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Ingenieurbüro Stengel

Thrilling rollercoasters at amusement parks always attract attention. But not everyone is aware of the tremendous amount of technology behind them. Engineering firm Stengel GmbH of Munich is the global market leader in the design and construction of rollercoasters, such as the Olympia Looping at the Oktoberfest in Munich. An improved design recently resulted in a patent.

“Engineer Werner Stengel, the rollercoaster guru, began his career designing bumper cars. He was later the first to design a rollercoaster with a safe ridable loop,” says Christian Stelzl, CEO of Stengel. “The idea behind a new rollercoaster originates with the builder, our client or the owner. We then do all the necessary calculations for the construction design to ensure that the rollercoaster meets all requirements and desires and can be manufactured. We are always looking for innovations that make production more cost-efficient.”

Rollercoaster with a backbone

One such innovation is a better attachment method with the use of ‘backbone rail tracks’. The construction of this type of rollercoaster comprises of two steel tubes: the basic track over which the coaster travels and a thick tube, the backbone, which gives the track stability and absorbs the forces. This construction is used for large rollercoasters with loops (inversions). Stelzl explains, “The challenge lies in connecting the backbone of the rollercoaster to the track, especially in a twisted track design. Until now, this has always been done with hollow steel forms that had to be custom-made. But we’ve come up with a smarter solution.”

More efficient production thanks to smarter design

The new construction replaces the connecting tubes with simple plates. Stelzl continues, “We now only need one type of plate and expensive customization is no longer necessary. Even if there’s a loop in the track, the plates can always be easily attached to the backbone. That’s because they consist of fewer materials, making them lighter and cheaper to produce. At the same time, the stability of the track construction remains the same. This is particularly beneficial for our client, the builder of the rollercoaster.”

‘The patent translates into more efficient production for our clients.’

Christian Stelzl – Stengel GmbH engineer firm

A patent has already been obtained for the design in Germany. The patent application for Europe, China and the United States is currently under consideration. Stelzl says, “The design is already used for new rollercoasters. Thanks to the patent, our client has an immediate competitive advantage because the production process is much more efficient.”

Patent process is iterative

The preparation for the patent application was carried out in close dialogue. Stelzl says, “The best part about working with V.O. is that we speak the same technical language. No explanations are needed. The patent attorney was able to word the application in highly technical language down to the very last detail.” Lutz Keydel, the application attorney for V.O. Munich, comments, “We’re both civil engineers, which is a tremendous advantage. The process was iterative. We were in very close contact and dialogue, which enabled us to fine-tune the text until perfect.”

More about the expert

Lutz Keydel

Lutz Keydel

  • European and German Patent and Trademark Attorney, European Patent Litigator
  • Associate
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