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March 28 2014

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Keeping pirate ships sailing

UK-based Amusement Technical, which specialises in the manufacture, maintenance, refurbishment and repair of all types of amusement rides, is continuing to enjoy success on a worldwide basis with its offer of retrofit control systems for older rides.

Most recently, the company has worked with parks in the US and UK, supplying its pirate ship retrofit drive system for rides in several parks which were originally manufactured in Germany and Italy, replacing aging and obsolete hydraulic and DC drive systems and giving the attractions a new lease of life.

Amusement Technical has supplied four such systems during the past 15 months, to Canobie Lake Park, Palace Playland Maine and the State Fair of Texas in the US and to M&D's - Scotland's Theme Park in the UK.

The system is suitable for rides of any size and by any manufacturer and, to date, have been installed onto rides produced by both Huss and SDC.

There are four main elements to the Amusement Technical system, including the motor drive unit, control cabinet, operator panel and top encoder and home sensor assembly.

The motor drive unit comprises an SEW Eurodrive 75kW AC geared motor mounted on a pivoting chassis.

There is a drive wheel with a pneumatic tyre on the output shaft of the gearbox which can be brought in and out of contact with the keel of the boat by inflating and deflating pneumatic bellows under the chassis.

The control cabinet is a powder-coated steel or optional stainless steel enclosure which houses all of the control equipment for the ride.

The operator panel is mounted in a powder coated, mild steel enclosure with stainless steel front panel. An LCD display provides real time information about the operating conditions of the ride as well as maintenance features, which enable detailed system statuses to be displayed.

The top encoder assembly is mounted on a stainless steel chassis and houses the components to allow the ride controller to know the axle position.

The system incorporates a plug in maintenance panel which connects to the side of the main control panel. The maintenance panel allows all of the outputs of the system to be operated manually, for use during set up and maintenance operations.

The retrofit control systems have been welcomed by those parks who have installed them, with, for example, Brooke Farr at Canobie Lake Park in the US commenting: "We were impressed with how quickly the new system was installed and it has effectively given us a new ride at a fraction of the cost."

At Palace Playland, also in the US, Joel Golder noted: "The new drive system for our Pirate Ship was installed in less than a week and has been both reliable and efficient ever since," while Matty Taylor at M&D's - Scotland's Theme Park in Scotland said: "The system does exactly what it says on the box. We have not lost a day's operation in the two years since it was installed."

"We are enjoying considerable success with our retrofit control systems for Pirate Ship attractions," said Amusement Technical director Sean Brian. "The Huss Pirate Ship is something of a big park mainstay and the fact that we have sold four of these systems already is testimony to the importance of such rides to their owners.

"The existing drives on these rides are hydraulic, which today is inefficient, and use obsolete components, while the frequent loss of oil has an environmental impact which many parks have been penalised for by the appropriate agencies," he added.

"What we are offering gives such rides further longevity and much greater efficiency so is hugely beneficial."