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VIRO is helping to build the tallest ferris wheel in South East England

Reuzenradbouw Lamberink contacted VIRO for input on the design of a new Ferris wheel in Worthing, South East England. Previously, we had done the strength calculations for the existing 33-metre tall Ferris wheel. Now, the wheel was being scaled up to a height of 46 metres. The design was developed by Kroeze Constructie; we were once again asked to do the strength calculations. Jasper Haselager, Senior Engineer in the Engineering Analysis department, and Patrick Burghout, Group Leader in the Civil Engineering department, talk us through the process.

Once Kroeze had delivered the first design, VIRO’s Engineering Analysis department created a finite-element model of 1D elements. Using this ‘wire model’, we determined the forces of each component and performed the buckling calculations. We could then produce a good estimate of the required profile sizes, enabling Kroeze to make the initial adjustments to the design.

Critical assessment of joints

Now that the rough dimensions of all the components had been determined, we could take a closer look at the joints. In 9 out of 10 designs that fail, the joints are to blame. Because of this, we subjected them to a very critical review, which involved producing accurate, detailed models of all the joints. We paid close attention to the welds, which are always a critical component, particularly in structures susceptible to fatigue.

Generally speaking, this review takes a lot of time, as it often entails numerous adjustments. This step in the design process relies on good cooperation between VIRO, Kroeze, and Lamberink, to arrive at a good solution that as well as being sufficiently strong is viable and affordable. A solution that everyone is happy with.

Full calculation reports

Once all the details had been designed, Kroeze could get started with the welding. Our Engineering Analysis department drew up the report of all the calculations. This report is a key part of the inspection process for the Ferris wheel. The results of the calculations were assessed in accordance with European and British standard EN 13814. We used the reports for the inspection by TÜV SÜD München and by the local agencies in South East England.

The report was delivered to Lamberink. They then asked us to also produce a foundation calculation and a design for the upscaled Ferris wheel. To begin with, two of the supports for the wheel were to be positioned on an existing asphalt surface. However, the local agency responsible decided to stipulate a pile foundation for these supports, too.

VIRO’s Civil Engineering department designed a structure that was approved by the local agency and the contractor. We were then able to deliver the calculation report, written in English and based on standards applied locally, and the line and reinforcement drawings of the foundation.

Vigilance during the project

Even after the documents had been delivered, VIRO continued to be involved in the project. During the implementation phase, it turned out that the contractor had not followed the instructions for the reinforcement. After doing some recalculation and adjusting the remaining reinforcement, construction work continued in accordance with the structural safety requirements.

Once the foundations had been completed, the new wheel turned for the first time in the summer of 2019 and was a great success. The wheel was dismantled in the autumn and will be rebuilt the following spring.

Would you like to be involved in VIRO's exciting and challenging projects? Then get in touch with one of our recruiters who would be happy to tell you more about the opportunities.