Proof Intamin Can Learn From Their Mistakes

Saturday, October 30, 2004 11:13 PM
After looking at the new batch of Kingda Ka construction pics, I have some renewed faith in Intamin's engineers

As seen in this pic:

The supports leading to the tower have 2 members making them capable of supporting against side to side motion versus the single member supports of TTD that are incapable of supporting against side to side motion.

While it remains to be seen if they actually solved the root cause of the sway, it's at least encouraging to know that they recognize that it exists and that it should be prevented.

Coming from somebody who was completely jaded to the industry after working on TTD its premier season, I now have a strong inkling that Kingda Ka will not see anywhere near the operational issues that TTD has and will continue to see.

There may just be a light at the end of the tunnel.

However, this does raise an interesting engineering ethics question: Is this an admition of an inadequate design for TTD; and if so, are they obligated to correct it?
*** Edited 10/31/2004 4:17:34 AM UTC by Purdue University Engineer***

Saturday, October 30, 2004 11:28 PM
What I got from your statement, and I could be wrong, is that the swaying of the track is a bad thing.

I don't see what you're pointing out in that picture thats any different from TTD, but the sway is not a dangerous thing.

The sway, if anything, makes the structure safer because it is allowed to have some 'give' to it, rather than being under constant stress and possibly cracking/breaking apart.

Saturday, October 30, 2004 11:39 PM
From those pix, it looks as if they did tear out some of the tarmac under Ka, is that true? *** Edited 10/31/2004 4:41:02 AM UTC by TeknoScorpion***
Saturday, October 30, 2004 11:44 PM
Look in the lower right hand corner of the picture. The 2 dark blue supports have an inverted-V shape (On TTD they'd be single vertical columns).

In regards to the sway, just because a structure can sway, doesn't mean that it should sway. While TTD's structure is capable of handling the sway in the short term, doesn't mean it's capable of handling it for the long term. Cyclical fatigue (bending something back and forth over and over again) will set in. Take a paper clip and bend it and then straighten it. See how many times you can do it before the paper clip breaks. Then try bending it to different extremes. Bending it less does take longer to break the paper clip, but it will eventually break.

If these inverted-V shaped supports were used on TTD, the sway would be directed into and absorbed by the ground due to the lateral component of the support. Instead, the sway on TTD has to wait for frictional damping to absorb it. That means it's swaying more cycles than it has to; and the more times it sways, the closer it gets to its fatigue limit.

Sunday, October 31, 2004 12:12 AM

Alright, I see what you mean.

I didnt notice that before, gotcha. Interesting..

Sunday, October 31, 2004 9:58 AM
this may be a better pic......

Sunday, October 31, 2004 10:15 AM
I don't see how this makes that big of a difference from making Kingda Ka more relable. Of course the ride will have many improvments, TTD has been modfied quite a bit since opening day. I don't remember the structure ever being a problem that closed down TTD. It was almost always launching issues or other technical issues. Though if you worked on the ride you may be able to tell me different.

One other point I can get at is that Kingda Ka will be more advanced since it has been 2 years since TTD opened but I'd think these rides need a ton of care. CP seems to do a ok job but they can strugle sometimes with the obsticals the ride brought them through. I'm just wondering how Six Flag's will handle it.

Sunday, October 31, 2004 11:34 AM
So we are discussing the sway of the track on the Launch and Return. At first I thought you meant the sway of the Tower.

I would not call TTD design a mistake. I would simply call these new support designs an UpGrade. Keep in mind that this coaster is taller, faster, and has another hill to overcome. A straight brake run is much easier to stabalize then one that rises a 100+ feet.

Sunday, October 31, 2004 2:15 PM
But if you look at the bunny hill in all the preview materials, it looks like it's all just one line of vertical supports...
Sunday, October 31, 2004 2:23 PM
Wow. All you college engineers are really confusing today. Makes me glad to be a Notre Dame fan. ;) *** Edited 10/31/2004 7:24:06 PM UTC by Kyle Fobe***
Sunday, October 31, 2004 2:27 PM
^^ That isn't the way they are going to end up know, things change and sometimes artists aren't kept up-to-date with such unimportant things. ;) I'd look for half the amount of single supports shown on the renders, but with extra "side supports"...kinda like vertical supports with diagonals attached.
Sunday, October 31, 2004 3:34 PM
Does TTD have some sort of sway issues? I've never heard of that. It's seems strange, considering there is no lateral force from the trains at that point.

Anyway, wouldn't the tower itself play more of a role in controlling sway that those shorter supports?

Sunday, October 31, 2004 3:50 PM
TTD sways, MF is sinking...WT will fall over into the water, what's up with that park anyway?

LOL anyway...I didn't really like physics too much, was hard in high school...but what effect do the trains/speed have on the friction, and therefore, on the stress put on the hydraulic launch? Is there anything that Intamin have done to help in that situation with Kingda Ka and Storm Runner?

Sunday, October 31, 2004 4:19 PM
Well seeing that Kingda Ka didn't open yet, and Storm Runner's speed isn't as high as TTD and KK, we cannot answer that question.

(unless of course you work with Intamin)

*** Edited 10/31/2004 9:20:01 PM UTC by razore86***

Sunday, October 31, 2004 4:37 PM
It was simply a theoretical question, my friend.
Sunday, October 31, 2004 4:45 PM
So PUE, are you saying that TTD is eventually gonna break like the paperclip in the example you used or what? (not being a smart arse, just trying to figure out what it is your getting at.)

Also, I don't think the sway problem has anything to do with TTD being more or less reliable. It was all about the launch system if I'm not mistaken right?

Sunday, October 31, 2004 6:46 PM
Well, the point of my original post was to be able to show proof that Intamin did learn something. While I know they did learn something about the hydraulic system for TTD I can't prove that issue aside from just saying it. Here I could actually show something.

As to reliability, it's all interconnected. The sway is actually caused by the launching mechanism. If you've ever been in the front seat of the second train on TTD and watched the return cable during the launch of the 1st train, you'd see the cause of the sway. As the catch car enters its brakes, the return cable buckles and goes through a sepentine motion. Now just over 300 feet of 1" steel cable has a significant mass, and traveling at 120+mph it also has significant momentum. As the return cable serpentines from side to side, it pushes the catch car from side to side. The catch car pushes against the track causing it to sway, and the track pushes on the train. A train traveling on swaying track looses energy faster than a train on non-moving track. A train that looses too much energy will rollback.

Now for the stuff that I can't prove with evidence, I can only state what I know as an independent party (i.e.: if you think I make a potentially valid point, seek the proof for yourself; otherwise ignore the rest of this post).

I have no doubt that TTD would not experience its current hydraulic issues if the current design was kept but the entire hydraulic system was ripped out and replaced with all brand new parts and fluid. If you'll recall, the park did announce that in June 2003 the hydraulic system became contaminated due to delamination of the hydraulic motors from cavitation (passing a compressible vapor through a turbine as opposed to an incompressible fluid). Now, once a hydraulic system is contaminated, it is always doesn't matter how many times you flush the system there will always be some remnent that will cause further degredation that in turn becomes an added contaminant. The redesign of TTD's hydraulic system eliminated the cavitation, but without an entirely new system, the already existing contamination will/has continue(d) to destroy the remaining hydraulic components.

But, who is responsible for paying for such a rebuild? That's a matter for litigation. Since a failure of a hydraulic component doesn't possess a significant safety hazard to guests, it has been the park's position to just replace the component that failed...why should they have to pay for an entirely new hydraulic system? They already paid $25mil.

Now, given that TTD's engine is capable of producing Kingda Ka's speed, and that TTD's engine has been redesigned to eliminate the cavitation that caused its destruction, I have no reason not to believe that Kingda Ka will use the same redesigned engine. Since Kingda Ka's components will all be brand new, Kingda Ka should not experience the same hydraulic component failures that TTD experiences from degredation by contamination.

As long as SFGAdv can maintain an uncontaminated hydraulic system, and the structural redesign does indeed reduce the sway in the pull-up to the tower, there really is no reason that Kingda Ka shouldn't have decent uptime. The only real issue that remains is the potential for cable "separations".

That's the light that I see at the end of the tunnel for SFGAdv.

Joey Stewart - Anything will break given enough time if it is not properly maintained. My intent was that it is the responsiblity of the designer to create a product that requires as little maintenance as possible. I do not mean to suggest that CP would let the structure reach that point (I can vouch for the fact that CP's #1 priority is the safety of their guests), but that doesn't mean they should have to focus as much maintenance labor to TTD as they do.

Sunday, October 31, 2004 8:49 PM
Considering guests could be killed if TTD's launch wire ever snapped or the tower ever fell down, I feel they should focus as much effort into fixing the biggest object at the park before something fatal happens.
Sunday, October 31, 2004 8:50 PM
I also wouldn't call what Intamin did a mistake. I would say that it is proof that Intamin adapts to newer technology and uses it to their advantage.
Sunday, October 31, 2004 9:29 PM
Internal or external contamination is one of , if not the biggest cause of failure in a hydraulic system. There are numurous ways that the fluid is cleansed. Besides multi-element filters that trap dirt and non ferrous particles there are magnets in the resevoirs that trap the any floating the iron and steel particles that occur during normal operation. Which brings up the other factor, fluid temp. Inadequete cooling capacity decreases the life of the fluid, and increases the wear on moving components within the system. Cooling was a problem with both Xcellarator and TTD, more with the latter I understand. I've heard conflicting stories concerning this with TTD, after this problem arose with XLR8R.

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