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Moving retractable roof of world's largest free-spanning dome stadium

Supplier: MHE-Demag Australia
14 October, 2014

Local engineering company MHE-Demag provided the roof-moving solutions for Singapore's latest architectural first: the new Singapore Sports Hub stadium.

It is also the largest free-spanning dome stadium in the world, spanning across 312m.

MHE-Demag supplied the moving mechanism for the retractable roof system, able to carry the 2200 tonne load – that's close to moving the weight of 1833 cars.

The roof movement can be controlled precisely down to the very millimetre. It takes approximately 20 minutes to fully open or close the roof.


Singapore Sports Hub Stadium can house up to 55,000 spectators.


With a potential audience of 55,000 spectators below the roof mechanism had to comply with the strictest of safety standards. Safety features include primary and back-up sensors and an anti-skewing system that ensure a maximum skew position difference of only 35mm between any of the five trusses that support the movable roof.

The brakes keep the movable roof panels locked in their desired location. Designed with the fail safe principle, the claws of the storm-brake system used close automatically when power is interrupted.


The inward mechanics of MHE-Demag's roof-moving technology.


MHE-Demag technology used all over Singapore

Established in Singapore in 1972, MHE-Demag's technology is used across the island: from the cranes you'll see on its MRT line construction sites, to the building maintenance units that are used to keep the city's iconic structures – including Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay – in pristine condition.

MHE-Demag's team of engineers worked with Arup Associates and Dragages Singapore to bring this world-class project to fruition. The team overcame the technical challenges of the project, building on previous projects including gondola system for Gardens by the Bay and adjustable platforms for the Event Plaza of Marina Bay Sands.

"The testing and commissioning of the retractable roof was extremely demanding. Everyone was required to deploy on the roof to clear obstacles and monitor the movement of wheel bogies to ensure a smooth and accident-free roof movement," Patrick Chin, team leader on the Sports Hub project, said.

"It was impressively successful and got all staff on site excited and satisfied with the positive outcome after spending numerous sleepless nights at the roof."

After the successful installation of the roof, its activation is via a single start button inside the Event Control Room.


 The roof consists of two panels, each weighing around 1100 tons.


Moving 2200 tonnes of roof

The retractable roof is designed to block out sunlight and rain to provide shelter during sport events. It is made of a lightweight material and weather-resistant.

The retractable roof consists of two panels (north and south facing). Each panel weighs about 1100 tons and is seated on 20 load transferred wheel bogies, located evenly on five steel trusses.

The driving mechanism consists of 16 line pull winches, 32 holding storm-brakes, energy chains and an advanced electrical control systems. Each of the 16 winches is equipped with two independent inverter drive motors.

The greatest engineering challenge came in aligning the trusses and wheel bogies of the huge retractable roof within a tight and acceptable tolerance.