Von Roll Holding

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Von Roll Holding AG
Limited Corporation
Founded 1803
Headquarters Gerlafingen, Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland
Key people
Thomas P. Limberger
(CEO) and (Vice President)
Markus Scherbel
Number of employees
2086 (31.12.2007)

Von Roll Holding AG is a Swiss industrial group that operates worldwide, specializing in energy production.


Von Roll has its roots in the Eisenwerke der Handelsgesellschaft der Gebrüder Dürholz & Co. (Ironworks of the commercial firm of the Brothers Durholz & Co.) which was established in 1803. This firm was then taken over in 1810 by Von Roll & Cie, newly formed by Ludwig Freiherr von Roll (1771–1839) and Jakob von Glutz. In May 1823, Ludwig von Roll founded the Gesellschaft der Ludwig von Roll'schen Eisenwerke which benefited from industrialization and railroad construction that demanded much iron.[1]

Following this, the business developed into one of the most important industrial groups in Switzerland and reached its high point in the 1970s with more than 10,000 employees. But, like other Swiss companies, Von Roll suffered during the oil crisis of 1973 and the economic crisis it triggered. The company underwent financial restructuring after financial restructuring, seemingly without end. As recently as 2003, Von Roll had to fight for its survival. At the end of 2002, following the accumulated losses of previous years, Von Roll’s equity capital had shrunk to 10.3 million. But in 2004 the company initiated a new strategy to focus on the insulation business, beginning its turnaround.

Business divisions/company structure

Von Roll Holding AG is a Swiss industrial company that is active worldwide and today focuses on products and systems for power generation, transmission and distribution. The company’s operating activities are split into the segments Von Roll Insulation, Von Roll Composites and Von Roll Transformers. The company has been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange since 1987, under the symbol ROL. Historically, Von Roll was principally known for its ironworks and foundries. Von Roll Holding AG is represented by approximately 3,100 employees at 30 locations in 19 countries, and achieved sales of CHF 710 million in 2008.

Von Roll is a global market leader in the areas of insulation products and systems for the electrical machinery industry as well as in the production of composite materials and components for industrial applications. In addition, Von Roll provides thermal and fire-resistant insulation products, which are used in cable manufacturing and in the electronics industry. Von Roll therefore covers the entire value creation chain, from engineering and production to application.

The operating activities of Von Roll Holding AG are split into three segments: Von Roll Insulation (formerly Electrical), Von Roll Composites (formerly Industrial) and Von Roll Elco Transformers, which was created in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Von Roll Insulation produces and markets electrical insulation materials for large-scale generators, high-voltage rotating machines, wind turbines, traction and machine motors for low-voltage rotating machines, and transformers. Products in this segment include enamelled wires and coils, resins and varnishes, mica tapes, and rigid and flexible laminates. Von Roll supplies both individual products and complete insulation systems.

Von Roll Composites provides products and services that focus on the mechanical, thermal and chemical properties of insulating materials. The segment is divided into the product lines composite materials, moulded parts and cables (mainly fire-resistant).

The latest segment Von Roll Transformers creates and supplies solutions for power transmission and distribution. This includes the installation, maintenance and repair of high-voltage transformers (up to 850 MVA) in particular, and of mid-size and small transformers. The product range also includes distribution transformers, mobile substations for temporary use (for example in disaster situations) and special transformers developed for the specific requirements of the electrochemical industry for instance. Furthermore, Von Roll offers various services in the areas of consulting and testing. These include consulting on the special design of workplaces, the optimisation of manufacturing processes, the reorganisation of production flows, the layout of plants, turnkey projects, the reengineering of electrical insulation systems, the introduction of complete electrical insulation systems, and the training of operators and engineers.

Von Roll has laboratories where it tests systems and materials in the field of electrical insulating materials and electrical insulation systems. The high-voltage laboratory in Breitenbach, Switzerland, is specialised in the mechanical and electrical testing of high-voltage materials and systems. The UL laboratory in Schenectady, USA, focuses on all types of UL testing for low and medium voltages, mostly UL 1446 testing.

Von Roll Seilbahnen AG

Von Roll Seilbahnen AG was the aerial tramway and cableway division that was sold to Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr in 1996.


Perhaps Von Roll's best-known product was the type 101 sky ride that operated in many amusement parks. A total of over 100 were installed; as of 2008 only ten remained operational. On December 30, 1954, Felseneggbahn was opened. It was built by Von Roll in seven months for one million Swiss francs. It still runs, and on March 31, 2010, it carried its 10 millionth passenger.[2] The Disneyland Skyway was Von Roll's first aerial ropeway in the United States. It opened on June 23, 1956, and closed on November 9, 1994.

Operating Von Roll Type 101s

Ride name Opened Park name Location Notes Ref(s)
Krupka-Komáří Sky Ride
Lanová Dráha Krupka Krupka, Czech Republic
Berchtesgaden National Park Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany
Lake Zürich Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
Lake Louise Gondola
Lake Louise Lake Louise, AB
Cedar Point Sandusky, OH Uses former Frontier Lift cabins
Superland Rishon LeZion, Israel
Minnesota State Fair Falcon Heights, MN
Tulsa State Fairgrounds Tulsa, OK
Bayside Skyride
SeaWorld San Diego San Diego, CA Round-trip ride
Sky Buckets
Six Flags Over Georgia Austell, GA
San Diego Zoo San Diego, CA
Busch Gardens Tampa Tampa, FL
Six Flags Great Adventure Jackson Township, NJ Originally built for the 1964 World's Fair in Queens
Sky Lift
Taman Safari Bogor, Indonesia
Aeronaut Skyride
Busch Gardens Williamsburg Williamsburg, VA 3 stations, all one-way
Delta Flyer / Eagle's Flight
California's Great America Santa Clara, CA
Washington State Fair Puyallup, WA Originally built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair
National Coffee Park Quindío Department, Columbia Combination ride of Bronx Zoo and Knoxville World's Fair rides

Former Von Roll Type 101's

Ride Name Opened Closed Park Name Location Notes Ref(s)
Alpine Swiss Skyride 1963 1994 Aquarena Springs San Marcos, TX Closed in 1994, removed in 2013
Astrolift 1967 1981 Six Flags Over Georgia Austell, GA
Astrolift 1961 1981 Six Flags Over Texas Arlington, TX Removed over safety concerns
Astroway 1967 2005 Six Flags AstroWorld Houston, TX
Brussels World's Fair Skyride 1960 1976 Lakeland Memphis, TN
Delta Flyer / Eagle's Flight 1976 1984 Six Flags Great America Gurnee, IL
Frontier Lift 1968 1985 Cedar Point Sandusky, OH Cabins used on Skyride, removed for Iron Dragon
Gondola Skyride 1982 ???? World's Fair 1982 Knoxville, TN Relocated to Parque Nacional del Café
New England Sky Way 1973 2014 Six Flags New England Agawam, MA Built in 1963 at Coney Island (Brooklyn, NY) -- Removed to build Wicked Cyclone
Ocean Skyway 1958 1967 Pacific Ocean Park Santa Monica, CA Relocated to Legend City (Phoenix, AZ) as Sky Ride
Ore Buckets 1960 1994 Freedomland USA Bronx, NY Towers are used at Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ
Satellite 1968 1983 Legend City Phoeniz, AZ
Skyfari 1972 2009 Bronx Zoo Bronx, NY Relocated to Parque Nacional del Café
Skyride 1964 1999 Brackenridge Park San Antonio, TX Closed in 1999, removed in 2002 due to maintenance costs
Skyride 1965 1971 Coney Island Cincinnati, OH Relocated to Kings Island
Skyride 1968 1999 Hemisfair '68 San Antonio, TX Continued operation after fair closure, removed 2002
Skyride 1972 1979 Kings Island Kings Mill, OH Relocated from Coney Island (Cincinnati, OH)
Skyride 1967 2004 La Ronde Montreal, QC Built for 1967 World's Fair, stations still exist
Skyride 1972 1997 Opryland Nashville, TN
Skyride 1966 1975 Pirates World Dania, FL
Skyway 1956 1994 Disneyland Anaheim, CA Removed due to stress cracks in Matterhorn battery
Skyway 1971 1999 Magic Kingdom Lake Buena Vista, FL
Skyway 1983 1998 Tokyo Disneyland Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
Sky-Way 1971 1981 Six Flags St. Louis Eureka, MO Removed after accident on July 26, 1978. 3 killed and 1 seriously injured after a car fell from the ride.
Southern Cross 1977 1983 Six Flags Great America Gurnee, IL
Space Ride 1963 1967 Riverview Park Chicago, IL
Swiss Skyride 1964 1979 Fair Park/State Fair of Texas Dallas, TX Removed after accident, 1 killed
Union 76 Skyride 1962 1980 Century 21 Exposition Seattle, WA Ran at Seattle Center, relocated to Washington State Fair


The Mk II and Mk III monorail automated people mover (APM) systems were installed in a variety of locations before the technology was sold to Adtranz (later Bombardier), which continues to supply the parts for the monorail systems.

The monorail cars at Alton Towers theme park in England were built for Expo 86 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Von Roll also manufactured the old Sentosa Monorail in Sentosa Island, Singapore in 1982, which closed down in March 2005.

The Jurong Bird Park Panorail in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore is a four-car straddle-beam monorail that began operation in 1991 and ceased operations in 2012.

Australia has had a total of four Von Roll Monorail systems, currently two are still in operation. A Von Roll MkII system is in operation at Sea World theme park on the Gold Coast (first monorail in Australia which opened in 1986), whilst a MkIII Monorail system operates in nearby Broadbeach linking a shopping centre to a casino (opened 1989). Another MkIII Monorail system, the Metro Monorail, operated in Sydney, Australia linking the City Centre to Darling Harbour, however monorail services ceased on 30 June 2013[9] (it began operation on 21 July 1988).[10] A MkII Monorail system was also in operation during World Expo 88 held in Brisbane, Australia, with a loop around the expo site at Southbank. There is no trace of the monorail system at the site.

Space Towers

Cedar Point's Space Spiral, AstroWorld's Astroneedle and Coney's Space Tower were built by Willy Bühler Space Towers Company of Berne, Switzerland with cabins by Von Roll. In 1971 Intamin started marketing these towers and contracted these same companies to build them. Willy Bühler Space Towers was eventually acquired by Von Roll.

See also


  1. Von Roll Holding AG - This History of Von Roll
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tages-Anzeiger online (April 1, 2010): Der 10-millionste Fahrgast kommt aus Schweden
  3. "Swiss Envoy Invited To Cedar Point". Sandusky Register. April 16, 1962. p. 5. The Sky Ride was designed and built by the Von Roll Iron Works in Berne, Switzerland. Early next month Von Roll engineers will be at Cedar Point to supervise installation of the 1,300 foot long ride over the midway.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Mission Bay Adding Restaurant". The San Bernardino County Sun. March 12, 1967. p. B-18. The Sea World sky ride is being built by Von Roll, Ltd., of Berne, Switzerland, and will extend over water 1,410 feet each way between the Atlantis and Sea World. When completed in early May, the sky ride will represent an investment of $350,000.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Sky Buckets". Six Flags. 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Tampa's Busch Gardens now features 'sky ride'". The Daily Herald. Chicago, IL. May 7, 1974. p. Section 2-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "6 Flags Over Georgia Opening Set in June". The Gaffney Ledger. Gaffney, SC. March 1, 1967. p. 6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Ocean 'Ski Lift' to Open July 22 at Santa Monica". Valley News. Van Nuys, CA. June 12, 1958. p. C-15. Known as the Sky Ride, the ocean "ski-lift" will be one of the 50 major "ocean wonderland" attractions at Pacific Ocean Park...The Sky Ride's plastic bubbles are being built by Skycraft Industries, of Santa Monica, and all other parts of the lift are being constructed by Von Roll Iron Works of Berne, Switzerland.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Saleh, Lillian (22 June 2012). "Sydney monorail to make its final stop on 30 June next year". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia. Retrieved 25 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Churchman, Geoffrey B (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia and New Zealand. IPL Books. ISBN 0-646-06893-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links