Drive systems: a core competency

One of the most challenging aspects of constructing a retractable roof is identifying and developing an efficient, reliable drive system.

The drive system of a roof includes all moving parts of a retractable roof system. These moving parts are crucial, as they are subject to extremely variable loads. The system needs to function smoothly, without any glitches. Lots of sliding carriages, pins and cables are moving at the same time, often asynchronously — maintaining complete control is essential.

At ECCON, we have more than 20 years’ experience with retractable roof systems, and many more with drive systems and cables. As experts in this field, we are able to offer a full, comprehensive service and guarantee system reliability for many years to come.

cable-supported-retractable-roof

Cable drives

In this system, steel cables are moved along each axis using special winches. The roof membrane or panels/segments are attached to the cables (e.g. with sliding carriages).

Roof systems with cable drives can be moved along cables or rails. Depending on the structure of the roof, the cable generally runs in a circular system that the roof can be moved in both directions – i.e. to open and to close it.

BC Place stadium

7,800 m² retractable roofage is moved with a rope driving system.
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convertible roof

Wheel drives

Roofs can also be moved by using wheel drive systems. These systems are generally based on rails. The wheels are motorized and slide the roof along the rails, using the friction between the wheels and rails. The roof is fixed on the drive system and can be opened and closed thereby.

Dubai Mall

2,800 m² roofage – composed of stiff segments is moved on wheels.
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chain-drive

Chain drives or rack gears

Similar to wheel drive systems, this approach uses motorized pinion wheels which move along a chain or toothed racks to open or close the roof. This system is generally used with rail-supported roof panels.

Sanyo Mall

Membrane roofs over curved passages are driven by a chain drive.
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