Bayt Abdullah Ferris Wheel Refurbishment

The Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice is situated on a 20,000m2 plot in the Sulaibikhat area of Kuwait. It provides residents with multi-professional, specialist, paediatric palliative care and support for children with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. The facility has been privately funded through donations from Kuwait. The children expressed a wish to visit Disneyland®, but as this was not possible, it was decided to bring a small part of Disneyland® to them by the creation of a spectacular playground area with a Ferris wheel as its centrepiece. The Ferris wheel has a diameter of 15 metres and incorporates eight circular capsules, each of which can accommodate five passengers plus a wheelchair user.

SCOPE OF WORKS

The Ferris wheel became damaged and unfit for use when a gondola door fell open during the maintenance of the wheel whilst the wheel was rotating. The door swung open against the external rim and jammed the gondola as the wheel continued to rotate. The resulting rotation damaged the structural suspension rods and door leaf, causing the pod to jam in a semi-inverted diagonal position between the rims, which rendered the unit unfit for use. The Ferris wheel remained in this damaged state, requiring repairs from a suitably qualified and experienced contractor.

Kacch & Bacch contacted Fairfield Engineering Solutions (FES) to arrange a visit to the site with a suitably qualified and experienced team equipped with spare parts and appropriate tools. This was to assess the repairs to the gondola, assess the structure and associated electrical and control systems, and recommission the unit as far as possible during the visit.

FES procured an extensive tool kit and spare structural components to accommodate the potential site requirements. The equipment was packaged and shipped out to Kuwait before the site visit and delivered four days before the team arrived on site. Three members of the team then carried out the following works:

  • A preliminary site visit, familiarisation and introduction.
  • The gondola was slung and raised to take the weight of the damaged door to enable it to close, then lowered in tiny incremental drops, ensuring even weight distribution between the chains to lower the gondola as level and as square as possible.
  • Realigning of the gondola.
  • The main hanger rods were replaced, and the existing threaded clevis fittings were re-used.
  • The damaged gondola door was removed from the frame, the glazing removed, and the door straightened, repainted and refitted.
  • Removal, rewinding and refitting of the gondola restraint drive motor.
  • Motors 2, 3 & 4 – brakes stripped and checked, serviced & adjusted.
  • The condition of existing tyres was checked to ensure they were all in specification.
  • Maintenance and greasing of all bearings, including the main centre shaft and gondola axle bearings.
  • Main Cooper bearings – new grease nipples fitted. Old auto greasers were replaced with new 250g SKF
    units.
  • The gondola axle pivot bearing housings’ connections to every gondola were checked to ensure structural integrity.
  • Restraint drive motor sensor positions were calibrated, and sensors were fixed in position to suit.
  • The structure was checked/serviced in accordance with OEM docs.
  • Structural integrity checks on bolted connections to main structural elements, wheel rim, and sail connections, per OEM recommendations.
  • Structural integrity checks to main frame anchor bolts.
  • The wheel was powered up and thoroughly tested for SAT, run in all operational settings, multiple stop starts, slow speed, and high speed. Resets and tests on the electrical control system were carried out.

KEY DELIVERABLES & SUCCESSES

The contract between the client and FES was agreed initially based upon a preliminary site visit, with a view to assessing the damage to the Ferris wheel, repairing the gondola and preparing a report for a second future site visit to carry out further repairs and servicing as deemed necessary after the initial visit. The outcome of the preliminary site visit and assessment resulted in the FES team concluding that all the required servicing and repairs could be carried out in the time allowed on site. This avoided a second visit, resulting in cost savings for the client and the recommissioning of the wheel in preparation for certification and use by the hospice patients.

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