For 140 thrill-filled seconds, screaming riders on the Loke Gyro Swing at Liseberg Amusement Park in Gothenburg, Sweden, get the amazingly exciting sensation of actually flying weightlessly through the air. The swinging pendulum motion and high speed of rotation thrusts 40 riders almost upside-down while simultaneously spinning them 360° around. Then, on the downswing, their bodies are subjected to massive 4-G forces at four times the Earth’s normal gravitational pull while racing forward at over 100 km/h. When Loke finishes, the smiling, adrenaline-filled riders are clearly pleased.
“That was so incredibly fun!” comments an obviously ecstatic Anna Bjerne as she climbs off Loke. “It’s totally amazing when you are spinning at the top and your body lifts slightly off the seat. You feel thousands of butterflies running around your stomach!”
Delivering these thrills, and doing it safely, is no easy task. Although the technology used behind the scenes is something that most people never think about, ABB’s variable speed drives (VSDs) play a critical role in keeping the rides moving, safely and efficiently.
The leader in the field of amusement park rides is Intamin Amusement Rides group, which builds a large number of such attractions worldwide. Its sister company Inautec GmbH of Switzerland is responsible for the fail safe ride control system and supporting installation and commissioning the rides. Stephan Siegrist, Inautec’s Engineering and Managing Director, is a big fan of the way that ABB drives keep everything under control to run the swing safely and accurately, while simultaneously simplifying the design.
Just one large motor replaces several smaller ones
“This latest ABB drive – the ACS880-17 high-power regenerative drive with position control – perfectly supports our new design approach for the Gyro Swing,” says Siegrist. “Now we can reduce the motors we need in the ride to just one. So, by selecting a single higher-power motor, we have decreased the complexity of the system by eliminating multiple gearboxes and encoders. This both simplifies the engineering and improves the reliability.”
Safety is a key area where Siegrist sees major benefits, since ABB drives include integrated functional safety options to meet the highest global safety standards. “We get huge advantages from the high-level integrated safety functions,” explains Stephan, “since they accelerate our development and installation work, with no need for separate programming or wiring workarounds.”