Europa Park (Rust, Germany) can look back on one of the most successful business histories in Germany. Officially opened in the summer of 1975, it drew 250,000 visitors that summer. Today the family-run business is second only to Cologne Cathedral as the most popular tourist destination in Germany. With more than four million visitors, Europa Park is by far the largest amusement park in Germany and the world’s number-one seasonal park in visitor volume. More than 78 million people have visited the park since its founding. The Mack family has invested 550 million euros in the attractions (around 100 in total) and international shows that guarantee fun and entertainment for the entire family on the 85-hectare grounds. Europa Park has long since become more than just a traditional amusement park; it is also a renowned conference site adjacent to the Karlsruhe–Basel motorway and a popular location for events and television productions. With four 4-star resort hotels, it is also a favourite getaway destination for visitors from everywhere in Europe.
Rust has something to offer for everyone. Boredom is an unknown term there. Furthermore, all of the staff follow the motto of Roland Mack: “Our guests deserve only the best, and that’s exactly what they receive from us.” There are many attractions waiting for the visitors, with various thrill levels to accommodate different ages and personal tastes. Regardless of how fast a ride may be, safety always comes first. For several weeks each year, TÜV experts carry out safety inspections to check aspects such as speed and braking effectiveness as well as the subjective ride experience, and they conduct staff audits. Europa Park was the first amusement park in the world to be receive the new safety certificate of TÜV Süd Bau und Betrieb GmbH.
At a height of 75 metres, the glass lift cabin of the Eurotower provides a panoramic view of the Rhine Valley, the Schwarzwald, the Vosges range, and the entire Europa Park grounds with their top-quality rides. For pure thrills, you can’t do better than the Silver Star, the largest and highest roller-coaster in Europe. With a height of 73 metres, a maximum speed of up to 130 kph and enormous centrifugal forces up to 4 g, it delivers a unique combination of sensation, speed and weightlessness.
First the train must climb more than 70 metres to the highest point of the start, as the tension mounts. You’ve hardly recovered from the subsequent plunge before you ride over a succession of ups and downs toward the horseshoe bend near the end. There the train rises like a rocket, rounds a curve, whips to the side and throws itself with breakneck speed into a 120-degree curve. You hardly have time to catch your breath before you travel over the next bump and return to the station at the end of a 1,620 metre ride.
More than 200 tradesmen are employed at Europa Park, including around 30 mechanics and 30 electricians or electronic technicians, who look after the maintenance of the rides. In the early morning before the visitors arrive, and occasionally during operation, they check all of the safety functions every day. They are massively busy in November. The park is closed then, and the most important components of all the rides, such as the drives and brakes, are completely dismantled and meticulously inspected.
The motto here is early damage detection. The ultimate aim is to ensure that the rides never have to stop. Lubricant analyses have been a fixed part of the maintenance programme for many years now. OELCHECK inspects the hydraulic fluid and gear oil of several rides at least once a year. Driving these apparently lightweight attractions and controlling their motions requires high-pressure hydraulic systems holding several hundred litres of fluid, a large number of gearboxes and gearmotors with fully synthetic gear oils, and thousands of roller and journal bearings lubricated with long-term grease. The oils used in the main attractions are analysed. They include the Euro-Mir, whose orbiting cabins dive at a speed of 80 kph; the Matterhorn-Blitz; the Atlantica SuperSplash, which is especially popular on hot summer days with daredevils who relish a long dive into cool water; and of course the ultimate roller-coaster: the Silver Star.