29
Oct

2015

The Logistics of Transporting a Fatzer Rope

Post by Advertorial Team

Using rope slings, a crane transports the fast-secured drum bearing 23.2 metric tons of cable bound for Korea.

Using rope slings, a crane transports the fast-secured drum bearing 23.2 metric tons of cable bound for Korea.

Recently we talked about Fatzer’s rope performance and the issue of replacing the cable on existing gondola infrastructure. We used Barcelona’s Montjuïc Cable Car as an example, quoting this client of Fatzer’s thorough satisfaction with the performance of their city’s new rope. But we didn’t consider the delivery that rope. Barcelona is over 1,000km away Fatzer’s facilities in Switzerland.

Obviously delivery is a vital part of the complicated process of getting a gondola working — but until now overlooked. We wondered just what that process really entails.

First we wanted to know how Fatzer communicates with clients around the globe — they all speak different languages — and second, just how do they deliver the ropes?


Consider the communication and transportation-safety issues.

“We communicate in their own language if we can,” says Fatzer’s logistics expert Patrick Schrämli. “If that’s not possible, we communicate in English.”

The 752-metre cable for Barcelona was delivered by truck. During transport, the rope’s very weight and how it’s wound combined forces to help keep it from prematurely unspooling. Additionally the rope was fixed onto its drum with wires and wooden wrapping. On top of all that went metal straps. The drum was lifted onto the truck with rope slings, then tightly secured before the long journey began.

That may seem like a big logistical challenge, but two times recently Fatzer delivered huge rope drums to Korea. That’s an extra 8,000km farther than the trip to Barcelona. Needless to say, those ropes did not go by truck (at least not all the way).

So heavy was this bound rope, the Fatzer team had to drive it to an airport in the next country!

This bound rope was so heavy, the Fatzer team had to drive it to an airport in the next country!

If not by truck, how did Fatzer actually delivery the ropes?

The first delivery was back in May. “The logistics experts at Fatzer had to provide an express solution,” says Alexander Strauch, Fatzer’s Head of Marketing & Communications. “The 650-meter-long, eight-strand OCTURA rope was shipped by air from Zurich directly to Korea.” The total weight was 4.6 metric tons.

Sometimes numbers can confuse rather than clarify things, so consider: By our rough calculations, this drum of wound rope totaled over a third of the weight of the passengers on a fully peopled Airbus A300*.

That too seems like an impressive shipment until you learn of the next, executed just a few weeks ago. Fatzer flew another rope to Korea but this one weighed 23.2 metric tons. That’s nearly the weight of all the 400 passengers on a fully loaded 747.

This time “the rope was simply too heavy to be dealt with at Zurich airport” says Schrämli. Instead it had to be transported by truck over 600km farther to Vienna, Austria. There, the rope was moved from the truck to the plane by crane — overseen by the airport’s specialists, who are used to such logistical freight challenges. Once the plane arrived in Korea, Fatzer’s client took over responsibility for its transport.

“Deliveries by air are exceptions” for Fatzer says Schrämli. “We normally transport our ropes by truck (Europe) or sea (overseas). The heaviest rope we handled recently was 145 metric tons.”

That’s over a third of the weight of an empty 747.

In Korea, Fatzer’s client will meet the shipment, having arranged transport from there.

In Korea, Fatzer’s client will meet the shipment, having arranged transport from there.



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* According to Wikipedia, the average European weighs 70.8 kg. So if an Airbus A300 were filled to its capacity of 200* passengers without luggage, those flyers would add just over 14 metric tons (link).

 

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