Ferris wheel also referred to as the observation wheel, is one of the common rides in the amusement industry and it rotates at a constant speed. This is a large upright wheel rotating on a fixed stand and seats are freely suspended around its rim. This large, non-building structure will use gears and motors for upward motion of the wheel, and then the gravity will pull it downwards. In every Ferris wheel design, the primary importance is provided to the safety and smooth operation of the ride. The hydraulics in the Ferris wheel will provide high power density and a tremendous amount of torque. Compact design, low heat generation, and ease of maintenance are other advantages for choosing hydraulics in Ferris wheel. Also, smooth acceleration and deceleration of the system can only be achieved with hydraulics.
How do hydraulics make the Ferris wheel rotate? In Ferris Wheel, it is the hydraulic motor powered by an electric pump that makes the Ferris wheel work. In the Ferris wheel design, it contains truck tires along the rim and it rotates on its axis with the power of a hydraulic motor and gearboxes. Two popular Ferris wheel rides and its hydraulic working are discussed in this article.
THE LONDON EYE
The London Eye located on the bank of the River Thames, near Jubilee Gardens was first built in 2000 and it is 442 feet(135 meters) tall and has a circumference of 1391 feet(424 meters). When first constructed, it was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. This Ferris wheel ride contains 32 capsules, numbered 1 to 12 and 14 to 33. The London Eye contains a steel frame structure with two tapered legs at the base that forms an "A" shape. The attached cable backstays will protect the frame from tilting. Spoke cables, hub & spindle, capsules, rim, boarding platform, compression/tension base, pier & collision protection boom, restraint towers, etc... are other components in the London Eye structure.
The London Eye Ferris Wheel contains two drive system located near the boarding platform of each tower. The hydraulic motor powered by an electric pump will make the standard truck tires placed along the rim to rotate at a constant speed. The speed of the Ferris wheel can be adjusted with computer controls. It is the hydraulic lifts and cables that help to lift heavy loads effectively. Each capsule contains a built-in stability system, and a separate heating and cooling system.
THE GREAT WHEEL OF BEIJING
The Beijing Great Wheel located at Chaoyang Park, Beijing, China is one of the popular Ferris wheels in the world with a diameter of 198m and a maximum height of 208m. This observation wheel contains 48 closed cabins and each can carry 40 passengers; in total 1920 passengers in its 20-minute ride. The drive solution required for this Great Wheel is designed and supplied by Bosch Rexroth and Boxtel. The Great Wheel of Beijing has an automated boarding system that rotates continuously for passenger boarding and exit.
The design of the Beijing Great Wheel contains four drive units, each unit contains two hydraulic drive modules. Among the two drive units, one acts as a backup module when the other fails. A Hydraulic Power Unit(HPU) feeding four hydraulic motors is attached to each of the drive modules. So, there will be a total of 32 hydraulic motors to power the Ferris Wheel.