Always a thrill

A major theme park in the southern United States built a new multi-launch steel roller coaster that pushed the envelope of coaster design. The ride’s components were unconventional in the industry making it more challenging to build and very expensive, but the result would make it a first in the industry and give guests a unique coaster experience: passengers would stop at seven different locations to watch a 3D animation play during the slow down before launching the riders further along.

Since the park owners had not purchased the electrical wiring required for the roller coaster from the ride manufacturer, they relied heavily on their electrical contractor to determine how to install the wiring to connect all aspects of the ride’s equipment. The contractor reached out to HELUKABEL since our cables were used on two other rides the park had installed. After reviewing the ride manufacturer’s bill of material, the cable required was relatively straightforward and included control cables such as TRAYCONTROL® 600, MEGAFLEX® 500, and TOPFLEX® 1000 motor power cables.

One significant change that HELUKABEL USA recommended to the electrical contractor was to install the cables in cable trays instead of conduit to connect a majority of the ride’s electrical components. At the time, recent changes in NFPA 79, which provides safeguards for industrial machinery to protect operators, equipment, facilities, and work-in-progress from fire and electrical hazards, allowed many of the cables to be installed in trays laid around the ride. Contractors could therefore install cables more quickly, and the park’s maintenance staff could change out cables more easily during routine inspections when needed. Furthermore, HELUKABEL advised the contractor that the TRAYCONTROL® 600 and TOPFLEX® 1000 could be run outside of the tray due to their tray cable – exposed run (TC-ER) rating as long as the cable was properly supported.

At the time of its construction, the ride had the longest track length in roller coaster history and included a “drop section” that was not as straightforward as many of the other electrical components in the ride’s cabling system.

The drop section was unique because it had to support a section of track, the passenger carriage, and the 12 motors with their controls as it dropped just shy of five metres at an acceleration rate close to ten metres per second. It was during the installation of the lifting mechanism that HELUKABEL was asked by the electrical contractor to further assist with the design and procurement of a vertical drag chain capable of holding the 61 cables needed to power and control the motors.

HELUKABEL’s engineers found a drag chain manufacturer that had developed a new product specifically designed to be very quiet and used in vertical drag chain applications, making it the perfect choice for this project. In addition to determining where and how to mount the drag chain, the placement of other components on the ride needed to be addressed because there was limited room to install them. 3D-modeling software was supplied by the cable chain manufacturer and integrated into the customer’s plans to verify the functionality of the chain.

After the design was finalized, the contractor started to assemble the ride. Overall, the drag chain assembly weighed nearly 300 kilograms and was almost seven metres long. To make the installation process more manageable, the ride’s components were assembled and then the pavilion’s building structure was constructed around it to house the components.

Before testing began, it was discovered that special, 40-metre-long feedback cable assemblies were unavailable in under 20 weeks from the manufacturer, but after conferring with HELUKABEL, delivery was achieved in under four weeks. After installing these feedback cables, the drag chain and coaster were tested with positive results.

The roller coaster has been running smoothly to the delight of the theme park and its guests alike. This unique and fun-filled theme park attraction has since earned a “The Best Coaster” distinction.

By URKUNDE, 17-06-2022