The Sweetest Side of Awning Technology

Becker-Antriebe guarantees outstanding sun protection at the Chocolate Museum in Cologne, Germany

The Chocolate Museum in Cologne has been enticing visitors to the Rheinau harbour near the city's famous cathedral for more than 20 years. Just as old as the museum itself was the awning technology installed in the building's office complex. Tornatzky, a Cologne-based specialist for roller shutters and sun protection, planned and replaced 141 façade awnings, including motors and control units, using Becker electric motors.

The Chocolate Museum, a gift from the famous German chocolatemaker Stollwerck, is located on the banks of the Rhine, near Cologne Cathedral and the city's old town. Today, the museum consists of the original building and a modern extension. The latter is primarily constructed of aluminium and glass, giving it the appearance of a ship sitting in the harbour. The museum welcomes over 600,000 visitors each year to marvel at the cocoa and chocolate treats on display.

Technical challenges for Tornatzky

In view of the complex requirements, replacing 141 façade awnings posed a real challenge. It was essential to retain the architectural integrity of the building and to ensure its overall appearance was not altered. At the same time, the control technology inside the building needed a complete overhaul. A new WMS radio system was, for instance, installed that enables optimum control of the sun protection system by office staff, the main central control unit and the sun/wind sensors designed for two directions. This additionally involved integrating three in-house WiFi networks.

A local company, Tornatzky Rolladen und Sonnenschutz GmbH, was tasked with carrying out the work. Tornatzky employs nine people and specialises in awnings, Venetian blinds and sun protection systems. The company has been a Becker partner for more than a decade and has acquired expert knowledge of drives and control units.

Reliable Becker drives

Due to the structural conditions on site and the complex technical requirements, the Tornatzky specialists used R20/17 electric motors from Becker Antriebe to complete the project. These motors additionally enable the flexible and intelligent control of large sunshade systems and can be connected in parallel without the need for cut-off relays. Final positions can be set both electronically and mechanically. The robust and durable motors are quiet and smooth in action. Furthermore, they are gentle to the awnings thanks to the automatic curtain length adjustment and a soft end stop at the top. Possible damage caused by mechanical curtain faults is prevented by the integrated jam detection in UP direction.

Extensive programming skills were required to implement the project. Luckily, Tornatzky is committed to ensuring its fully qualified staff are always kept abreast of new developments and skills. The project additionally demanded close cooperation with the Chocolate Museum's electricians and IT experts, also in terms of scheduling the various trades. Relocating staff and sharing office space and facilities had to be taken into account when planning the entire modernisation programme to allow staff to work as normal without any disruptions. Managing director Eckehard Tornatzky has been working in partnership with Becker-Antriebe as a main supplier since establishing his business in 1993. He has been extremely impressed not just with the quality and technical details of the solutions but also with the professional yet personable way in which projects have been completed together over the years.

Project data:

Chocolate Museum in Cologne, office complex

Replacing 141 façade awnings

Required work:
Planning, delivering and assembling screen awnings, shafts with bearings and electric motors, wireless receivers, wireless control units, sun/wind sensors as well as programming the entire system whilst taking into account the three existing WiFi networks

Applied products:
R20/17PS Becker drives

Tornatzky Rolladen und Sonnenschutz GmbH, Cologne