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Safety is top priority in the ropeways

Tragic ropeways accidents such as the one on the Fallboden chairlift at Kleine Scheidegg, in the Bernese Oberland region, on 3 January 2008, with one dead and three seriously injured, as well as in January 1992 in Nassfeld, Austria with four dead and nine seriously injured, was the trigger for the realization of this project.

Strong wind gusts in the Kleinen Scheidegg and a ropeway technical flaw in Nassfeld had caused the derailment of the cable – in both cases the cable catcher failed and the cable crashed down.

As keen skiers, we were very dismayed at the news and shocked at the fact that such accidents can still occur in this technological day and age.

Our research into ropeways technology quickly confirmed that the problem of unsafe cable catchers in the one-cable ropeways has been known for a long time. Cable catchers according to today’s state of the art are a weak spot in the ropeways. They are small and designed rather like a playground slide. In the case of a derailment, the superimposed cable oscillations and the enormous kinetic energy occurring in the falling cable are not damped and the cable is free running.

Our team of physicists, engineers and programmers developed a virtual mono-cable ropeway 2000 meters in length and a 500 meters difference in height and 100 cabins (hanging on the cable) for computer simulations, as well as a complex algorithm fort he analysis oft he cable oscillations and the calculation of the kinetic energy in a cable derailment.

A cable derailment can create a kinetic energy of over 1.5 MJ (megajoules), which is approximately the same energy released by the detonation of a hand grenade.

The results of our research and development is the ARTI cable catcher 3PA-Technology, based on a solution which provides an increased level of safety against cable crashes in a cable derailment.

For the research and development of this project we hired technical universities and institutions of international reputation, and it took over five years in demanding.

For the cooperation, to each involved person, a big THANK YOU!

B.R.

A safety milestone in the history of mono-cable ropeways.

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