Transporting bulky loads gliding over Mount Titlis
Friday February 08, 2013
Electric chain hoists secure underload transportation on cable car cabins
Every year "Titlis Rotair", the revolving aerial cable car cabins, transport thousands of tourists to the world-famous panoramic viewing point in central Switzerland. Almost unnoticed, but of crucial importance for the provision of the mountain infrastructure, are the underload transport operations of bulky goods which use state-of-the-art electric chain hoists. This case study shows how this delicate logistics task is solved safely and reliably.
The company Bergbahnen Engelberg-Trübsee-Titlis AG, in short Titlis Rotair, with its annual revenues of around CHF 50 million, is one of the biggest mountain railway companies in Switzerland. Depending on the season between 200 and 300 people work there. Every year tourists from across the world are transported up to the famous summit. The roots of Titlis Rotair date back to 1911 when building work started in Engelberg on a funicular railway up to the Gerschnialp.
Heavy loads glide up the mountain
A tourist mountain infrastructure must be installed, maintained and supplied. Therefore bulky and heavy loads have to be transported over great heights. The valley floor in Engelberg lies at 1050 metres above sea level and the Titlis glacier at over 3000 metres. In summer the first 200 metres or so of altitude up to the Gerschnialp are covered by lorry, but from here things can only glide up to the summit. Aerial cable cars run to Trübsee, then on to the Stand intermediate station and then finally up to Titlis. Each of these three aerial cable car sections has one cabin equipped with four state-of-the-art electric chain hoists for underload transportation. Suspended to them is a flat container which carries a wide range of goods such as building materials and consumables.
Secure synchronous lifting
To pick up the transportation goods the cabin first of all moves a little out of the station and positions itself above the prepared flat container. Then all four hooks are lowered, attached to the eye hooks and each chain is pulled taut. Now the flat container can be gently lifted by the four synchronously operating load chains. The four electric chain hoists can be controlled individually or together by the ergonomic operating console. The operator is located safely in the cabin above and can observe all the proceedings at all times through a floor hatch. Power is fed to the electric chain hoists using a cable and CE-plug connection from the valley or summit station, as no power supply during the period of travel is required. The control unit, steering control and connector cable always remain in the cabin.
Underload transportation with tradition
For nearly thirty years from spring to autumn goods have been transported up the mountain using this method. During the whole summer season the reliable lift aids hang outside on the base of the cabin. In winter the several metres of accumulated snow outside the stations make the underload transportations impossible. However, this situation does not present a problem since most building work is carried out in summer and many items can be stored on-site for the main season. Everything else can be transported all year round inside the cabins.
Two cable car cabins are shortly to be equipped with state-of-the-art single-strand GCH electric chain hoists from the company GIS. They will be replacing their rather dated two-stranded predecessors from the same manufacturer. Each with a maximum load capacity of 1600 kg, together they lift flat containers up to a total weight of 5,000 kg. Two lifting speeds with a soft stop ensure careful, secure and economic handling. Chain lengths up to 20 metres enable loads to be picked up and set down as required at locations other than at the summit and valley stations.
Uninterrupted operations are of the utmost importance to Titlis Rotair, therefore high standards are applied to all rail components. This covers both the transportation of people and of goods and the GIS transport solution has proven its worth for many years in harsh implementation conditions. The use of standard components ensures a high level of spare part availability. However, if a chain hoist does break down it can be replaced easily and quickly by another one. The high quality of the Swiss products reassures customers and a collaborative partnership with the lifting specialists from Schötz builds trust and confidence. Therefore it is planned to also adapt the revolving cabin – the jewel in the crown of the top cable car section – to the latest generation of these lifting aids
Author: Arthur Kemény, GIS AG, +41 41 984 11 33, email@example.com