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When you visit an amusement park you probably aren’t giving much thought to hydraulic cylinders. While you focus on having fun, hydraulic cylinders are hard at work, controlling the rides, providing movement for simulators and animation, and helping to keep your family safe.
Did you know around 80% of amusement devices use hydraulics and pneumatics? If something is physically moving at an amusement park, it’s probably using these systems. Most amusement rides will have you experience dangerous situations, without compromising your safety.
When it comes to safety, the most preferred power source is hydraulics. This is because hydraulic cylinders can handle the rapid, repeated, fluid motion of an amusement park ride with ease, providing a safe, and enjoyable ride.
Some common rides in the entertainment industry that use hydraulics are the ferris wheel, roller coasters, flight simulators, drop tower, and “round up” rides.
Hydraulic cylinders are at work with such things as switching track paths, braking cars to safe speeds, and aligning passenger cars to a more favourable position for the rider’s enjoyment. In other rides, they are used to lift mechanisms that turn or rotate the ride for an added thrill. Hydraulic cylinders not only exert the required high levels of force, they do so in a very precise, and controlled way.
Hydraulics on a Round Up amusement ride:
When considering hydraulics in a “round up” amusement ride, the hydraulic motor enables the horizontal platform to rotate and the hydraulic arm will raise the platform vertically up to a 90-degree angle. When the platform spins vertically for a predetermined cycle, the hydraulic fluid will be released from the arm with an automatic timer and the platform will return to the horizontal position. The exit of the platform is even aligned correctly with the exit gate by manually controlling the spin when it slows down.
The famous safety bar:
You’re also probably familiar with the metal safety bar that lowers and locks into place when you take your seat on some rides, especially roller coasters. This relatively small part plays a big role in keeping you safe, and in many cases it is hydraulics that makes this possible. Hydraulic power is used to raise and lower the safety bar, while the strength of the hydraulic cylinders keeps it in place as you speed through your ride, despite the forces being exerted on the rider and the ride itself.
So next time you enjoy an amusement ride, take a moment to consider the massive amount of power behind making these rides work. Hydraulic cylinders make it possible for those rides to use power in precise and controlled ways, for the benefit of every enthusiast!
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