Page 18 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - December 2018
P. 18

Jean-Marc Teissier:


          Designing the Nearly Impossible



                                                  by Barbara Spencer
         Whether designing the first amusement ride to catapult passengers into “space,”
         engineering the largest moving stadium roof in the world, or renovating the
         inclined lift of the Eiffel Tower - Jean-Marc Teissier, Managing Director/owner
         of DEP Engineering and President of OIPEEC, takes on projects with challenges
         that seem insurmountable.



             ean-Marc  Teissier,  Managing  Di-  it was preposterous.          hotel for when I arrive.’ Then he drove
             rector and owner of DEP Engineer-  “Yes, people thought I was mad,”   10 hours from his home in Aachen,
         Jing,  gazed intently at the green   says Teissier. “First, I contacted a   Germany  and  we  started  working
         button on the remote control. In mere   French rope manufacturer. We met in   together.” Teissier and Verreet have
         seconds, it would activate the maiden   their office for about an hour, and they   retained a close business relationship
         launch of a new amusement ride, Space   said,  ‘We  don’t  want  to  waste  time   and friendship ever since.
         Mountain, in Euro Disney. 1        with this stupid thing. It will never   When  the  two  met,  they  discussed
           For  months  Teissier  had played a   work.’ And it was the same with an   the daunting project. This unique cat-
         major role in this engineering project.   Italian  manufacturer,  and  the  same   apult design would  have to work  de-
         The results of his efforts rested on the   with a British producer.”  pendably  and  flawlessly.  During  the
         next few moments.                    But after he contacted the German   height of the popular summer season,
           The Space Mountain ride, once com-  company Casar Drahtseilwerk  Saar,   the  Space  Mountain  train,  filled  with
         pleted, would transport more than 8   Teissier says he received a curious call.   up to 24 people, would be launched ev-
         million people a year. The overall cost of   “Although he was German, the call-  ery 36 seconds – 1,200 times a day.
         the project would be 120 million dollars.  er spoke French very well. It was Ro-  “After I got the contract, I made my
           And this was Teissier’s catapult de-  land  Verreet  [often  called  ‘The  Rope   own calculations. I discussed it with
         sign, which had never been tried before.  Pope’ because of the respect he has   people like Roland and Prof. Dr. Ga-
                                            garnered worldwide as a wire rope   bor Oplatka [a renowned ropeway ex-
         A catapult to shoot humans         designer,  inspector,  consultant  and   pert],” remembers Teissier. And we
                                                   2
           From the very beginning, when he’d   speaker ].  And  he  said,  ‘This  project   concluded that it would never work.
         first proposed the design, most thought   is very interesting. Please book me a   And this was a very, very hard discus-
                                                                                      sion with the American team
                                                    During the height of Disneyland Paris’ busy   of engineers [who had already
                                                    season, the Space Mountain catapult (now   specified  the  project  in  great
                                                    called Star  Wars  Hyperspace Mountain)   detail]. “I told them that if
                                                    launches trains 1200 times a day.
                                                                                      they wanted me to do it their
                                                                                      way, it wouldn’t work. And it
                                                                                      took about three weeks or so
                                                                                      before they came back and
                                                                                      said, ‘OK, you’re right.’ It was
                                                                                      a  challenge  because  the  proj-
                                                                                      ect had already advanced. The
                                                                                      electrical motors had already
                                                                                      been  ordered.  But,  anyway,
                                                                                      we combined all the things
                                                                                      that were not possible and in
                                                                                      the end we found a solution.”
                                                                                       And now, as onlookers shiv-
                                                                                      ered  on  this  cold,  wet  winter
                                                                                      day in 1995, all watched ex-
                                                                                      pectantly.
                                                                                       “The instant the button was
                                                                                      pushed, I remember one single
                                                                                      thing  as  I watched  the  train
                                                                                      launch,” says Teissier. “I could
                                                                                      see the huge acceleration.” The
                                                                                      train, filled with sand bags to
                                                                                      model the weight of passen-
                                                                                      gers,  sped forward.  “And be-
                                                                                                continued on page 20

         18     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   December 2018
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