Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

New Cobra Train from Sunkid-Heege

Since the summer season of 2020, the new Cobra has been a source of great enthusiasm not only for the visitors of Conny-Land in Swiss Lipperswil, but also for park manager Roby Gasser. The new Sunkid train has several improvements and innovations to offer.

The Conny Land in Lipperswil not only is the largest theme park in Switzerland but has also been the park with Europe’s largest linear roller coaster for a decade. At a length of about 215 meters (705 feet), the 42-meter-high (138-feet-high), slightly overhanging drop tower, a looping, two camelbacks, and the scorpion tail, the Cobra is unique world-wide in this form. Originally built by PAX, the roller coaster with a track width of 900 mm (35 inches) received an entirely newly developed train for its tenth anniversary. From the first inquiry to the final TÜV approval, the train from Sunkid-Heege was developed to Conny-Land’s wishes and handed over to the customer after only two years. The new Cobra stands out with several innovations and improvements that clearly emphasize the special status of this roller coaster once again.

The most distinctive change likely is the new arrangement of the seat rows. Except for the first and last cars of the train, all cars are equipped with two seat rows facing each other. The guests are not only sitting face to face during the ride but can experience it from two different perspectives. “This is an innovation that visitors love, particularly in a shuttle loop coaster like the Cobra in Conny-Land,” Roby Gasser rejoices about this special feature for Europe’s largest linear roller coaster as well.

The fully adjustable and dampened undercarriage ensures a more pleasant ride feel and reduces the forces that act on the mechanics, extending the service life. “Targeted improvements were introduced even in the areas of operation and maintenance,” Sunkid-Heege CEO Michael Kalsch says. Lifetime-lubricated bearings and the optimized size of the components reduce the maintenance and inspection efforts required. In daily operation, the new bracket position monitoring of every single safety bracket, combined with the touch display in the command centre, optimizes processes. The operator is not only shown information on the system status and bracket position of each seat, but also can unlock them at once or individually as required. Special paint with anti-slip effect ensures high functional safety in the foot area of the cars and on the friction areas of the drives.

The seat rows with the revolutionary new and patented Embrace 5 retention system is an innovation that is immediately comprehensible only to roller coaster enthusiasts and operators. The traditional solid shoulder brackets are replaced by the protruding safety bracket and the belt system connected to it. This is visible at first glance. The C-bracket (safety bracket) primarily serves to guide the closed belt system and secondarily adds redundancy and hand support. The central element of the Embrace 5 is the padded belt system, however.

Instead of being restricted by solid shoulder brackets, the rider is now hugged by padded special belts and the also-textile chest support. It may sound comfortable already, but another property of this system turns it into a potential game changer as retention systems go. The Embrace 5 adjusts to physique and size of the riders, providing an unprecedent amount of comfort and adaptability. At the same time, it increases the ride’s thrill factor since the mental safety effect is far less present in contrast to use of the solid and restricting retention systems.

The retention system is multiply redundant and has a mechanical latch-handle system, a hydraulic safety cylinder, and the C-bracket with hand support and grip already mentioned.

The bracket position monitoring and the electrical control for opening of the safety bracket optimize operating processes.

At a total weight of only just under 80 kg (176 pounds), the seat unit with retention system is a true lightweight for rides of category 5. This weight class likely includes even the smallest and youngest riders. Children from a size of 130 cm (51 inches) or 8 years onwards can use a category-5 ride without an accompanying person. A category-3 ride lowers the minimal body size to 110 cm (43 inches).

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