Standby for eye

19 November 1999

Cummins power generation won a contract to provide standby power for the world’s largest observation wheel. The London Eye, one of the UK's major Millennium projects, is using a 1100 kVA genset from Cummins for emergency backup power.

The London Eye resembles a giant bicycle wheel, with the steel rim connected to a 330 tonne hub by 80 spokes, fabricated from 6 km of steel cable. Passengers will ride the wheel in 32 fully-enclosed capsules, mounted on the outside edge of the rim, each capsule being capable of carrying 25 people. It will take 30 minutes to travel through 360O.

The 1100 kVA, 800 kW, 415/230 V 50 Hz Cummins model CS1100 genset was ordered by main contractor T Clarke. Providing power to allow evacuation of the wheel, its main load will power a series of drive systems, rated at 150 kW. The set will also supply emergency lighting.

Lifting the Eye had given some problems. The first attempt had been suspended due to cable support problems. On 9 September, 1999, the lifting operation began for a second time. By the end of the day, the wheel had reached an angle of 35O. The second day saw the wheel raised to an angle of 66O. The Eye was fully raised on the third day.

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