Las Vegas--What visitors see when they visit Treasure Island Hotel and Casino is a water battle between pirate ships, featuring a full crew in battle attire and firing cannons that ends with a sinking.
What they don't see is the underlying engineering powering the attraction.
The attraction, built four years ago (see DN 2/21/94, cover story), uses power and control cables, as well as a guidance and protection system for these conduits, that operates outside and underwater.
For the last two years the custom-fabricated cables and cable management were cork-screwing and breaking inside the cable carriers. The cables were breaking because they were not made to run inside the cable carriers. These failures took out 30% of the attraction's lighting, and made necessary compensating cable redundancies.
In mid-1997, Treasure Island decided to change and retrofit the entire system, and by the end of the year, the display was using a complete Energy Chain System from igus inc. (East Providence, RI).
Eric Liston, technical director for the Buccaneer Bay Sea Battle, says that he investigated several manufacturers of flexible cable. When he found out that igus made the Energy Chain, "that solidified my decision," he says. "They were very helpful in working with our unique environment.
"We have a 2-million-gal pool out front where the feature occurs, and we treat it like a swimming pool," he adds, saying that Treasure Island puts bromide, chlorine, and ozone in the pool, which can affect cable.
The igus system consists of two Series 50 engineered polymer carriers, as opposed to the previous two running in tandem on their sides within a custom, curved 36-inch-wide guide trough. The two carriers each feature a full separator and strain-relief package, filled with igus Chainflex(reg) high-flex cables. The system covers a 200-ft travel from end to end moving at 1 to 2 ft/sec.
The igus Energy Chain System guides all cables as they travel with the boats, according to Carsten Blase, vice president of igus who worked on site in Las Vegas with Treasure Island technicians during the installation.
One end of the contacts is attached to the boat; the other is attached on land. "The whole show, lights, sound, pyrotechnics, is controlled through those cables," Blase says. "If the cables fail, you don't have a show."
Blase adds that igus had to match the cables themselves in conductor count and gage weight with what was already there. The company paid particular attention to the cable separation within the cable carrier. Each layer of cable runs on its own shelving, as opposed to the old system with no shelving, so that the cables collect at the bottom of the carrier.
The CF9 and CF11 Chainflex cables are completely new sizes that igus specifically created for use in this application, Blase says. The new sizes have a different number of conductors and gage weights.
Liston says igus worked with Treasure Island before, as well as during, the installation. "They were a tremendous help, and it was a fun time, too. It was a pleasure to work with them." He adds that the cables are holding up well.
Blase says that the people who did the installation are full-time Treasure Island employees, which helped the project go more smoothly. "They were interested in getting it done right," he says.