After a year and a half’s planning and preparation, on July 1st at precisely twelve o’clock noon, the first passengers of HANSA-PARK’s latest joy ride took a deep breath as ‘The Oath of KAERNAN’ – one of the three highest roller coasters that Europe has ever seen roared into action. Dipping and swerving at hair-raising heights and speeds, little did they know that behind the scenes a Genie SX-180 and Genie S™- 85 telescopic boom lift played an important role in meeting the new family thrill ride’s highly mediatised inaugural run date deadline.
Located in Northern Germany on the Baltic coast, the famous leisure park counted 1.3 million visitors in 2014. This summer, ‘The Oath of KAERNAN’ – a new generation hyper roller coaster and HANSA-PARK’s latest signature attraction, is expected to bring this year’s most intrepid crowds the promise of more thrills and excitement than ever before. Designed and built by amusement ride manufacturers Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH, the attraction’s main tower attains 79 m (259 ft) while its lifthill culminates at the height of 73 m (239 ft 5 in). Perched on 200 steel pillars, its rails attain up to 57 m (187 ft). During its approximaty three and a half minute course over a distance of 1,235 m, including a passage in the dark, this awesome ride reaches speeds of up 127 km/h (79 mph).
With well over 1.4 million clicks on various fan websites, for HANSA-PARK’s owners and executives, there was no question of running late on its opening schedule. However, as Christoph Andreas Leicht, of HANSA-PARK explains, “In our activity safety comes first, which is why we are only confident with professionals that we can trust. This is the case for the ride’s constructors and project managers Gerstlauer, as well as for access equipment providers Rieckermann, with who we have an excellent long-standing relationship.”
To erect and bolt the entire ‘Oath of Kaernen’s’ complex steel framework and intricate tracks in time for the grand opening, in addition to extreme height and outreach, the Gerstlauer team needed to rely on access equipment capable of working productively and rapidly in confined spaces. “On this type of project, the more progress we make, the more our job becomes complex,” says Franz Maier, project manager, Gerstlauer. “The elevated nature of the construction means that we have to contend with working literally among a growing forest of pillars and overhead beams. In these conditions, to stay focused on their task, our operators require boom lifts that are both extremely stable and easy to manoeuver.”
Offering a maximum working height of 57 m(187 ft) and a maximum outreach of 24.4 m (80 ft), rental specialists Rieckermann & Sohn GmbH recommended the Genie SX-180 telescopic boom lift, that was provided by Schickling Rental GmbH via the System Lift AG access equipment cooperative. Offering the advantage of a compact footprint for a machine in this category, the SX-180 boom notably features the proven Genie XChassis™ design that provides the boom lift’s outstanding stability at extreme heights. Its standard on-board 7.5 kW generator, AC power-to-platform and welder-ready package were other benefits that made the unit particularly well suited to the job.
For duties on the lower portions of the framework, Rieckermann provided a Genie S-85 lift which combines excellent manoeuvrability and productivity, with a working height of 28 m (91ft), a horizontal outreach of 23.32 m (76 ft 6 in) and 45 percent gradeability adapted to sloping ground.
Working in conjunction with mobile cranes used to lift and position the ride’s heavy steel components, Gerstlauer’s operators demanded telescopic booms which, due to the fact that they do not feature a secondary arm, offer excellent freedom of movement. The SX-180 and S-85 boom lifts provided precisely the solution they needed. Besides being a more compact, manoeuvrable and precise alternative to truck mounted booms, “These machines are self-propelled so there is no need for a driver which, by comparison, makes them an extremely cost-efficient solution,” says Maier
Combining proportional boom controls, a platform rotation of 160° and a continuous turntable rotation of 360°, the SX-180 boom lift also includes a 3.05m (10 ft) rotating jib that offers 285.5 m³ (10,082 ft³) of working area. To further enhance precision of access at extreme heights and place workers and their gear exactly where needed, this unit also offers the benefits of 135° vertical and 60° horizontal positioning.
Like all Genie telescopic boom lifts, in addition to being cost-effective and simple to operate, the Genie SX-180 and S-85 lifts also feature a full height drive function that provides the ability to drive from one position to the next without needing to retract and redeploy the machines’ booms. “Added to their fast telescoping speeds, their full height drive saved our team a great deal of time, which made all the difference on this project. The SX-180 boom lift’s 340 kg platform capacity was also an advantage that provided sufficient space for two of our operators to work comfortably with their heavy 50 Nm wrenches, chain hoists and between 30 to 50 kg of addition material,” says Maier.
Working with the S-85 and SX-180 boom lifts for a full two and a half months, the job progressed as planned. Throughout the project’s duration, because both Genie telescopic booms share the same operating control system, Gerstlauer’s team also benefitted from the advantage of being able to switch from one machine to the next with ease.
“This kind of project is particularly challenging and, since much of the job involves working at extreme heights for weeks on end, confidence is a key factor. For our team, the S-85 and SX-180 lifts certainly proved their value in more ways than one,” says Maier. “But there’s a time for everything, so now that we’ve finished our job, when it comes to hair-raising thrills we can always take a ride on the ‘Oath of Kaernan’ – and just for the fun of it, we probably will.”