050-12 Lohr, 2012-07-12

London in Motion: On the Trail of the Rexroth Drive

Tower Bridge at Night

Tower Bridge at Night

This summer, the world will be watching as the city of London plays host to top sporting performances. However, tourists can also discover top technical performances in the city on the Thames, with some of the most powerful action being powered by technology from Bosch Rexroth. It is Rexroth drives that keep the giant Ferris wheel of the London Eye turning, that actuate the opening mechanism for Tower Bridge and that raise the gates of the Thames Barrier, which protects the city against storm and spring floods from the North Sea.

Even in ordinary years, Europe's tallest Ferris wheel draws more than 3.5 million visitors, who, from a height of 135 meters, can enjoy views over the whole of London. The wheel, together with its 32 capsules that are almost fully glazed, rotates at 26 cm per second; a constant speed that is delivered by 16 hydraulic drive wheels. One particularly important feature is that all drive functions are duplicated, in order to guarantee maximum safety. The slow speed enables passengers to enter and exit the capsules while the wheel is moving. On a clear day, these passengers can see up to 40 km across London.

Tower Bridge is a London landmark that has been on the scene for much longer. This bascule bridge opens up to a thousand times a year to allow boats with high superstructures or sailing masts to pass through, with each opening lasting around a minute. As part of a modernization project, Rexroth planned the drive and control solution for the opening mechanism for the sections of bridge, which weigh around 1000 tons. The modern hydraulics also protect the historic structure against damage caused by heavy goods traffic. Hydraulically adjustable wedges ensure that any forces and vibrations that occur are dissipated evenly.

A short trip downstream along the Thames brings you to the Thames Barrier, one of the largest flood barriers in Europe. The barrier stretches for 520 meters across the Thames and comprises ten movable gates. Under normal conditions, these gates rest on the river bed, so that river traffic can pass through unhindered. However, during storm or spring floods, the North Sea drives enormous quantities of water into the Thames, threatening to flood the British capital. In the course of a gradual programme Rexroth refurbished the drive solution of the Bravo Gate, which is 30 meter wide. When danger looms, it raises the gate within 15 minutes. Eight more gates will be modernized in the near future. Incidentally, those wanting to witness the spectacle do not have to wait for a flood to occur: the gates are raised once a month for maintenance purposes. The next dates on which the gates will be raised are August 6 and September 4.

Bosch Rexroth AG is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of drive and control technologies. Under the Rexroth brand name, the company supplies more than 500,000 customers with tailored solutions for driving, controlling, and moving. Bosch Rexroth is a partner for Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation and Renewable Energies. The company provides customized solutions tailored to the needs and specifications of each individual market. As The Drive & Control Company, Bosch Rexroth develops, produces, and sells components and systems in over 80 countries. As part of the Bosch Group, Bosch Rexroth and its 38,400 associates generated approximately 6.4 billion euros in revenue in 2011.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, more than 300,000 associates generated sales of 51.5 billion euros in fiscal 2011. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.2 billion euros for research and development in 2011, and applied for over 4,100 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

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Jana Benzinger
Maria-Theresien-Straße 23
97816 Lohr am Main
Phone: +49 9352 18-1589