The 5,200m² roof represents a triumph of engineering as the 1000 tonne structure had to be capable of closing or opening in around eight minutes, as well as operating in winds up to 43mph. The roof is one of the first types of concertina moving structures ever attempted in the UK.
Over 100 electrical mechanical actuators and a control system capable of working to accuracies of 1-2mm were necessary to ensure that the roof, which has 10 trusses weighing 100 tonnes each, moved smoothly and quietly.
The retractable roof is divided into two sections with a total of nine bays of structural fabric. Each of the nine bays is clamped on either side by prismatic steel trusses. The ends of each truss are supported by a set of wheels that move along a track positioned on the new ‘fixed’ roof of the Centre Court.
SCX was responsible for design and supply of all the mechanical and electrical equipment on what is considered to be the most complex moving roof structure ever designed in the UK.
The company was chosen because it has extensive experience and knowledge of precision engineering, which proved vital in the creation of this unique and innovate roof. The project demonstrates how a world beating design can be created by carefully selecting suppliers with the specialist skills to carry out the project.
One of the issues faced by SCX was how to ensure the fabric field of the cloth remained in tension when the roof closed. The company solved the problem by an innovative design that ensured the cloth is tensioned by a mechanical system – a completely unique design never previously undertaken.
SCX’s revolutionary new retractable roof will mean Centre Court retains its open-air appeal as the translucent canvas cloth will continue to let high levels natural light into the venue when it is closed.
Simon Eastwood, Managing Director at SCX Ltd, explains: “The retractable roof is an engineering triumph and demonstrates what can be achieved even on the most challenging projects. We were delighted to help Wimbledon retain its position as the world’s best venue for tennis as well as creating another iconic piece of engineering that will become synonymous with London and the UK – especially as it was a Sheffield based company that made it reality!”
Once the roof is closed, the Centre Court’s ventilation system requires 30 minutes to extract moisture from the air to create the right match conditions. During short rain showers, organizers still plan on using the traditional covers on the court to create shorter breaks. Once the roof is up, it will not open up until a match is over.
The Centre Court’s capacity has been increased from 13,800 spectators to 15,000 by the addition of six rows of seating to the upper tier on three (east, north and west) sides.
For more information on SCX Ltd visit: www.scx.co.uk or telephone: 0114 243 1142.