Game, Set and Lapp...

It is said that the only 2 certainties in life are “Death & Taxes”, however for many years you could also add that rain would stop play at the `summer` Wimbledon tennis tournament, but now due to the new retractable roof this in no longer true.


The All England Lawn Tennis Club wanted to increase the Centre Court’s capacity and install a retractable roof. Due to the lack of space, a traditional sliding roof would not have been feasible, so architects developed a concertina folding design. The next difficulty to overcome was how to mobilise such a large structure, so SCX Special Projects Ltd were called upon to solve the issue.


The roof is designed using 100 tonne trusses which span the 77m wide court and supports approximately 5200m² of roofing membrane, lighting and ventilation equipment.

Roof 2

214 motor-driven parts control the roof, all automated to work in unison, meaning the 1000 tonne roof can be fully deployed at the push of a button. To ensure all that happens without fault, the electrical cable had to be highly flexible for the movement of the roof as well as withstanding the elements of the weather. The Lapp range of Polyurethane FD cables were chosen for the power and control side due to the high flexibility of the class 6 stranding and the low adhesion all weather outer sheath of polyurethane. To ensure the motors were controlled and moved in unison with each other the Lapp Servo FD cable range were used which combines both power and control all within one cable which reduces the number of cables required and time to install.


As this tennis tournament is being televised throughout the world, risk of the roof not closing is obviously not an option so it is imperative that the cabling has been tested and can withstand the rigours of the weather and the continual flexing. The Lapp range of FD cables were deemed suitable due to the testing of the flexibility and achieving over 5 million cycles under test conditions.


To find out more about the projects carried out by SCX visit their website www.scx.co.uk