Cedar Point’s Millennium Force was a record-breaking achievement when it opened in 2000, carrying riders up a 310-ft hill, then dropping them at speeds of 93 mph at an 80° drop. The “giga coaster” became in instant hit with fans and still is, but embarking on this ambitious adventure required some creative engineering.
In our fourth installment of Design World’s Summer Tech Vacation video series, I spoke with Monty Jasper, Corporate Vice President for Safety & Engineering for Cedar Fair about the engineering behind the Millennium Force. Cedar Point and ride manufacturer Intamin were concerned about the weight of the chain required to carry the cars up such a steep hill.
If the ride had the standard 30° lift angle, the ride would have required a huge amount of chain and would have needed to be extended out over other rides at the park. When Intamin suggested changing to a 45° angle, it shortened the footprint that the ride needed — but also required changing from chains to the cable system.
The cable lift made the ride smoother and quicker and allowed Millennium Force to get to 310 ft quicker—from a standard 7 ft/sec to 22 ft/sec, Jasper said.
“It almost tripled the speed to get to the top of the lift,” he added. “Instead of taking a minute or more to make that ride all the way to the top, you were there in 20 to 25 sec.”
In addition to being more costly than chain lifts, the cable lift was a big departure for Cedar Point, which had never used a cable lift system before. “At the time it really was a gamble, it really hadn’t been tried so it was a big risk for the company,” Jasper said.
But because elevator technology has been around a long time and it has been proven, the gamble paid off. “You just have continuous loops and counterweights and tension on the cable,” Jasper said. “It worked out beautifully for us and it gave us some really unique features to the ride because it seems like you dispatch out of Millennium and you go up a really steep angle and you’re there before you even can catch your breath.”
Watch our on-site interview to learn more about this technology. And tune in for all five videos in the Summer Tech Vacation series, with looks at the:
Variable speed drives on the Gatekeeper
Linear induction motors on Wicked Twister
Pneumatics on Power Tower … and hydraulics on Top Thrill Dragster.
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