Thrill-packed rides

How switchgear from Siemens ensures reliable operation of roller coasters in Europa-Park, Rust.

Europa-Park in Rust, Germany was named the best theme park in the world by US magazine “Amusement Today” in 2019 for the sixth time in a row. On a huge 950,000 square meter site, visitors can experience over 100 different attractions and shows including several roller coasters.

The features of the roller coasters that are most loved by visitors are the loops, near-vertical drops, rapid bends and modern VR technology. A feature that is easily overlooked, but is essential for the operation and safety of the attractions, is the installed automation, control and drive technology. Much of this is provided by Siemens.

 

The company has worked together for many years with automation specialist Emis Electrics GmbH, which has equipped most of the rides installed in Rust with control technology. “Emis and Siemens have a long-standing partnership,” states Peter Haurin, who works with Emis and has managed several projects. “Originally, Rust was more of an exhibition site for Mack Rides GmbH to demonstrate their attractions, but over the years it has developed into the park you see today."

One of the well-known water roller coasters at Europa-Park is the "Atlantica SuperSplash". “This roller coaster was equipped with the first fail-safe controller using the first generation of Simatic F, which replaced two controllers with reciprocal monitoring,” Haurin recalls. “At that time, the TÜV approval experts didn’t even really know what they were looking at – that’s how new and innovative the solution was.” 

At that time, the TÜV approval experts didn’t even really know what they were looking at – that’s how new and innovative the solution was.
Peter Haurin, Siemens 

Seamless automation, drive and switching technology

In addition to the fail-safe controller, which is now firmly part of the standard Siemens portfolio, Sirius protecting and switching devices as well as Siemens drives control the roller coaster movements. Motor power conveys the passenger train to the highest point of the roller coaster, from which the rapid ride begins.

 

On the Eurosat CanCan Coaster, the controller, the protective/switching technology and the motors are all provided by Siemens. 1FT servomotors in combination with Sirius switching devices and modern spring-type terminal technology alongside the 3RV29 infeed system ensure maximum enjoyment and safety.

 

The "blue fire Megacoaster" and "Arthur" roller coasters feature a very special design. The former races in spectacular manoeuvres past rugged rocky landscapes before finally spinning through the highest loop of a catapult roller coaster in Europe. The train is “shot” into the air as if from a rocket launch platform or catapult, aided by Siemens Sirius switching technology and fail-safe Simatic control technology.

 

The latter theme ride "Arthur" travels through the kingdom of the Invisibles, reflecting the film of the same name. The individual, free-hanging and separately motorized and controllable gondolas (controlled by Siemens Sinamics drives) move freely and take visitors into a virtual reality world with film scenes from Luc Besson’s successful “Arthur and the Invisibles” film trilogy. SCALANCE network components are also installed along with the drive, meaning that each individual gondola can communicate along the tracks via Industrial WLAN and access points.

Robust components withstand harsh ambient conditions 

“Our products in Rust have to meet the requirements of two very different target groups,” notes Haurin. “Emis as the system integrator and MACK Rides as the equipment manufacturer attach great importance to functionality and handling. Our extremely light components impress with their simple wiring and installation on the 3RV29 infeed system, where the modules are inserted as in a modular system. This means that installation is very quick and easy, while also extremely compact.”

 

Thanks to wiring with spring-type terminals, there are no screws or the like involved in installation. This is a significant advantage because the shocks and vibrations caused by roller coaster movements can loosen screws over time - and tightening them is a considerable maintenance job.


The use of contactors with fail-safe control means that coupling links are not required. This again simplifies the installation and further reduces the space required.

Our products in Rust have to meet the requirements of two very different target groups.
Peter Haurin, Siemens

For the park operator, the safety and availability of the attractions is the number one priority. Important factors for this are the quick and easy procurement of spare parts, the ruggedness and reliability of components, and the global service availability of Siemens experts. 

 

“Availability is particularly important because park visitors obviously have to queue for the roller coasters on busy days,” Haurin recalls from his own visits to the park. “If the roller coaster fails due to a technical fault, the passengers may have to be evacuated and waiting times then extend considerably, which of course upsets the passengers who are waiting in line.”  Passenger safety is absolutely paramount. Therefore, for example, the restraints for each seat are individually monitored by fail-safe AS-Interface components and evaluated in the fail-safe controller.

 

With their long service life, Sirius devices for protection and control also help to minimize failures. The special version of Sirius Act components with IP67 protection (protection against the ingress of dust/particles and water) and the high number of switching cycles also play a decisive role. Since the components are housed in the operator panel for the equipment operator and this panel is located outdoors for some attractions, the components must also be able to withstand harsh weather conditions without problems.

A reliable partnership for the future

In addition to fail-safe controllers and switchgear, drives and motors, the ET200SP distributed I/O system is also used for the attractions. “Our long-standing partnership with Emis shows that our technology is impressive across the board,” states Haurin. “In addition, we always enjoy working with Emis as equal partners.” Visitors to Europa-Park in Rust can look forward to many more years of exciting, cutting edge, reliable and - above all - safe attractions.

August 16, 2021

Photo credits: Europapark Rust, Siemens

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