The pressure to get that kick
Pneumatic equipment installed in roller coasters from Switzerland makes for more fun and greater safety.
The roller coasters built by Bolliger & Mabillard are genuine attractions at amusement and adventure parks. Dizzying heights, tight curves, steep drops and high speeds. That’s also true for the hyper coasters. Barely has the rider entered the car when a bar positions itself at the hips and the floorboard disappears with a threatening hiss. Feet hanging in the air, riders race along at 130 km/h, covering 1.500 meters of rails, dropping almost vertically through a tunnel, topping crests 72 meters high and negotiating steep curves of up to 122 degrees.
For Walter Bolliger, the company’s co-founder, the best thing in the world is to provide pleasure and enjoyment to others. And in the meantime about 50 million visitors have found their thrills in America, Asia and Europe. The company’s gigantic roller coasters are characterized by comfortable but nonetheless spectacular rides: trains without floorboards, outside loops, trips with passengers standing up or lying down. Adrenalin pulses through the veins in models with daunting names like “Mantis”, “Raging Bull” and “Oblivion”.
But there’s no need to fear since personal safety and equipment reliability enjoy the highest priorities for this engineering company from Monthey, in Switzerland’s Rhone Valley. The proper technical equipment is essential to combine the adrenaline kick, fun and safety all in one. Here pneumatic components handle central functions. In the “Diving Machine” pneumatic components made by Rexroth foster both adventure and safety. Model PRA and GPC cylinders retract the car’s floor with a loud hiss. When attendance at the park is heavy on the weekends, trains can easily be added since the PRA cylinders are also used when specifying the number of trains. A valve-controlled brake stops the train during normal travel and if problems should arise, then the brakes stop the vehicle instantly.
Pneumatics also execute a safety function at the doors. To do this the system works with two different pressure levels: low pressure during entry and exit — so that no one can be trapped or pinched — and high pressure during travel to keep doors from being opened either inadvertently or deliberately. Large-volume pressure regulators and air filters assume the function of a main air supply source, ensuring that sufficient pressure is present throughout the pneumatic system. If the value falls below 4.5 bar, then the train will not start at all. To ensure that this never happens, Rexroth is standing by as a worldwide service partner, ensuring the maximum possible enjoyment through careful maintenance work and close monitoring of pressure levels. That’s a sure bet.