Siemens technology enables efficient exercising for horses
The company Sascotec develops and produces treadmills for exercising horses, known as Horsetrainers. To allow it to also market a pay-per-use version of its equine treadmill, the company has opted to use solutions from Siemens for communication, wireless data transmission and drive control. This allows Sascotec to record the number of hours operated by their devices in the field and charge customers based on their actual consumption, as well as defining maintenance intervals.
Horses are not just herd animals, but by nature also runners. To keep them in tip-top condition, sufficient exercise is essential – not always easy to achieve in densely populated countries like Germany. The company Sascotec recognized this need and has developed a product it calls the Horsetrainer, a device not unlike the treadmills found in gyms. “These days, many stables simply don’t have enough space to give their horses the exercise they need. There is also a risk that valuable show horses may injure themselves on rough ground and be forced to miss competitions,” says Oliver Sandmann, CEO of Sascotec. The Horsetrainer is used to exercise horses under controlled conditions – for instance as part of a recuperation program following an injury – without the need to be led or ridden by humans. As the devices can also be rented out on a pay-per-use basis, Sascotec relies on the Logo! Soft Comfort programming software from Siemens to enable communication with the Horsetrainer.
Remote metering and localization
“Customers rent the Horsetrainer together with 100 hours of use. The actual use time is recorded and charged at the end of the month. Stables can also generate revenue with it by renting time on the Horsetrainer to their customers. They log in to our system on their smart phones and the treadmill is then unlocked for the booked time,” explains Sandmann. The digital drive control and wireless communication required to implement the concept are provided by a combination of the Logo! logic module and the CMR 2020 GPS module. Using this combination, Sascotec is able to precisely locate and remotely control every one of its machines using the text messaging service, while simultaneously accessing specific parameters such as operating hours. It also enables selective maintenance of the treadmill.
Integrated safety stop
Logo! also controls the Horsetrainer’s drive unit with the aid of a Sinamics G120 frequency converter. This special safety function ensures that the treadmill switches off automatically if a horse stumbles or stops running within the expected movement parameters for any other reason.
A raft of new ideas
Sandmann is already working on taking his idea even further, with what he is calling the Aquatrainer. In simple terms, this is an equine treadmill which works in a water-filled basin, designed to provide the buoyancy needed for gentle resistance training to build muscle and ligaments after joint injuries. This new product will be controlled by a Simatic S7-1200 Basic Controller, and operated using a KTP700 Basic DP panel. Here too, the treadmill is driven by a Sinamics G120. All the components communicate over Profinet and are engineered in the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal.
Looking even further ahead, Sandmann’s next project will be a mobile version of the Horsetrainer, and one which is capable of harnessing the horse’s muscle power for conversion into electrical energy. Siemens technology will also be a core element of
this newest venture.