How Are Pressure Vessel Heads Used In Amusement Parks?


Amusement parks are renowned for their thrilling rides and attractions, offering visitors an exhilarating experience. You may not have thought about the importance of pressure vessel heads in keeping the rides safe and secure. Behind the scenes, various mechanical systems ensure these attractions operate smoothly and safely. One crucial component in these systems is the pressure vessel head, a part often overlooked but essential for the functioning of many amusement park rides and features.

The Gold Coast is home to some of Australia’s most exciting amusement parks, known for their thrilling rides and unforgettable experiences. Central to the safety and functionality of these attractions are pressure vessel heads, a critical component ensuring the smooth operation of many rides. In this blog, we will delve into how pressure vessel heads are used in the various amusement parks on the Gold Coast, highlighting their role in maintaining and enhancing the safety and enjoyment of visitors.

Australian Amusement Parks

The Gold Coast boasts several major amusement parks, each offering a unique array of attractions:

  1. Dreamworld
  2. Warner Bros. Movie World
  3. Sea World
  4. Wet’n’Wild
  5. WhiteWater World
  6. Australian Outback Spectacular

Each of these parks utilises pressure vessel heads in different ways to ensure the safety and functionality of their rides and attractions.


Dreamworld, Australia’s largest theme park, features a variety of rides, including some of the most thrilling roller coasters in the country. Pressure vessel heads are essential in the hydraulic and pneumatic systems of these rides, including:

  • The Claw: A giant swinging pendulum ride that relies on hydraulic systems powered by pressure vessel heads to control its massive movements.
  • Tower of Terror II: One of the fastest and tallest rides, uses pneumatic launch systems to achieve its incredible speeds.

Dreamworld maintenance teams use pressure vessel heads to ensure the hydraulic and pneumatic systems are operating correctly, providing visitors a safe and exhilarating experience.

Warner Bros. Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World combines the magic of Hollywood with thrilling rides and attractions. Key rides that utilise pressure vessel heads include:

  • Superman Escape: This high-speed roller coaster features a pneumatic launch system that propels the train from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2 seconds.
  • Batwing Spaceshot: A rapid vertical launch ride that uses compressed air contained by pressure vessel heads to deliver a thrilling experience.

Pressure vessel heads in these attractions are vital for maintaining the integrity of the compressed air systems, ensuring that each launch is both safe and spectacular.

Sea World

Sea World is renowned for its marine life exhibits and family-friendly rides. Pressure vessel heads play a crucial role in the park’s water attractions and special effects:

  • Storm Coaster: This water coaster combines a thrilling ride with water elements, using pressure vessel heads to regulate the water flow and ensure a consistent ride experience.
  • Jet Rescue: A high-speed jet ski ride that incorporates hydraulic systems powered by pressure vessel heads for precise and safe operation.

Maintenance at Sea World involves regular checks of the pressure vessel heads to prevent any issues with the water and hydraulic systems, keeping the attractions safe and enjoyable.

Wet’n’Wild and WhiteWater World

Both Wet’n’Wild and WhiteWater World are dedicated to water-based fun, with numerous slides and attractions that depend on pressure vessel heads:

  • Tornado (Wet’n’Wild): A thrilling water slide that uses pressure vessel heads to manage the water flow, creating a smooth and exhilarating ride.
  • Cave of Waves (WhiteWater World): A wave pool that relies on pressure vessel heads to generate and control the waves, providing a realistic and safe wave-riding experience.

Regular maintenance of these pressure vessel heads is essential to ensure the water pressure and flow remain consistent, guaranteeing visitors a safe and enjoyable time.

Australian Outback Spectacular

While not a traditional theme park, the Australian Outback Spectacular offers a unique experience with live shows that often incorporate special effects powered by pneumatic systems. Pressure vessel heads are used to control these effects, ensuring they operate smoothly and safely during performances.

Maintenance and Safety

The maintenance of pressure vessel heads is critical across all Gold Coast amusement parks. Regular inspections and servicing are necessary to ensure the integrity of hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Safety protocols involve:

  • Routine Checks: Inspecting pressure vessel heads for signs of wear and tear.
  • Pressure Testing: Ensuring the vessels can contain the required pressure without leaks or failures.
  • System Integration: Making sure the pressure vessel heads work seamlessly with the rest of the ride’s systems.

Ride Systems

Pressure vessel heads play a vital role in the hydraulic systems of amusement park rides. These systems use pressurised hydraulic fluid to power the movement, control, and safety features of rides, such as roller coasters, drop towers, and motion simulators. The heads help contain the hydraulic pressure, ensuring reliable operation and maintaining the integrity of the hydraulic systems. This containment is crucial for the smooth and safe functioning of these high-energy attractions.

Pneumatic Systems

In addition to hydraulic systems, pressure vessel heads are also used in pneumatic systems found in many amusement park attractions. Pneumatic systems utilise compressed air or gas to power various elements such as pneumatic cylinders, air brakes, launch systems, and special effects. The heads assist in maintaining the necessary pressure for these systems, ensuring their proper functioning. This application is particularly important in rides where precise control of movement and braking is essential for safety and performance.

Water Rides

Water rides, including log flumes, water coasters, and water slides, rely on pressure vessel heads to store and regulate the flow of water. These vessels ensure a consistent and controlled experience for riders by maintaining pressure integrity and aiding in the efficient distribution of water throughout the ride. This regulation is key to providing a smooth and enjoyable ride experience while also ensuring safety.

Pneumatic Launch Systems

High-speed roller coasters and launch rides often use pneumatic launch systems, which depend on pressure vessel heads to function. These systems use compressed air to accelerate the coaster trains or launch capsules to high speeds. The heads contain the compressed air and contribute to the safe and controlled launch of the rides. This containment is critical for achieving the desired speed and ensuring the safety of the riders.

Special Effects Equipment

Amusement parks often feature special effects equipment such as pyrotechnics, smoke machines, air cannons, and other atmospheric effects to enhance the visitor experience. Pressure vessel heads are used in these systems to contain the gases, air, or fluids required for generating these effects. The heads ensure the controlled release and safe operation of these special effects, adding an extra layer of excitement to the attractions.

Ride Restraint Systems

Safety is paramount in amusement park rides, and ride restraint systems are a crucial component in ensuring rider safety. Pressure vessel heads are utilised in ride restraint systems, such as hydraulic lap bars or shoulder harnesses. These systems secure riders in their seats during the ride, preventing unintended movement and providing a safe experience. The heads contribute to the strength and reliability of the restraint systems, ensuring that they function correctly under various conditions.

Pressure vessel heads are indispensable in the operation of Gold Coast amusement parks, playing a pivotal role in ride safety and functionality. From high-speed coasters and water rides to special effects, these components ensure that each attraction operates as intended, providing a thrilling yet safe experience for all visitors. The meticulous maintenance of these systems underscores the commitment of Gold Coast amusement parks to delivering world-class entertainment.

If you’re involved in the design or maintenance of amusement park rides and attractions, understanding the importance of quality pressure vessel heads is essential. This is an area where quality and durability cannot be missed.

For more information or to get a quote on our high-quality pressure vessel heads, give us a call today.