Title:
FAIRGROUND RIDE, SAFETY SYSTEM, METHOD FOR OPERATING A FAIRGROUND RIDE, AND METHOD FOR RECOVERING A CAR IN A FAIRGROUND RIDE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An illustrated track section 2 of an inventive fairground ride 1 has a primary transport system 4 (lift) with a first conveyor chain 5, first chain wheels 6, and a first drive 7 for driving the first conveyor chain 5. The car 3 is transported by means of a first dog 8, which engages with the conveyor chain 5. In addition to the primary transport system 4, the fairground ride 1 has a secondary transport system 9. The secondary transport system 9 is arranged parallel to the primary transport system 4 and has redundant elements, namely a second conveyor chain 10, second chain wheels 11, a second drive 12, and a dog 13 attached to the second car. Should the first transport system 4 fail, the second dog 13 can take on the full load of the car 3 and transport the car 3 further.



Inventors:
Muller, Alfred (Groebenzell, DE)
Application Number:
12/209183
Publication Date:
03/12/2009
Filing Date:
09/11/2008
Assignee:
MAURER SOEHNE GMBH & CO. KG (Munich, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63G7/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KUHFUSS, ZACHARY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAI PATENT & TRADEMARK LAW FIRM (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A fairground ride comprising a track, at least one car that can be moved along the track, and at least one first transport system for moving the car along the track, wherein the first transport system has at least one first drive, wherein the fairground ride has at least a second transport system for onward transport and/or for braking of the car should the first transport system malfunction.

2. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 1, wherein the second transport system has at least one second drive.

3. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 1, wherein the first transport system and/or the second transport system has at least one anti-rollback device to prevent a backward movement in the event of malfunction by the first transport system.

4. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 2, wherein the first transport system and/or the second transport system has at least one anti-rollback device to prevent a backward movement in the event of malfunction by the first transport system.

5. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 1, wherein the first transport system has at least one first conveyor element which can be moved by the first drive for the purpose of transferring the driving force of the first drive to the car.

6. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 2, wherein the first transport system has at least one first conveyor element which can be moved by the first drive for the purpose of transferring the driving force of the first drive to the car.

7. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 5, wherein the fairground ride has at least a first coupling element for coupling and/or uncoupling the car to/from the first conveyor system.

8. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 6, wherein the fairground ride has at least a first coupling element for coupling and/or uncoupling the car to/from the first conveyor system.

9. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 1, wherein the second transport system has at least one second conveyor element for the purpose of transferring the driving force of the second drive to the car.

10. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 2, wherein the second transport system has at least one second conveyor element for the purpose of transferring the driving force of the second drive to the car.

11. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 9, wherein the fairground ride has at least one second coupling element for coupling and/or uncoupling the car to/from the second conveyor system.

12. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 10, wherein the fairground ride has at least one second coupling element for coupling and/or uncoupling the car to/from the second conveyor system.

13. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 1, wherein the fairground ride has a hydraulic motor with at least one non-return valve for preventing backward movement of the first conveyor element and/or of the second conveyor element.

14. The fairground ride in accordance with claim 2, wherein the fairground ride has a hydraulic motor with at least one non-return valve for preventing backward movement of the first conveyor element and/or of the second conveyor element.

15. A safety system for a rail-mounted car in a fairground ride, wherein the safety system has a redundant transport system, which, in addition to a first transport system for moving the rail-mounted car, is arranged parallel to this.

16. The safety system in accordance with claim 15, wherein the first transport system has at least one first drive, and the second transport system has a second drive.

17. The safety system in accordance with claim 15, wherein the first transport system has a first conveyor element, and the redundant transport system has a second conveyor element.

18. The safety system in accordance with claim 16, wherein the first transport system has a first conveyor element, and the redundant transport system has a second conveyor element.

19. The safety system in accordance with claim 15, wherein the first transport system has at least one first coupling element, and the redundant transport system has at least one second coupling element.

20. The safety system in accordance with claim 16, wherein the first transport system has at least one first coupling element, and the redundant transport system has at least one second coupling element.

21. A method for operating a fairground ride, especially a fairground ride according to claim 1, wherein a car is moved along a travel path by means of a first transport system, wherein the car is coupled to a first conveyor element which is moved at a first speed, wherein a second conveyor element of a second transport system is, in regular operation, additionally moved in parallel to the first conveyor element at a second speed.

22. A method for operating a fairground ride, especially a fairground ride according to claim 2, wherein a car is moved along a travel path by means of a first transport system, wherein the car is coupled to a first conveyor element which is moved at a first speed, wherein a second conveyor element of a second transport system is, in regular operation, additionally moved in parallel to the first conveyor element at a second speed.

23. The method in accordance with claim 21, wherein the car is engaged with the second conveyor element in regular operation.

24. The method in accordance with claim 22, wherein the car is engaged with the second conveyor element in regular operation.

25. The method in accordance with claim 21, wherein the second speed is at least as high as the first speed.

26. The method in accordance with claim 22, wherein the second speed is at least as high as the first speed.

27. A method for recovering a car in a fairground ride, especially a fairground ride in accordance with claim 1, comprising the following steps: a) Provision of a primary transport system; b) Provision of a secondary transport system, wherein the secondary transport system is especially capable of being driven independently of a first transport system; c) Connection of the car to the secondary transport system should the first transport system fail; d) Detachment of the car from the primary transport system; and e) Onward transport of the car by the secondary transport system.

28. A method for recovering a car in a fairground ride, especially a fairground ride in accordance with claim 2, comprising the following steps: a) Provision of a primary transport system; b) Provision of a secondary transport system, wherein the secondary transport system is especially capable of being driven independently of a first transport system; c) Connection of the car to the secondary transport system should the first transport system fail; d) Detachment of the car from the primary transport system; and e) Onward transport of the car by the secondary transport system.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a fairground ride, comprising a track, at least one car capable of moving along the track, at least one first transport system for moving the car along the track, wherein the first transport system has at least a first drive. Furthermore, the invention also relates to a safety system for a rail-mounted car in a fairground ride. In addition, the invention relates to a method for operating a fairground ride, particularly as described, wherein the car, coupled to a conveyor element moved at a first speed, is moved by means of a first conveyor system along a travel path, and a method for effecting recovery in a fairground ride.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Roller coasters are hugely popular with a broad section of the general public. The experience of riding in a roller coaster imparts not only the joy of speed and height but also a certain thrill and a mixture of sensations.

To strengthen the positive image that roller coasters enjoy in public, it is important for manufacturers and operators of roller coasters alike to offer the highest safety standards. Attention must be paid in particular to ensuring that an unscheduled car stop, even at a spectacular point on the travel path, has no negative consequences for passengers. Moreover, such a failure must lend itself to simple and efficient resolution.

Despite the most modern fault-tolerant control systems and best-practice maintenance, the causes of technical failure can never be totally ruled out. In extreme cases, the passengers may even have to be evacuated or rescued from the car in the event of a malfunction. This is always the case if there is even the slightest doubt that not all the safety features needed for safe onward movement of the cars are definitely available.

The main risk of a lift hill is that the car to be transported upwards will roll back out of control and the passengers experience impermissible acceleration forces. Furthermore, there can be a risk of a high-speed collision with a following car. This risk is usually prevented by means of a so-called anti-rollback device, which works independently of the actual transport device. This device allows the car to move forward and—usually by means of a kind of ratchet mechanism—prevents the car from rolling backwards in the event of a failure. This means that in the event of a failure, such as a power failure, the car can be moved neither forwards nor backwards. The passengers must then be evacuated from the car. The steeper the lift hill, the more difficult, more awkward and dangerous it becomes to evacuate people from a car.

In the case of vertical lift hills, particularly those which turn into overhead positions, prolonged periods of time in an overhead position can be harmful to health. This rules out the use of all previously known approaches. In particular, the use of a conventional anti-rollback device is very problematic, because it prevents the car from being returned to the start of the lift hill.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Object of the Invention

The object of the present invention is to provide a fairground ride, a safety system for a fairground ride and methods for operating a fairground ride and for recovering a car, with the aid of which a car can be recovered safely and simply in the event of a malfunction.

Technical Solution

This object is achieved with a fairground ride according to claim 1, a safety system for a rail-mounted car in a fairground ride according to claim 8, a method for operating a fairground ride according to claim 12 and a method for recovering a car in a fairground ride according to claim 15. Characteristics of advantageous embodiments of the invention arise from the dependent claims.

A Fairground ride according to the invention comprises a track, at least one car that can be moved along the track, and at least one first transport system for moving the car along the track, wherein the first transport system has at least one first drive. In addition, the fairground ride has at least one second transport system for onward transport and/or braking the car should the first transport system malfunction.

The track is usually determined by a guide or rail system, on which at least one rail-mounted car can be moved along the rail. The track typically features ascents and descents, wherein in regular operation the car masters an ascent by means of the first transport system (lift, lift hill).

The basic idea of the invention is to provide, besides the regular transport system, a further, redundant transport system, with each transport system capable on its own of moving or braking/catching the car. In this way, safety need not be compromised. Apart from the fact that nobody needs proceed to the scene to interfere with the car or the transport system, the redundant transport system can ensure that the failure of the primary transport system goes virtually unnoticed by the passengers because the secondary transport system can provide onward transport of the car without disruption. Nor is there any need for additional devices to be conveyed to or docked onto the point at which the car is located at the time of the malfunction. The installed outlay of redundant parts provides especially for the safety of the entire system. The redundant transport system can be viewed as a recovery system, as it facilitates onward transport of a car if the primary drive or conveying system has failed. If the car has a chain-hook (or other corresponding means of docking to the transport chain or other transport means) which releases itself from the chain, the car can be transported with the safety chain (or other transport means) both forwards and backwards if the transport chain is blocked. Here, a system of chain and chain hook is taken to be representative of other transport and docking means, such as cables with cable clamps, pusher car, recovery vehicles etc.

The transport systems may be of a similar or different nature. For instance, two chain drives with a link chain, a chain drive and a cable or a drag car driven by round steel chains etc. may be used. Counting as a transport system are, for instance, the drive, power transmission means, for example, the transport chain, coupling means (for example, dogs, chain hooks), chain wheels, brakes, etc. The systems are redundant in all components, but can be of different design or of different technology. Thus, the chains and the chain wheels only might be of the same type, but have different tasks. Both transport systems can perform all the requisite transport functions (including transport in different directions) and stop the car or act as an anti-rollback device.

The redundant transport system can also be designed totally differently, however, such that it does not work “parallel” to the first transport system, but, for example, at a time lag. Thus, it is conceivable to provide a first conventional transport system with conventional anti-rollback dog. The second transport system can be a “rescue carriage”, which, in the event of a malfunction, couples to the anti-rollback dog or the car and then transports the car further. The rescue carriage can, for example, be a dog which is moved on its own track and is driven by means of a cable, a chain, etc.

Alternatively, the second transport system may comprise a rescue carriage, with the second transport system formed such that, in the event of a failure, the rescue carriage is moved towards the blocked car. Due to the docking of the rescue carriage to the car, the latter can be disengaged from the anti-rollback dog or a conventional anti-rollback device. This happens, for example, by spring-loaded pushing of the rescue carriage onto rods and/or a Bowden cable. Once the rescue carriage has slightly raised the car such that the anti-rollback dog(s) is/are released, these become and remain disengaged due to the spring preloading. Downward transport of the car is thereby possible.

With the aid of this system, the car can be transported automatically both forwards and backwards. The system can have its own guides, its own drive and its own conveying means and be provided both with mains electricity and with an emergency power supply via its own control unit which is independent of the system control unit. Preferably, a special chain hook is provided for the functioning of such a system, said hook releasing automatically when the chain is released. Otherwise, backwards transport would not be possible if the chain was blocked. Alternatively, of course, just as described for the anti-rollback device, the chain hook may be disengaged by means of a comparable mechanism through the docking rescue carriage or a docking dog. This solution includes as a rule the provision of a classic anti-rollback device with ratchet. The catch(es) and if necessary the chain hook(s), however, are disengaged from the ratchet fully automatically by means of the rescue carriage.

A fall on the part of the car can be intercepted much more gently with a second transport device than with the rigid rack, since the shock which occurs is not determined by the height of fall resulting from the tooth pitch, but by the braking force at the second transport device, for example, the safety chain. Since the car is then caught in the safety chain, it can immediately be transported onwards by the latter without additional measures being needed. Especially, the second transport system has at least one second drive. The primary and the secondary drive can be the same or different.

Thus, the two transport systems can definitely be of the same design and still have very different properties regarding load and thus wear, durability and safety, for example, on account of the fact that in normal operation, the first transport system bears approximately 90% of the load while the second transport system accounts only for the remaining 10%. This can be ensured inter alia through the drive concept of the secondary transport system, as described in more detail below.

The first drive can be a conventional drive unit, for example, a mechanical drive unit with a three-phase motor and frequency converter, a transmission and external brakes. The second drive can be a hydraulic motor of high torque, without a transmission, but with a brake. This second drive can be operated in a first operating mode for normal operations and in a second operating mode for recovery.

In the first operating mode, the hydraulic motor works at low pressure and high speed, such that, for example, the second conveyor chain is moved slightly faster than the first conveyor chain. Due to the slightly higher speed, the second conveyor chain always docks onto the second dog of the car. As a result, once docking onto the second dog occurs, synchronization is achieved between the two drives, and the second chain, by virtue of the limited torque of the second drive, only takes on a small proportion of the total load to be transported (for example, 10% at most). The corresponding dog of the second transport system is always in contact with a chain link until the car leaves the chain.

In regular operation, therefore, the conveyor elements of both transport systems remain in contact with the car. No additional forces occur that would act as a burden on the conveyor elements. Insofar as, for example, the dog of the first transport system fails, the control unit can stop the lift to allow the staff to decide on what to do next. In contrast to a conventional anti-rollback device, however, the car does not roll back to the next tooth of the ratchet bar of an anti-rollback device and generate very high forces due to the energy to be absorbed and the resulting shock. Since the second dog is already transferring force between chain and car, it is ensured that it is already making contact and the car is gently brought to a standstill by the second transport system, as a result of which no particularly heavy load is generated. Both conveyor elements can take on both functions, namely that of transport and anti-rollback device. After one system fails, the second transport system bears and transports the entire load. When the car is being transported by only one transport system, the other transport system takes on a safety function, for example, the function of anti-rollback device. Thus, in regular operation, the second transport system acts as an anti-rollback device which travels along with the first conveyor element.

In a preferred embodiment, the first transport system and/or the second transport system has at least one anti-rollback device to prevent a backward movement in the event of malfunction by the first transport system. The second transport system can act as an anti-rollback device, should, for example, a chain or the dog of the first transport system break, since the dog of the second transport system is always in mesh with the conveyor element of the second transport system anyway. Similarly, the first transport system can act as an anti-rollback device should the second transport system fail.

The fairground ride is therefore equipped with a recovery system and additionally with an anti-rollback device. In this regard, the anti-rollback device system need not consist of the conventional elements mounted permanently on the track, such as rack and catch or clamping or friction elements. The second transport system for recovery can be used without additional outlay for the anti-rollback device, because it is inherently capable at any point of transporting, braking or holding the car in position. The second transport system, insofar as it acts as anti-rollback device, greatly cushions any shock which occurs or completely avoids it. In other anti-rollback device systems, in which high systemic shock forces occur, technical measures are taken to limit the forces engendered (for example, a ratchet bar, which, when the force acts can push against the structure or is supported on an element which can absorb energy). In contrast to such devices in which energy absorption is possible only once, the secondary transport system can serve as anti-rollback device as often as required without further maintenance. This means that the anti-rollback device is very gentle on the passengers, car and all elements of the transport and anti-rollback device facility and that onward transport of the car is possible without compromise to the safety of the anti-rollback device.

Preferably, the system has independent brakes for the first or the second transport system for immobilizing the chain, and/or independent control units for the drives, which can be operated both from the mains supply and/or from an emergency power supply. When a chain becomes a safety chain and the brakes use this chain can depend on a number of criteria. These criteria can pertain to electrical (signal) or mechanical parameters (for example, releasing an overload clutch).

Especially, the first transport system has at least one first conveyor element which can be moved by the first drive for the purpose of transferring the driving force of the first drive to the car.

Preferably, the fairground ride has at least a first coupling element for coupling and/or uncoupling the car to/from the first conveyor system.

In a preferred embodiment, the second transport system has at least one second conveyor element for the purpose of transferring the driving force of the second drive to the car. The first and/or the second conveyor element can be, for example, a conveyor chain. The second conveyor element can be provided instead of or in addition to a ratchet bar or other anti-rollback device element and/or other recovery system.

In a further preferred embodiment, the fairground ride has at least one second coupling element for coupling and/or uncoupling the car to or from the second transport system. Typical coupling elements are positive-locking or frictional dogs, chain hooks, which, for example, engage with one of the conveyor chains. For each transport system, the car can have at least one, two, or more coupling elements.

An inventive safety system for a rail-mounted car in a fairground ride has a redundant transport system, which, in addition to a first transport system for moving the rail-mounted car, is arranged parallel to the latter. A parallel arrangement in this context means that both transport systems are capable, at least in a certain section of the track, of moving the car independently of each other. The redundant system can therefore transport a car from the section of the track onward. The transport systems can, such as in the case of two parallel chain conveyors, be simultaneously in operation, even if one of the systems is not carrying a load. However, it moves with the first system and so is always ready to provide transport immediately after a failure.

Preferably, the first transport system has at least one first drive, and the second transport system has at least one second drive.

Especially, the first transport system has a first conveyor element, and the second (redundant) transport system, a second conveyor element.

Preferably, the first transport system has at least one first coupling element, and the redundant second transport system, at least one second coupling element. The coupling elements can be arranged on the car or on the travel path. In the case of the claimed safety system, for example, a first coupling element of the regular transport system is provided which disengages from the chain by itself. As a result, if the first transport system is completely blocked, the car can be transported downwards by the second transport system. During a regular transport operation by the first transport system, at least one coupling element each should always be in engagement with a respective conveyor element, with, at the beginning or end of the transport, a phase capable of being provided in which the coupling elements are made to engage or disengage with the respective conveyor element. In addition, the coupling element should be capable of overtaking the corresponding conveyor element. This is an advantage when a conveyor element may be blocked, but is still intended to act as anti-rollback device. During onward transport with the other transport system, in this case the overtaking function must be guaranteed. Moreover, in this use, it must be ensured that the coupling element can reengage if necessary.

In principle, the second transport system can also be formed such, that, while it has its own conveyor components, such as its own conveyor element, coupling element, its own brake, etc., but not its own drive. The second conveyor element can be coupled to a common drive. In the case of a malfunction either the common drive can take on the job of transporting. However, it may also be that the second transport system has one brake only (its own), for example, an electronically controlled brake, and acts as anti-rollback device in that, in the event of a malfunction, the car is gently braked over a certain stretch by the second transport system.

The second transport system may also be designed as an accompanying rescue carriage, which, as needed, couples to the conventional anti-rollback device (for example, a ratchet bar) travelling with the car. Co-travel can be effected with a slide or a car (catch-car), a cable with dogs, a travelling chain, etc. Once the main transport system (the actual drive or lift) is inoperative, the accompanying anti-rollback device can act as a transport device and the main transport system can take on the anti-rollback device function.

In an inventive method for operating a fairground ride, particularly as described above, a car is moved by means of a first transport system along a travel path at a first speed, with the car being coupled to a conveyor element moved at a first speed. A second conveyor element of a second transport system is additionally moved in parallel to the first conveyor element at a second speed.

In a preferred embodiment, the car in regular operation is in engagement with the second conveyor element once this, by virtue of its second speed, has closed any gap between conveyor element and coupling element. After engagement of the second coupling element has occurred, however, the latter bears little or no load, since the second transport system acts on the car at the first speed, but with a lower load. Alternatively, the car in regular operation can be uncoupled from the second conveyor element, with the car coupling to the second conveyor element to take on the function of anti-rollback device or secondary transport system for onward transport.

In a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the second speed is at least as high as the first speed. This applies until a gap between the second conveyor element and the second coupling element has been closed after the start of the transport process. Then, the second speed is the same as the first speed.

Basically, the second conveyor element can stand still or move at the same or higher set speed than the first conveyor element. At low speeds, however, a clicking noise is caused by the impact of the second coupling element on the second conveyor element, as soon as the car moves and thereby overtakes the second conveyor element. This could be counteracted with known methods. Preferably, however, the safety chain moves at the same speed as the transport chain, with a relative motion being avoided between the coupling element and the safety chain. Preferably, the safety chain has an even higher set speed than the first conveyor chain until the coupling element of the (redundant) safety chain is also in contact with the car. From that moment on, it moves at the same speed. In other words, the second speed has an equal or slightly higher set value than the first speed. Through slippage or regulation, however, synchronization is enforced after the coupling element makes contact with the conveyor element.

In this inventive solution, the safety chain also acts as an accompanying anti-rollback device. The safety chain (second conveyor element) is practically redundant to the transport chain, i.e. the safety chain can be operated independently of the primary transport chain. If the first coupling element is a self-engaging or docking element, the primary transport chain takes on the function of anti-rollback device in the case of transport with the safety chain. In this case, the first coupling element overtakes the first chain. It may, for example, be gently coupled to the primary transport system and travel with it at the same speed under no load, such that, in regular normal operation, no or little force acts on it and it is therefore not subject to wear. Synchronization to the same/higher speed can be effected both electrically and mechanically (for example, a switchable or sliding clutch or an overload clutch or other). A hydraulic motor with limited load moment takes on this function automatically.

Preferably, for every chain, the car has two or more dogs in order additionally to obtain redundance should a dog for onward transport fail. Furthermore, as a result, the backlash (height difference between positions at which the car can couple to the chain) and thus the strain on the components can be reduced. For example, the backlash is dependent on the chain pitch in the case of a chain and on the tooth pitch in the case of a ratchet bar. In order to reduce the backlash, it is necessary for the dog not to be spaced exactly at multiples of the chain pitch, but rather to be offset, for example, by a ½ chain pitch. Thus, usually not all dogs are engaged with their respective transport element, but rather only one dog with each transport element. The secondary transport element in normal operation bears little or no load in order that it may be able to absorb the load “unworn” in the event of a malfunction. In the event of a malfunction, for example, a failure of a dog, a chain system, a drive, a coupling, a controller, etc., the dog is already engaged with the redundant chain and assumes the entire load.

The assumption of a small load by the secondary transport system in normal operation may be implemented mechanically or by regulation. A particularly preferred solution, however, provides for the drive for the first and especially the second conveyor element to be a hydraulic drive, which is limited in torque, but which, as long as the dog does not transfer load, runs slightly faster than the primary conveyor element. Once the dog (chain hook) transfers load to the second conveyor element, the hydraulic drive acts like a sliding clutch.

Where a hydraulic motor, a valve, especially a non-return valve, can be employed on the pressure side of the motor. This allows very simple, highly responsive prevention of rollback without actuation of a brake. If this non-return valve is pilot operated and if a throttle or baffle is provided in the fluid line, controlled downward travel can be achieved with simple means because the throttle or baffle limits the maximum speed downward.

In one embodiment of the invention, the car has a rigid dog which transfers the forces in both directions to a non-driven conveying means. If the car is dragged upwards by the main drive system, the passive second conveyor element is thus also moved. If the main drive fails in the event of a malfunction, the passive second conveying means can act as anti-rollback device if, for example, it prevents a backward movement by means of a freewheel or an hydraulic motor with non-return valve (NRV) at one of the idler wheels. In the case of the hydraulic motor with NRV (which really only serves as a pump), once the has been uncoupled, for example by means of a switchable coupling.

Preferably the drive for the secondary transport system is a low-power type which can be operated in at least two operating modes. In a first operating mode, the drive acts at high speed and low moment, and in a second operating mode at low speed and high moment. The first mode is preferred for regular operation while the second mode is used in the event of failure, i.e. failure of the primary transport system.

In the context of the invention, it is possible for the two transport systems to be operated by a common control unit. One of the two transport systems, however, can also have a control unit that is independent of the system control unit (“auxiliary control”).

In a preferred embodiment, it is possible to switch from the “main control” to the “auxiliary or emergency control”.

It is possible for both transport systems to be operated with a common power supply, or for both transport systems to be operated with independent power supplies. Preferably, it is possible to switch between these power supplies.

An inventive method for recovering a car in a fairground ride comprises one or more of the following steps: a) provision of a primary transport system; b) provision of a secondary transport system, with the secondary transport system especially capable of being driven independently of the first transport system; c) connection of the car to the secondary transport system should the first transport system fail; and d) onward transport of the car by the secondary transport system.

Connection in step c) does not necessarily mean that the dog engages with the safety chain only at the moment of malfunction. Rather, the safety chain can run load-free at roughly the same speed in normal operation. The connection in step c) corresponds to take-over of the load by the second transport system.

By way of further step between steps c) and d), the car can be disconnected from the primary transport system.

In the event that the second transport system comprises an embodiment with a rescue carriage, the method can comprise one or more of the following steps: a) Hooking of a blocking element, for example, into a ratchet, in the event of a failure; b) docking of a rescue carriage to the car; c) disengagement of the blocking element to release the car, with unhooking being effected directly or indirectly by docking or during docking; and d) onward transport of the car by the rescue carriage.

In the context of the invention, protection is sought for all of the above characteristics individually and in all possible combinations. Characteristics and advantages, which were described in connection with a device, are also to be analogously viewed as characteristics associated with the method (and vice versa).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention result from the following description of preferred embodiments using the figures. They show in

FIG. 1 a section of an inventive fairground ride;

FIG. 2 a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention, and

FIG. 3 a sub-section of an embodiment of an inventive transport system.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a section of an inventive fairground ride 1. The track section 2 shown has a travel path, such as a rail system with an ascent 2a, a peak 2b and a descent 2c. A rail-mounted car 3 is shown in the ascent 2a and in the descent section 2c.

In the ascent 2a, the car 3 is transported via a primary transport system 4 (lift) in the conventional way over the peak 2b of the travel path 2. The primary transport system 4 has a first conveyor chain 5, first chain wheels 6, and a first drive 7 for driving the first conveyor chain 5. The car is transported by means of a first dog 8, which engages with the conveyor chain 5.

In the ascent 2a, the car 3 is connected to the first transport system 4 by engagement of a first dog 8 with the first conveyor chain 5 and is transported over the peak 2b. In the descent 2c, the dog 8 is disengaged from the conveyor chain 5, such that the car 3 can overtake the first conveyor chain 5 due to downward gravitational acceleration. The dog 8 of the car 3 is automatically disengaged on account of its geometric shape and its kinematics and must thus be able to perform an overtaking function. Moreover, the overtaking function serves the purpose of enabling the car to overtake the chain in the event of a failure, a very fast chain-stop or a broken or blocked chain. This function is basically achieved by means of a catch which meshes under gravity and/or spring force and/or other acting forces with the chain 5, said catch having a chamfer in the direction of travel that permits the catch to overtake chain links.

In addition to the primary transport system 4, the fairground ride 1 has a secondary transport system 9. The secondary transport system 9 is arranged parallel to the primary transport system 4 and has redundant elements, namely a second conveyor chain 10, second chain wheels 11, a second drive 12, and a dog 13 attached to the second car. The secondary transport system 9 has, for example, its own drive system 12 with its own generator, which permits the car 3 to be transported in one or both directions. In addition, the second transport system 9 can have its own control unit. The second dog 13 is engaged with the second conveyor chain 10. In regular operation, however, the second dog 13 bears a smaller load than the first dog. Only in the event of a malfunction can the second dog 13 take on the full load and transport the car 3 further.

In FIG. 1, for the purpose of illustration, the first and second dogs 8, 13 are drawn as if they were arranged in succession or longitudinally offset from car 3. Preferably, however, they are arranged side by side, such that the second dog 13 would normally be obscured from the first dog 7 in the side view of FIG. 1.

Especially, however, two or more than two dogs can also be provided for each chain in order that the maximum rollback section can be reduced by a factor of 2 (the arrangement of the second dog between two chain links reduces the rollback section to half the distance between two chain links). Should car 3 roll back due to a failure, the load acting on the components of the transport systems and the occupants of the car 3 is thereby reduced.

All of the dogs can be identical, for both the primary transport system 4 and the secondary transport system 9.

In normal operation, the second conveyor chain 10 of the redundant secondary transport system 9 moves at a slightly higher set speed relative to the first conveyor chain 5 as soon as the second dog 13 engages with the second conveyor chain 10, and thus at the same speed as the first conveyor chain 5. The second conveyor chain 10 bears (in the case of synchronization) only a small portion of the load. In event of a failure, the second transport system 9 takes on the function of an anti-rollback device and a recovery system, and so in doing takes on the transport function of the first transport system 4. The anti-rollback device in this embodiment is effected by a first brake (not shown), which acts on the first chain wheel 6, and by a second brake, which acts on the second chain wheel 11. In this way, the 3 car can be safely advanced to a desired location.

The elements become even clearer in FIG. 2. The same elements are labelled with the same reference numbers as in FIG. 1.

Especially, two parallel conveyor chains 5 and 10 are arranged along a section of travel path 2. In regular operation, the primary transport system 4 is the main transport system, which bears the bulk of the load and moves the car. The secondary transport system 9 is an auxiliary transport system, which moves at the same speed, possibly at a higher set speed, but with less torque and less load. Only in the event of a malfunction by the primary transport system 4 does the secondary transport system 9 take on the load and move the car 3 at higher torque than in the low-load mode. Moreover, the secondary transport system 9 acts as anti-rollback device should the primary transport system 4 fail.

FIG. 3 shows a sub-section of an embodiment of an inventive transport system 4 for a fairground ride 1.

The transport system 4 has an endless conveyor chain 5, which is arranged along a transport section of a travel path 2 for rail-mounted cars 3. The conveyor chain 5 is deflected or guided by a first chain wheel 6a and a second chain wheel 6b. The first chain wheel 6a is rotatably mounted about a first axis A. The first chain wheel 6a is that chain wheel which is the next chain wheel immediately behind the transport section and which effects a deflection of the conveyor chain 5.

As schematically indicated in FIG. 3, during its movement along the transport section, the car 3 is connected with the conveyor chain 5 via at least one dog 8 and is therefore transported over the peak on the transport section.

In accordance with the invention, at least the first chain wheel 6a is movably mounted relative to the travel path 2. In the embodiment shown, the first chain wheel 6a is arranged so as to swivel about a second axis B via an arm 14. The swivel axis B is fixed in position relative to the lift construction 2. The arm 14 or the chain wheel 6a are preloaded against a stop 15 by means of a spring 16. The second side of the spring 16 is mounted to a permanent mounting element 17, which is connected to the lift construction 4.

A stop 15 restricts the deflection of the first chain wheel 6a in a first direction R in which the first chain wheel 6a is preloaded. Especially, the preloading force is equal to or slightly greater than the greatest force occurring in normal operation. Optionally, a damper 18 may be arranged parallel to the spring 16. If the car 3 rolls back against the preloading force, the first chain wheel 6a is swivelled in the direction -R until the car 3 has been fully braked. With the aid of this construction, a rollback of the car 3 into the conveyor chain 5 due to a malfunction has the effect that the forces acting on the occupants are determined not by the fall height of the car 3, but by the property of the elastic element 16 or the elastic elements 16.

A combination with the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is also the object of the invention. In this regard, the first chain wheel 6a of the first transport system 4 and/or a first chain wheel 11a of the second transport 9 can be mounted so as to be elastically preloaded. Should the first transport system 4 fail, the second transport system 9 acts as anti-rollback device. The second transport system 9 can take on the car 3 very gently through the swivelling of the first chain wheels 6a and 11a. In this connection, the car 3 initially rolls back into the second transport system 9, as a result of which swivelling of the first chain wheel 6a may occur. In this way, rollback in the second transport system 9 is cushioned.