures virtually anyone is comfortable with it.

New Electric also replaced the 76 DC-motors with 76 high-efficiency AC VFD motors and installed a new state-of-the-art Rockwell control system that automates the retraction and extension of the roof. New Electric even added a rooftop weather station that tracks weather systems to more accurately predict the arrival of rain and cold fronts. The 16 rooftop cameras now offer Rogers Centre managers a truly “bird’s eye view” of the fully #retractable roof from multiple perspectives. As well, the single joystick has been replaced with a touch screen that allows a single operator to initiate the roof’s movement with one touch.

As a result of the renovations, Rogers Centre’s own managers and technicians can now handle virtually all of the retractable roof’s necessary repairs in-house. It’s infinitely more time-efficient and cost-effective than pre-renovation, when the retractable roof’s system required highly specialized, third-party service technicians who tended to be out of the country when needed.

Rogers Centre’s Dave McCormick, manager, Engineering, Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, gave New Electric and its team, the best-ever endorsement when he said, “As of now, New Electric, which delivered on my vision for our new roofing system, is a legitimate player in the retractable roof sector.”

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