Robotic Loading and Unloading System: Skyline Luge Calgary

Robotic Loading and Unloading System: Skyline Luge Calgary

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The Client

Skyline Enterprises pioneered the luge concept - a part-toboggan, part go-kart, gravity fuelled downhill ride - at their Rotorua property in 1985. The ride proved to be a hit with tourists and locals alike, and the company has gone on to open up luge operations in Queenstown, Sentosa (Singapore), Mt Tremblant (Canada) and, most recently, Calgary (Canada).

The Brief

Skyline approached EIS to develop an automated solution for getting the 30kg luge carts on and off the chairlift.

The primary objective driving this project was to address the company’s health and safety risk that was associated with having staff lift the heavy karts by hand. The secondary objective was to increase the speed with which riders and their carts could be loaded on and off the chairlifts, in order to increase rider capacity and reduce the waiting time between rides.

The Solution

EIS designed an automated system for getting the luge karts on and off the chairlift, which employs two robots designed specifically for the Calgary luge. One robot loads the carts onto the chairlift from the bottom of the run, while the other unloads them 100 metres up, at the top of the 1.8km track.

The robots were designed and tested in Invercargill, before the designs were sent offshore for manufacturing in Calgary. Two EIS engineers were then on-site in Calgary to commission the installation of the robots.

This system was a world first; nowhere else had an automation system like this been developed for a leisure activity operator.

The Challenges

Ensuring public health and safety presented the biggest challenge for this project.

Most robotic automation systems are used in factory settings with only trained staff operating in the space. In this case however, the robots are outside in a public domain, with hundreds of people coming and going nearby. This means that the safeguards in place needed to be absolutely foolproof.

Extensive testing and verification was done by EIS’ safety experts, during both the design and commissioning stages, to ensure that this system would exceed even the most stringent safety standards.

The Results

The robotic loading and unloading system was commissioned by EIS engineers and opened for business in June 2013, in time for the summer luging season.

The robots work to efficiently and reliably load and unload the carts, ultimately providing Skyline Luge Calgary riders a better experience, with more time spent on the ride and less time waiting in line. They also provide a point of interest, as many visitors have never seen a robot in action before.

Skyline are so pleased with the outcome of this project that they are now discussing opportunities to roll out robotic systems like this in some of their other sites.

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What the Client Said

EIS designed and developed a unique solution for our industry. Their dedication, commitment and outstanding communication throughout the process meant that working across continents was never an issue. We look forward to working with them again on future projects.

Skyline Enterprises

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