China Builds the World’s Largest Spokeless Ferris Wheel

NEW YORK | Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 4:54pm EDT

China is building the world’s largest spoke free Ferris wheel aiming to bolster tourism.

China Builds the Worlds Largest Spokeless Ferris Wheel 01

China is on its way to completing construction of what will become the world’s largest spokeless Ferris wheel at nearly 300ft high. Photo: China News/YouTube

The shi lai yun zhuan,’ which means ‘turn of fortune’ Ferris wheel, is almost complete in the eastern part of the country and measures 89 metres (292ft) in height with a diameter of 84 metres as well as weighing in at a whopping 3000 tonnes.

Constructors set to work on the Ferris wheel in 2009 and first estimates showed that the epic building would cost about $23.8million (£15.5million) but it has been dogged by delays including a six month lay off earlier this year while safety checks were carried out.

The designers of the incredible construction believe that it will boom tourism in the area. When the Ferris is complete it will hold 24 cars each seating 5 people, according to Changzhou city’s English language tourism website.

If rumors are true to believe that the wheel will have a speed of 16.4 degrees per second, the outer ring turning 0.2 m per second, so a round trip takes about 22 minutes.

Currently, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is located in Singapore, and its height exceeds 160 meters.

However, during the construction of the wheel there’s was some controversy. Thus, the media claimed that the work had only resumed in March after six-months’ break while safety checks were carried out.

Authorities were reported to be concerned following reports that exposure to the elements had left parts of the wheel prone to rust, The Daily Mail writes.

There’s a significant reason why spoke free wheels despite their striking in appearance are not as widespread as an alternative to conventional wheels.

This kind of wheels often difficult and expensive to manufacture, as its construction requires great precision machining, and the design leaves the bearings and other mechanical parts largely exposed to the elements.

“The drive system is especially problematic since a conventional axle and CV joint cannot be used; options include using chain or belt drive. Another option is to house the entire propulsion system inside the wheel itself,” The Daily Mail explains.

Constructors set to work again after Ferris wheel passed a safety assessment from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

In March an official with the Changzhou Gardening and Landscape Architecture Bureau who gave his name only as Tao denied construction had been suspended.

“Workers have been making the components of the Ferris wheel in factories, so there are few workers at the construction site,” he told the media. “By the end of next month, the construction workers will be back to finish the rest of the work.”

He went on, adding that the assessment and approval process for the spokeless wheel had hindered construction.

“Authorities approved an entertainment facility, but due to the complicated nature of this structure, authorities thought it was necessary to reassess the project,” Tao said. 

Tao also said that he believed the spoke free Ferris wheel would bring considerable revenue to the park and would cover the $23million construction cost.

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