Continental Truck Tires Reach the Skies – and Beyond
Known for their longevity and premium construction since 1872, today’s Continental tires are reaching new heights as they help operate some of the world’s most inventive engineering projects.
In London, England, a familiar sight for both residents and visitors alike is the world-famous EDF Energy London Eye. This tallest cantilevered observation wheel in the world allows passengers to enjoy the sights of London from fully enclosed capsules, suspended on a 1,200 t rotating wheel which hangs over the River Thames. There are 32 capsules, each with its own climate control and stability system, and the London Eye stands 135 m tall.
The drive systems of the London Eye are located in two towers, one at each end of the wheel’s boarding platform. But what riders of the London Eye do not realize is that the rotation of the wheel depends on Continental truck tires. The tires, Continental HSRs (Heavy Steer Regional truck tires from the Commercial Vehicle Tire business unit), act as friction rollers along the rim of the wheel. The tires are each turned by hydraulic motors, and the rotation of the tires turns the entire wheel structure to provide the rotating view of the London skyline, said Mark Robinson, head of technical operations for the EDF Energy London Eye.
“Continental truck tires were chosen for the turning mechanism of the EDF Energy London Eye, because of their durability and reliability,” said Mr. Robinson. “The Continental HSRs have to rotate along the rim of the London Eye throughout the hours of operation, and it is imperative that there be no down time and that they be low maintenance. We have had no issues with the Continental tires and they have proven to be reliable, helping us provide spectacular views of London to millions of visitors since we opened in 2000,” he added.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Continental truck tires are helping NASA to reach even higher – in fact, all the way to Mars and Jupiter. United Launch Alliance (ULA) recently contacted Continental to provide replacement tires for its two KAMAG self-propelled modular transporter platforms at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. ULA designs, builds and launches Atlas V and Delta IV rockets that deliver missions to orbit for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial customers. ULA uses KAMAG transporters to move Delta IV and Atlas V rockets and payloads.
The KAMAG transporters each use 72 Continental HTR truck tires to move payloads from the processing facilities to the launch pad. The combined weight of the launch vehicles and payloads can be up to 90.7 t. The Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles carried by the KAMAGs have launched high-profile missions including NASA’s “Curiosity” Mars rover, Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and other critical national security payloads.
Specified by KAMAG for use with its self-propelled modular transporter platforms, the Continental HTR (Heavy Trailer Regional) tires were installed in September 2012. HTRs are also a product of Continental’s Commercial Vehicle Tire business unit, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of truck, bus and industrial tires worldwide.
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