Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Random Facts: Chairlifts

Have you ever been riding a ski lift and wondered how it holds all that weight? Especially after we all had those cheeseburgers for lunch? Or have you ever wondered how the cable stays on track? Here are some random facts about the operation of a chairlift.

The sag in the haul rope between towers is called catenary.

There is a counterweight attached to the bullwheel which keeps the correct amount of tension on the haul rope.

Load Tests typically involve putting on more weight than the lift would sustain in normal operation. The lift's capacity to start, stop, and prevent rollback is tested.

There is an auxiliary motor that runs on gas or diesel to allow the lift to run in the event of a power failure or problem with the main motor.

A brittle bar is located on the towers and is connected to a safety circuit. It will detect a cable coming off the wheels and automatically shut the lift down. A brittle fork is located on the counterweight. Basically if anything touches them they will break- causing the safety circuit to open and the lift to stop.

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