Helping Great Wolf Go with the Flow

A popular chain of family resort hotels, Great Wolf Lodge is known for its indoor water parks and kid-friendly attractions. While the company has expanded its reach since it was founded in 1997, one of the very first locations is situated right in Windemuller’s backyard, Traverse City, Michigan. When the water park required control center upgrades for its existing soft starter buckets, Great Wolf Lodge called on our team to handle the update.

The Challenge

For the project, Traverse City’s Great Wolf Lodge wanted to replace 11 Motor Control Center (MCC) soft starter buckets with Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). The buckets in question feed motors ranging in size from 7.5 horsepower to 40 horsepower, which in turn power the park’s water slides, lazy river, and water features. Since the MCC buckets are responsible for running the pump motors in the water park, the project was impossible to complete while the park was actually in operation. Some of these motors must run constantly to maintain water levels in the swimming pools, among other functions. As such, when Windemuller got the contract for the job, we were free to begin building a plan for the project, but had to wait several months for a park shutdown before we could carry out the actual bucket replacements.

The Solution

After months of planning, the moment finally arrived for our crews to spring into action. Each autumn, Great Wolf Lodge schedules a facility-wide shutdown to do maintenance work and implement improvements. This shutdown was our opening to replace the 11 MCC buckets without worrying about affecting water park operations or upsetting guests. We worked quickly to swap out the old, worn-out soft starter buckers with brand-new buckets containing VFDs, making sure to finish all our work before the park was set to resume operations. The new VFDs will reduce Great Wolf Lodge’s energy usage and save the hotel money, all by allowing the pump motors throughout the water park to run at slower speeds. In addition, Great Wolf Lodge received rebates from local utility provider Cherryland Electric for the upgrade, making the project even more worthwhile.

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