When we wanted to know more about roller coaster design, we decided to go straight to one of the most well known and respected businesses in the industry. Fortunately, we were able to speak with Andreas Wild, Managing Director of Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH (Stengel Engineering). Thanks to Andreas for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share some details about roller coaster design and engineering.
C101: Could you tell us about the origin and history of Stengel Engineering?
All starts with Werner Stengel. During his academic studies he worked for an engineering office where Anton Schwarzkopf (a brilliant steel and roller coaster manufacturer) waited for the results of a calculation of the steel structure of a bumper car ride. Nobody was taking care of Mr. Schwarzkopf’s wishes so Werner Stengel took home the documents over the weekend and calculated what Anton Schwarzkopf was looking for. After that, Mr. Schwarzkopf was so impressed with what this young engineer had done that he asked Mr. Stengel to take care of the first steel roller coaster to be built in Germanyfor the famous Oktoberfest in Munich. Werner Stengel did this job so well that he founded his own engineering office on March 28th, 1965 inMunich,Germany. His office was located at his home inMunich underneath his own roof. Soon he got so much work that he employed other engineers and other co-workers.
In the following years Werner Stengel reinvented the vertical loop of modern times. It was the first time that a vertical loop was safe for passengers. After several successful decades Mr. Stengel stepped down from daily operations in 2001 and established two Managing Directors for daily operations. In the meantime, the numbers of roller coasters where Ingenieurbüro Stengel has been involved rose up to 600 installations as well as 34 Ferris wheels and more than 600 carousels and 100 other moving structures.
C101: What services do you offer today?
Our scope of work on roller coasters in general is:
- Design and calculate track path dynamics.
- Structural calculations and fatigue analysis for the entire steel structure including all components.
- Shop drawings of track and column structure including other fabrication data.
- Vehicle/car train construction and analysis.
- General consulting.
However, we also offer our services for other amusement rides such as Ferris wheels, carousels, monorails, and people movers. Anything which is moving more or less!
C101: At what stage in the creation of an amusement park attraction does Stengel Engineering become involved?
This very much depends on the involved park. Quite often our clients (roller coaster manufacture/suppliers) already do have a layout which is in principal agreed upon by the park. This is a good start and saves us the negotiations with the parks. However, sometimes the layout shows dramatically false guesses (in terms of accelerations, clearances, etc.) and we have to redesign the layout entirely. Sometimes this is too late to redo things completely and we have to find a compromise which works for all parties.
C101: How do organizations such as ASTM F-24 committee on amusement rides and devices and their standards affect what you do?
We are dealing and following all international standards. They are very important to us and for our passengers.
Several committees and standard organizations still use design limits which were established by Werner Stengel who was a member in both the German and the European standard organization from the beginning. All have in common the safety for the passengers. And this is a good thing.
C101: Since this is for Coaster101 I have to ask, do you enjoy riding roller coasters and if so which is your favorite and why?
I certainly enjoy riding roller coasters. All of us don’t have the chance to be part of the opening of a roller coaster due to work load. However, I very often arranged my holidays in such a way that an amusement park was on our way. Keeping this in mind I’d say I like most Expedition GeForce atHolidayParkinGermany. It’s a kind of a small version of Millennium Force but differs in details totally. The first drop is insane! I do like the roller coasters more which show a change in acceleration and direction. I don’t like too many inversions. This can be boring somehow.
C101: I certaintly agree with you there! I’d like to thank Andreas once again for taking the time to talk with us about roller coaster engineering. Learn more Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH (Stengel Engineering) at their website.