Fatzer

18
Apr

2017

FATZER Produces 5.56 Million Meters of Steel Wire

Image by FATZER.

Image by FATZER.

As the world leader in the production of high performance passenger ropeway cables, the record-setting Zugspitze / Eibsee Ropeway in Germany has chosen to place its trust in FATZER. The Swiss company, located in Romanshorn, has a global reputation for delivering reliable, safe, and high quality products. 

To help the Zugspitze / Eibsee Ropeway reach Germany’s highest peak, six massive spools of steel rope were produced. Four full lock-coil track cables measuring in at 4,900m in length and 72mm in diameter were manufactured. In addition, two haul/propulsion cables measuring in at 4,610m in length, and 47mm and 41mm in diameter were also fabricated. For the entire project, 5.56 million meters of 1.85mm-4.22mm steel wires were twisted.

Designed with maximum safety and reliability in mind, each track cable was built with a nominal breaking strength of 6’772 kN, or 690 metric tons. And thanks to the installation of INTEGRA-DATA track ropes which integrate data transfer capabilities, the mountain and base stations can now communicate effectively with each other for decades to come. 

Given the enormous weight of each rope (153 tons), the static load was not suitable for some bridges and roadways via standard delivery methods. As such, FATZER worked closely with transporters to engineer a special logistical solution whereby the steel cables were distributed and transported over two carrying loads.

To learn more about FATZER, please click here


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Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on The Gondola Project.

22
Sep

2016

FATZER Opens State-of-the-Art Rope Production Facility

Production plant. Image by FATZER.

Production plant in Romanshorn, Switzerland. Image by FATZER.

FATZER, the world leader in steel wire rope manufacturing, has just completed its brand new 16,000m2/172,000ft2 production site.

While the site took a total of 6 years to complete, it was well worth the wait. The state-of-the-art facility now has the capacity to produce 15,000 tonnes of steel cables every year and is equipped with the canton of Thurgau’s largest photovoltaic plant!

Production Site. Image by FATZER.

Facility built using 4000 cubic meters of cast concrete, 2,394 tonnes of precast concrete and 670 tonnes of steel. Image by FATZER.

The new site will build on the legacy of the former production plant which was in operations for an incredible 180 years. This purpose built facility not only marks a new era for FATZER, but it has also enhanced its ability to produce larger and more advanced ropes.

The plant is now able to handle 100mm stranded wire ropes, 135mm full locked coil ropes and single cables weighing up to 200 tonnes. The new production site also offers great news for the urban cable transit market as it is equipped with the world’s fastest rope test system.

Ropes can be tested at speeds of up to 18 m/s (64 kph/40 mph), which is more than double the speed of the world’s fastest 3S gondola (8.5 m/s or 30kph/19mph). Alongside its impressive suite of specially designed cables for urban applications — PERFORMA DT and OCTURA — this testing device and new facility undoubtedly demonstrates FATZER’s dedication to innovation and cements its position as the world’s preeminent rope manufacturer.



Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on Gondola Project.

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06
Jun

2016

Fatzer Proves That Cable Cars Deserve Tons More Respect

One argument cynics like to use against urban gondolas is that they are for tourist purposes only and not a “legitimate” form of infrastructure robust enough to heft thousands of passengers to and fro, daily.

Phu Quoc - Hon Thom Track Ropes. Image by Fatzer.

Phu Quoc – Hon Thom Track Ropes. Image from Fatzer.

Well, Fatzer is currently producing a quiet counterargument of record-breaking proportions that’s hard to ignore. The world’s longest 3S cable car — ~8km long — is now under construction and scheduled to open in early 2017.

3S Alignment. Image from Doppelmayr.

3S gondola connecting Phú Quốc Hòn Thơm. Image from Doppelmayr.

This incredible aerial lift is located near the Gulf of Thailand and connects the tropical islands of Phú Quốc and Hòn Thơm in southern Vietnam. These islands with their sandy-white beaches were once isolated and impoverished but are now experiencing an injection of investment as the cable car will help complement the island’s plan to host 2-3 million visitors by 2020.

To accomplish the monumental ropeway project, Fatzer was chosen was as the cable manufacturer and produced six massive spools of rope.

Two 52mm haul cables at 8,282m each are now complete and weigh in at 94 tons per spool!

Equally (or even more impressive) was the manufacturing of four 58mm track cables which will be used to provide additional support for the cabins. Each track cable weighs 178 tons and is 8,275m in length!

These ropes will help propel and support the cable car’s seventy 30-person cabins. Assuming the average city bus can carry around 50 people, that’s the equivalent of 42 public transit buses in operation all at one time.

Phu Quoc - Hon Thom Track Ropes 2

Image from Fatzer.

In total, Fatzer produced 900 tons and close to 50km (31mi) of cold, hard cable! 

Comparatively speaking, that’s roughly the equivalent weight of about 180 elephants and the length of 500 soccer fields. If that isn’t impressive enough, several record-breaking bobbins measuring in at 4.4m x 4.6m were specially crafted to hold and transport the massive cables!

These steel track cables are designed with optical fibres in their core which enables them to transmit information between stations. Before being transported, all the cables were subjected to enormous safety testing onsite at Fatzer’s main plant in Switzerland.

With projects like the Gulf of Thailand Cable Car, Fatzer demonstrates that the future of the cable car industry is safe and in capable hands.

Click on the following links to learn more about Fatzer ropeway cables which include the Stabilo® rope and Performa rope.



Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on Gondola Project.

 

Fatzer
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04
Dec

2015

“Rope Is Just Rope, Isn’t It?” (Fatzer’s Surprisingly Different Stabilo® Rope)

Stabilo rope's reliability and load capacity make it ideal for gondola, 2S and 3S cableways.

Stabilo rope’s reliability and load capacity make it ideal for MDG, BDG and 3S cableways.

Wondering whether choice of rope really matters? Look at it this way: If you were responsible for building a tram in your city, wouldn’t you want to know all you could about the track?

Awhile back, the Gondola Project posted an article about the often-overlooked issue of the weight-bearing cable or “rope” is it’s known in this, the “ropeway” industry. The gist of the story was that choosing the wrong rope, or leaving it to the last minute, can be inconvenient at best and extremely expensive or even unsafe at worst.

Today, we begin to examine Fatzer’s individual rope products, used for ropeways worldwide — this first one is Stabilo®. Fatzer ensures us that the differences between the products are subtle but important. Having produced literally thousands of miles of rope for transporting people in cable cars and chairlifts, they know what they’re talking about.

Most rope changes significantly with use, but not Stabilo. It remains, well, stable.

All ropes are made up of many wound strands of wire. Often, those strands are wound round a core of different materials. After the rope is put into use, the rope continually bends at the ropeway’s wheels. Friction from contact with the between strands of wire creates minute notches on them. The notches begin rubbing against each other, eventually breaking the wire.

Polyethylene core stabilizes movement and reduces elongation. (Photo from Fatzer.com)

Polyethylene core stabilizes movement and reduces elongation. (Photo from Fatzer.com)

Furthermore, with repeated cycles the strands quickly begin settling. Eventually they work their way into the core, changing it, narrowing its diameter and elongating the rope. The entire set of issues lessens the life expectancy of the rope.

Fatzer’s solution? Stabilize the core and prevent contact between the wire strands.

A Stabilo rope’s interior is filled with a polyethylene core rod, which is heated during the formation process. What results are compressed and minuscule layers of plastic between the strands, which are now kept separate at a uniform distance. So there’s a stable diameter at the core of the rope, for a weight-bearing cable that is less prone to stretching and, therefor, longer lasting.

The ideal applications for Stabilo ropes are continuously circling cableways, which demand longer and uninterrupted performance. All ropes stretch, though. Eventually even Stabilo requires maintenance for shortening (and ultimately replacement). Stabilo is the right choice for a ropeway that can only be halted at specified, predictable periods. Learn more here.

Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on Gondola Project.

Design Considerations / Fatzer / Lessons / Technology
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29
Oct

2015

The Logistics of Transporting a Fatzer Rope

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.



Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on Gondola Project.

* 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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Cable Transit Industry / Fatzer
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25
Sep

2015

History Repeats Itself in Cycles: Fatzer Ropes

 

La Paz Linea Roja urbane Seilbahn-5 klein

Fatzer ropes doing the heavy lifting in La Paz

In a world of pliable brands that lend their name to nearly anything, Fatzer remains focused on doing what it has always done. The company has been creating rope since 1836 and steel wire cable since around 1900. Imagine trying to compete with so many generations of insider know-how. Imagine to break tight bonds between Fatzer rope engineers and the leading, close-by ropeway engineers, at the heart (the Alp triangle of Switzerland, Austria, South Tyrol/Italy and Savoy/France) of ropeway technology, where all state-of-art ropeways ever have been and still are engineered.

“When you do one thing really, really well, like aerial wire rope for ropeways and cable cars it’s hard for competitors to keep up,” says Daniel Graf, Fatzer’s Head of Transportation Wire Rope.

It Starts With Rigourous, Extended Testing

Every new Fatzer rope is tested on an improbably short ropeway at the company’s manufacturing site in Romanshorn Switzerland. Their engineers run the ropes at variable tension loads and exceptionally high speeds, unlike anything they would ever experience in the real world. The testing continues around the clock for weeks, sometimes months.

With the two stations just a few dozen metres apart and the constant bending and straightening of the rope, the effect is like a gondola system on steroids. The ropes quickly pass tens of thousands of cycles. So the Fatzer engineers quickly learn the life expectancy of a given product, whether wire rope, splice connection or rope pulleys and sheaves.

The testing goes beyond spinning the rope through cycles. “Everything that comes into contact with the rope, is tested,” says Graf, “and clients do appreciate that.”

Quality of Relationships and Trust of Their Clients

Graf is quick to add that a quality product is only table stakes in the ropeway game. “We know our business inside out”, but also makes a point of knowing our clients’ businesses inside out too. And there is the Fatzer wire rope at play: meeting not only written specs but the customer’s practical needs.

“When you understand what your client needs, you can recommend a solution that saves them big money,” says Graf. Such knowledge of their clients’ business is more essential than ever these days when use of urban ropeways in metropolitan areas is rapidly expanding worldwide.

As an example, he talks of clients in Barcelona created a win-win when they put in a rope with Fatzer’s Performa rope. Here’s what Fatzer client Mr. Carlos Sanchez said: “Bullwheel and sheave linings wear is significantly decreased, to appreciably prolong the useful life of such wear parts. Consequently, it demands lower power consumption due to the lower friction of the rope with all different rolling elements.”

The client satisfaction went further. “Concerning rope stretch is very low, allowing the installation to operate without costly downtime for rope shortening work. In our case, the Telefèric de Montjuïc, after 22,000 hours of operation, needed no resplice yet.”

The Performa rope is so effective for urban ropeway use, it was awarded a Red Dot Design Award earlier this year.

 

Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on Gondola Project.

 

Fatzer
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04
Sep

2015

FATZER’S PERFORMA-DT ROPE POSITIONED TO CAPTURE THE URBAN MARKET

Designed right, ropeway technology makes an excellent complement to urban transit. Naturally, a crucial element of that right ropeway design must be the rope itself. In this article, we’d like to look at which rope could suit crowded cities best.

Among the many issues designers need to consider, environmental impact steals the headlines at the planning stages, but maintenance time and costs — all of the inevitable downtime — is what people notice later. The right rope will help at both stages.

So what does an urban environment require? Firstly, you should choose a rope that can travel at high speeds and carry a great deal of weight for long hours. All ropes gradually wear and eventually need to be replaced. To minimize downtime, the key is to select one that lasts longer. You also want to consider a rope that lessens the environmental impact.

The only product we know of that fulfills these needs and was specifically designed for city use is the Performa-DT® from FATZER®. Earlier this year, it was recognized for its innovativeness in design with a Red Dot Award.

So what makes Performa-DT right for urban gondolas? Its reduced vibrations, noise and elongation — in short, performance.

First there’s the speed and strength. The initials DT are short for detachable. This rope is specifically designed for gondolas or chairlifts that detach in the station. The net benefit? The rope needn’t slow while the gondola car unloads and fills up with passengers. (Its smaller-in-diameter sister product, Performa rope, was designed for those automatic people movers you see mainly in airports, which are clamped and do not detach.)

Next there’s endurance. Any transit system requires regular maintenance but that means downtime. Part of your cable car system’s maintenance retinue entails switching the ropes when they’ve reached their best-before date.

All ropes wear but, according to its producers, the Performa-DT should last from 2.5 to 3 times longer than a typical rope.

“Normally a rope stretches slightly each year,” says Daniel Graf, Head of Transportation Ropes at Fatzer. “Performa stretches far less. Therefor there is no need for a shortening of the rope in the first year. We call this ‘reduced settlement’.”

The company has its own ropeway test installation in Romanshorn Switzerland, where they perform ‘cycle testing’. Looking like a complete mini gondola system, which they call the world’s fastest ropeway in this video, the installation contains two full-sized bull wheels just metres apart. Its producers can accelerate a given rope’s ending cycles — that is, when the rope needs to be replaced — by testing it on this very short system. Consider. The greatest amount of wear and tear on a rope happens when it cycles past the bullwheel, bending the metal fibres and plastic. Bending then straightening it 24/7 at high speeds for months, they learn its strengths, weaknesses and length of life.

Of course, then there’s the real world. How does the Performa-DT perform here?

In 2014, Barcelona replaced its Teleferic de Montjuic ropeway with an appropriately gauged Performa-DT. The results have made for an excellent before/after case study. The clients recently reported the elongation was has been very low and “after 22,000 hours of operation, we need not provide for a shortening of the rope.”

But what about the aforementioned environmental benefits?

Taking cars off roads and putting their riders into electric powered gondolas is one obvious environmental plus of ropeway technology, but there other considerations in urban environments. A big one is noise. The ambient hum of a ropeway is far preferable to the loud revving of a passing diesel bus — but the Performa-DT goes further, lessening that hum considerably.

In Barcelona, “Vibrations caused by the rope passage on line sheaves is considerably reduced. It is particularly noticeable in the absence of vibrations in the towers structures and increasing the comfort of the cabins.” Which makes for happier riders.

However, the vibration and hum are part of a larger issue too: expended energy through friction. Again in Barcelona, “bullwheels and sheaves linings wear is decreased. It consequently brings lower power consumption due to the lower friction of the rope with all different rolling elements.”

How would it fare your city?

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