Attendees of ConExpo and IFPE 2014 next March have another attraction awaiting them in Las Vegas. Three  air-powered hoists from J. D. Neuhaus — each providing a 50-ton lifting capacity — have been instrumental in the construction of the world’s largest observation wheel. Located at The Linq, Caesars Entertainment’s $550 million outdoor retail, dining, and entertainment district, the Las Vegas High Roller tops out at a height of 550 ft, comprises 28 viewing cabins capable of holding a total of 1,120 passengers.

Located at a temporary chain-fall platform suspended below the wheel central hub, the air-operated hoists were the most practical choice for this application — clean, safe, and much lighter and more compact than electromechanical hoists. Plus, the spring-applied, pressure-released design of the air hoists prevents loads from dropping unexpectedly, even if a compressed air line would be severed. Their 280 ft of cable fall were used to their full advantage in lifting equipment from ground level. These lifts included 18 temporary radial struts (each weighing 40 tons), together with transfer trusses of similar weights and all the individual outer rim segments of the completed wheel. These were paired with a 112 cable-locking assemblies initially assembled at 50% tension loads.

The temporary radial struts were installed to provide the accurate spacing of the individual wheel rim segments from the central hub unit during initial assembly. These were then sequentially replaced by the cable-locking assemblies, which — when fully tensioned — provided the radial spokes of the completed wheel assembly.

The Neuhaus hoists operate from a 6-bar air supply, offering lift capacities from ¼ to 100 tons. They incorporate a patented vane motor-brake system for low-maintenance operation with little wear. They also provide 100% duty ratings with unlimited duty cycles and are insensitive to outdoor operations involving dust, humidity, and temperatures ranging from –20 to 70°C.

The High Roller structure incorporates 3.5 million lb of steel, with the 112 cables forming the tensioned spokes of the structure having a combined total length of 25,256 ft; each cable boasts a breaking force of 550 tons.

Other vital statistics:

• In addition to its great height, the High Roller will offer an immersive pre-ride experience for its passengers on their journey from ticketing through the wheel house — complete with a lounge — to the wheel ride, which features unparalleled views of the Las Vegas Strip.
Âź• The wheel structure will boast 7.2 million lb of steel and 112 cables.
• Each cable measures approximately 225 ft, for a combined total of 25,256 ft.
• The High Roller will feature 28 spherical cabins, each capable of holding 40 people.
• Each cabin weighs approximately 44,000 lb and includes 300 ft2 of glass.
• Cabin windows are doubly curved and fabricated from four sheets of laminated glass.
• The cabins will also feature dynamic video and music shows that will fade away seamlessly to show the most impressive views of the Las Vegas valley.
• Fabrication of the wheel began in late 2011 and took place in several locations across the globe, including China, Japan, France, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Colorado, California and Las Vegas.
• The High Roller will travel at 1 ft/sec and take roughly 30 min to make one full revolution.
• The wheel will be lit with more than 2,000 LEDs to create a customizable and visually stunning display.

Construction milestones:
• February 29, 2012 — Ground breaks on the construction of the High Roller.
• October 22, 2012 — Erection of the wheel structure begins.
• March 15, 2013 — The hub and spindle of the High Roller are completed.
• July 5, 2013 — The first section of the rim is installed.
• September 9, 2013 — The rim rim is completed with the installation of the 28th, and final, section.
• October 26, 2013 — The wheel structure is completed.
• November 2013 — Installation of 28 cabins began.

Click here to view pictures and more information about this newest Las Vegas attraction.