Wednesday, February 17, 2016

News: PES Performance help reverse engineer historic roller-coaster

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PES Performance has played a key part in the roller-coaster journey to get the historic scenic railway back up and running at Dreamland in Margate.

The scenic railway was one of the oldest roller-coasters in the country until it burnt down in 2008. Now the centre piece of a wider, £18m redevelopment, the new railway, based on the same layout and design as the original, re-opened at the end of 2015.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) Ltd is a high performance engineering design business, with a multi-disciplinary team of design and performance engineers. It is the second AMP-based company to be called on by restoration specialists, WGH in Doncaster, after Eadon Consulting designed new key parts for the ride that kept to the original design but met modern safety standards.

The wooden-tracked railway with steel rails is supported by a wooden structure, a brakeman slows the ride down at certain points on the track. It is one of only eight scenic railways in the world and has Grade II* listed status.

WGH were contracted to rebuild the train, with three carriages, as close to the original specification. PES were approached to reverse engineer the remaining dragon-head and manufacture six new wooden dragons from the original to become part of the three carriage train required for the ride.

The first challenge was to accurately reproduce the dragons from the original. The original was hand carved, ornate and organic in shape, and the PES team used their 3D blue light scanning system to capture the original data to a high level of detail, ensuring that the essence and original feel from the hand carved dragon would not be lost in reverse engineering the heads.
The salvaged dragon-head had been damaged with 270mm cut off from the lower section of the dragon, plus further damage to the head. The team searched through archived information on the original scenic railway and soon discovered that the missing section included ornate carving and key details.

The solution was to commission a sculpture to rebuild the missing section in clay, using original carving techniques and align the original part with the clay sculpted section.

Then the full dragon was scanned using the 3D blue light scanning system to produce a perfect 3D image.

CNC specialists, GCNC Ltd used the data to programme a cutting machine to manufacture from wood the six reverse engineered dragon-heads that were required to complete the three carriages being built.

Mike Maddock, managing director at PES, said: "It was great to see the scenic railway reopen again last autumn. The PES team are very proud to have played a small part in this amazing project and to have used our cutting-edge 3D scanning technology to help restore this historic landmark.

"By combining modern technology with traditional methods we created the perfect solution to the challenge. We had recreated the dragon, incorporating the essence of what the original craftsman wanted to produce."

PES Performance website

Images: PES

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