Elevating roller coaster efficiency through power quality improvements

Segment background

Amusement parks bring joy and excitement to millions of visitors worldwide, offering thrilling rides like roller coasters, that create unforgettable experiences. However, the electrifying thrills of roller coasters come with a less visible, yet significant, impact on the power quality of the park’s electrical grid.

One of the primary power quality problems associated with roller coasters is low power factor. When the power factor is low, it indicates that the load is drawing more reactive power from the grid relative to the active power required for useful work. Roller coasters, being inductive loads, consume a considerable amount of reactive power during a ride, due to the motors that are used to drive and control the movement of the train.

Launch roller coasters at amusement parks rely heavily on large amounts of linear induction motors. Combined with state-of-the-art drive technologies, they are used to launch the train to high speeds. Fast accelerations and decelerations of launch coasters lead to high reactive power spikes and voltage fluctuations.

Challenges at the customer’s amusement park

Our customer in Sweden operates an amusement park with over a dozen thrilling rides. The park’s latest attraction is a launch roller coaster with a top speed of 75 km/h, subjecting riders to exhilarating forces of up to 2.8 G. During the ride, the train of the roller coaster will accelerate twice from 0 km/h to full speed in just 3 seconds. Accelerating the train so fast with a full load consumes a lot of power in a short time, which means that the electrical system of the roller coaster must meet very strict requirements in terms of power quality, to ensure that other rides in the park are not affected by it.

Merus Power was contacted by the manufacturer of the roller coaster after they had experienced voltage fluctuations and reactive power spikes while conducting tests for the new ride. It was crucial to find a reliable solution that can be delivered and commissioned with a fast schedule, so the park can prepare for the opening of its new ride on time for the summer.

Our Merus® Solution

In close collaboration with the roller coaster manufacturer, engineers of Merus Power determined that Merus® A2-Active Harmonic Filter is the right solution to keep the electrical system stable during the roller coaster operation. Merus Power delivered a Merus® A2-1800A to the site, comprising nine modules, each providing 200A of the compensation capacity to the system. All of the filters communicate with each other and are equipped with their own controllers, ensuring the reliability and redundancy of the whole active harmonic filtering system.

Application

Amusement park

Location

Sweden

Power quality issue

  • Low power factor
  • Voltage fluctuations

Merus® Solution

Customer Benefits

  • Safe and reliable operation of the amusement park
  • Stabilized voltage
  • Improved power factor
  • Increased speed of the roller coaster
  • Longer lifetime of equipment
  • Guaranteed compliance with strict grid codes

Results after installation

After the successful installation and commissioning of the Merus® A2-Active Harmonic Filters, significant improvements were observed in the voltage behavior and power factor of the roller coaster’s electrical system.

Measurements conducted by Merus Power’s commissioning engineers showed that the voltage drop at full load was reduced from 10.5 % to 3.9 %, while the maximum reactive power drawn from the grid was reduced by 85 %. Power factor of 1.0 was observed when the roller coaster was operational, which also indicates that Merus® A2 successfully compensate for the fast-fluctuating reactive power. By stabilizing the voltage fluctuations and improving the power factor, Merus® A2 enable an increase of 14.8 % in maximum active power drawn from the grid. This resulted in a 0.5 m/s increase in the speed of the roller coaster, offering the customers even more thrilling experiences.

Merus® A2 filter modules, known for their high reliability and efficiency, delivered excellent performance with low losses. The installation of Merus® A2 Active Harmonic Filter resulted in the smooth operation of the customer’s amusement park. Strict deadlines for this project were met with ease, and the construction and testing of the roller coaster were completed by the time the park opened.


Do you have any questions?

Please contact one of our salespeople with questions and inquiries.

Riku Kalliomaa

Head of Sales,
Regions & Channels

+358 50 3323 020 riku.kalliomaa@meruspower.com

Jaakko Poutamo

Sales Manager,
Central & Southern Europe

+358 50 918 0012 jaakko.poutamo@meruspower.com

Mikko Zavertkin

Sales Manager,
Key Accounts & OEMs

+358 40 5908 858 mikko.zavertkin@meruspower.com

Viktoria Mansikkala

Sales Manager,
Baltics & Eastern and Southern Europe

+358 44 9 735 737 viktoria.mansikkala@meruspower.com

Juhani Jaatinen

Senior Sales Manager,
DACH, Benelux, France

+49 160 762 4909 (DE) juhani.jaatinen@meruspower.com

Pedro Esteban

Director,
Asia-Pacific

+65 9155 4225 pedro.esteban@meruspower.com

Venkatesh Ramachandra

Regional Sales Manager,
Middle East

+971 50 55 38 465 venkatesh.ramachandra@meruspower.com
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