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Electric Motors/Mountain Cable Construction Process.

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Mountain Cable Car 2
Mountain Cable Car 2  
Mountain Cable Car 1
Mountain Cable Car 1  
QUESTION: Dear Will

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_Mountain_Aerial_Cableway
http://tablemountain.net/
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/scariest-cable-car-rides/20841
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIrLZYnmHBc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veGA_pzoeNc

Require some inputs from your end regarding the technical specifications, engineering mechanics behind the construction /manufacturing process of Mountain Cable Car.

Inputs : Cable Type, Electrical Power requirements, Motor Type,  Load carrying capacity determination of the Riders,Manufacturing Process of Mountain Cable Car, Cable Points Location
Start (Bottom) and End (Mountain Top) point of the Journey, Cable laying/fixing methods etc.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: I will be honest and say I have only repaired one cable type ski device in my career. Located in Kansas City, there are not a lot of mountains to ski down.

However, there is one Ski Company up just north that has a lift, snow makers, blowers, the entire process for making snow,  or hoping for rare amounts of real snow.

I have done a ton of new engineering work for the Federal Government,  and reverse engineering work,  plus one of our main customer groups is passenger elevators.  

While a device you are asking about is different, there are overlapping design features in both.

My work with the Ski Company has been limited to repair of their lift, blowers, etc,   

A ton of issues are involved plus a ton of options. I know of so many types of people lifting devices it is impossible to list here,   but they run from hydraulic, to direct drive, to geared drive, to one building that is 4 stories, completely off the grid,  [with grid backup]  it is on the surface very basic,  solar panels to batteries to inverters to the drives to the motors,  but it it impressive,    

Are you building, designing these lifts or this device yourself?  I am sure there are canned packages, but apparently you are going another direction,  do I have the concept correct?

I am interested in this because it is a bit different coming from scratch,   but I have over 35 years of experience in all types of motors and devices from fractional complex drives, to huge ball mills.

I am really interested in knowing  and I think I understand,  you are going to build this yourself,   or General Contract the procurement and install?

You mention all the engineering and obvious needs.  There are no specifics,  and specifics change with of course, distance, load, duty cycle, local codes, etc.

I would assume you have looked at "canned" packages and probably choked on the costs,  can you give me anymore on the specifics?

I have access to many lift engineering,  we also repair common hoists,  tower cranes, even hand operated chain hoists.

So if I could have some more specifics,  such as you want to build this yourself, how to start, because I could ramble on and not be of any help talking in general terms.

Without specifics I will mention a few things for you to consider,  some may seem too simple but all should be considered:

Three phase power, the higher the voltage the better,  generated power, or grid power,  solar, wind, power generation from natural gas, what is available, what are you thinking,  back up power,  I wonder about linear type drives [motors]  those are used on so many attractions and roller coaster type devices,  low maintenance, ease of access, either way,  distance is a consideration,   is this a lift that needs to go from top to bottom without stops, or can you break it up in lengths?

Every day or every week I visit an install, where for some reason there was a complete lack of planning,    8 6 ton elevator lifts, 30 stories up, and not one access method to remove in case of a complete and total failure,    hospitals are famous for putting surgery operations on a floor above ground level,    why they do this I will never understand,  the gurneys are oversized,  the equipment attached has to move,  and if that elevator fails,  all hell breaks lose,    why not put the surgery on ground level,  the rest can be transparent to anyone,  but brand new hospitals  with ONE elevator car that is large enough to hold the massive size of a gurney and attachments, not to mention people,     

Ease of access to all components must be part of your thinking,   nothing lasts forever,  but much is built as though they thought it would,

If I cannot be a help in suggesting what to do, I know I can help telling you what not to do, or plan for in advance.

Whatever powers a device of this kind,  be it a motor and pump, 5000 HP electric motor,  often are not properly installed,  the sub base is not well thought out,  balance, alignment, natural frequencies that can be excited nearby,  I have watch huge drivers [motors etc] rock and shake,  from poor sub footings,  pipe binding, just a huge list that is not hard to prevent, but often is not,  correct alignment,  slower speeds and higher voltages are always better if talking electric drivers, motors of any type,        

I see some advantages in breaking a long lift into sections or stations, as you are not dependent on one single power plant or drive for the operation,  duplicating the same interchangeable equipment in say,   three sections,     where as opposed to one 300 HP drive,  you only have to deal with three 100 HP drives,

  I know nothing about the marketing,  or expectations of the ski industry,  but I have been on lifts that stop at preselected heights, with amenities or add on sales,  in food, beverages, view, breaks for the skiers,   so on,  

I can provide a vast amount of data on motors, KVA, so on,   and be specific once the load is determined,   safety features,  all of that.

I am thinking out loud, but in most cases, where it is commercial or industrial, the better design, does not lock the owner into dependency on one piece of equipment.

In the example of one 300 HP drive versus three 100 HP drives,  I already see a huge reduction in wire size,  [a repair on a huge cable to power a 300 HP drive is going to be much more complex and expensive than a repair to a 100 HP power cable.

Interchangeable components,  simplicity, manageability, all these factors have to be considered in the overall plan.

Do you want a single lift with no stops to the top,  is that a more profitable scenario, by lifting as many as possible all at once, or it is potentially more profitable by going a distance to a landing,  providing add on sales in whatever from gift shops to bars,  those kind of profit plans are something I have no knowledge in.

Nothing I mentioned was to scale or intended to be,  only conceptually.

So you might come back and say I want to take X car X distance and back down.

Is this a manned operation,  is it better to have a payroll but have the ability to use the operator as a sales tool,  plus a sense of security for your customers, a sense of nostalgia, or is it better to simply program the unit to go, stop, and return?

You gave me a lot to look at,  and I will have some conversations with some of my passenger elevator engineers,  and get their thoughts,      

If it is just hard data,  that should be available locally,  but I can give you suggestions on manufacturers,  warranty, dependability,   so on,,       

Let me look through your links, and if you would or can, provide some part of the business plan concept,  I understand that is proprietary and do not need specific details,  but I do need to know how you picture this lift, its function,  be it a simple up and down or is it visioned as an attraction?   

I have road both,  I have been a visitor and done nothing but road a lift, because it had some sort or other attraction, destination, so on.

I have road lifts to go to dinner,  to go ski,  have been dropped off a site where a wedding was in progress,  vendors were roaming the area.

So if I knew just some of your thinking of the big picture, I can help with suggestions, types of drives so on,  power delivery, backup generators,  grid, non grid.  A lot to consider,  and I am sure you have your vision,  so whatever you can tell me,  as far as being close in the capacity,  distance,  so on,   any local regulations I need to know.

I will get back to you after looking this over, and hopefully I can get an idea of what you want as concept,  to clarify the direction I would research.

EMR Repair In Kansas City Missouri, is one of my Companies,  we perform on site balancing, vibration problems and repair,     service@emrrepair.com   phone number to EMR is 816-587-3930 Joe Hartley is the Operations Manager for all things involving balance, vibration, from fans to anything that turns,    I will do most reverse design work,    and we have been very successful with repairs and solutions others have failed with,   please feel free to use the company email or phone,    but I will get back with you after reviewing all of this.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Will

Thank you.

Reference
----------

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/new-mountain-cableway-opens-2008-09-26
http://gondolaproject.com/2011/09/26/exploring-the-thames-cable-car-costs/

Also require your inputs if Cable Car Systems or Aerial Tramway are implemented in Urban or Rural Areas as a alternate transport media for People traveling every day by Train, Car i.e. Road to different destinations.

i.e. if this systems are manufactured , implemented and installed, what could be the merits and demerits or Pros and Cons ?

Input Parameters : Cost, System Feasibility, Number of Passengers, Speed, Distance Covered, Safety Requirements etc

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: This a huge engineering project.  People movers are always full of rules, liability,  so on.

For your sake,  you need an on site feasibility study,  from a professional engineer familiar with your local codes and laws.

I can help you with specifics, lengths of cables, power that kind of thing,  once all the parameters, location,  use, purpose, so on are known,  but we are a way away from that.

Cost, ROI and all that are not something I could even give you a fair guess on.

And my experience with anything that involves moving people is not something that can be done by email or long distance communications.

Wish I could be more help but for now, your best bet and safe bet is to find a qualified engineer for a site visit and feasibility study.

Once all the those options are known,  the nuts and bolts of the project are meaningless.

I am not sure, but you might try a different category on allexperts,  there are engineers,  and hopefully one or two will have some insights I simply do not have at this very basic starting point,  



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Will

Thank you.

As a personal opinion and view from your side, Do you feel the Cable Car Systems manufacturing, installation/implementation, maintenance etc costs taking into consideration installed in Suitable Urban Areas locations can provide a Good alternative Transport for people compared with Train, Road vehicles, Ships transit in near future ?.

Reference
---------

http://gondolaproject.com/2011/09/26/exploring-the-thames-cable-car-costs/


Can this Systems with the Latest technologies available could provide a effective transport mechanism ?

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
As far as a cable car type system in replacement of existing public transportation,  even with the advances in technology for the drivers [motors-engines]  I doubt it would be a viable replacement.

I say that because we had cable cars in this country for years, and all but locations like San Francisco still have them,  and actually I think they are more a novelty than a necessary mode of transportation.

If you have never been to the cable car museum in San Francisco,  and you are considering investing in, or spending the time to attempt to gain capital to investigate such a venture, it would be a worthwhile trip. The museum is not only a museum but the actual cable car hub with the drive motors and cables entering and exiting the building.

The one advantage to cable cars are the ease of access for the healthy,   as the cable simply does not stop,  the cable runs, and if there is any braking at all, the individual car releases the clamp down on the cable,  but there is some system of knowing what car is behind and how long a slow down or stop can take place easily.

Second I believe that that handicapped laws are somewhat grandfathered, it would impossible to run a set of cable cars and be handicap compliant.  I realize that handicapped should have access but we live in weird world,   there could be other options,  but we as a "society"  seem to have gone off the edge of common sense.

I am not sure what your goals are,  it seems to me you are looking for an alternative to buses and other public transportation,  which is an honorable goal.

HOWEVER,   when I look at the bus system here in Kansas City Missouri,  there is not one full bus, ever, in any part of town, at anytime of day.

I believe that is a personal preference where the individual prefers the freedom and also requires the freedom of personal transportation of some kind.

Not that thinking in the "big picture" is a bad thing, but the larger the total project, the costs would be out of sight,   there would be reasons for every possible problem from environment to heaven knows what, real or imagined.

If I think you are considering going where I think you are going,  unless you are younger than 20, by the time you put up all the fights to even begin such a project, you would be too old or dead to ever see the fruits of your labor.

I don't want to be a wet rag on innovation, but a cable car system as opposed to existing public transportation,  would have every idiot in the world finding a reason to protest it.

Now in reality,  if you had a system of cable that I would  spiral through an urban area,  in other words I would have an outer loop,  which simply spiraled down  to the central cable pull facility,  which if logistics allowed and the distance between the loops would cover the entire area,  and foot transportation would be possible for the gaps.

Rental bicycles could be offered at intervals, along with small scooters, Lit C-1 two wheeler, Segways, Sebtvee, horse drawn carriages,  as opposed to walking.

If you have not visited St. Louis Missouri, I would also suggest you take a two day trip to that city.

Back a decade ago, I took a train to St. Louis Missouri.  The goal, no automobile or cab type transportation, yet reach many if not all major tourist destinations.

Knowing they were known for one of the best public transportation systems in the country, I wanted to see if I could negotiate, with NO prior knowledge of how it worked, and took my family and MOTHER to see if all ages could deal easily with their system. It involves major rail into the city,  from there, a system of subway type trains would run both underground, above ground, ground level, and if needed various sized buses. The buses were few, but on a couple occasions a bus was needed for a short run to finish a particular destination.

I remember it took me maybe 10 minutes to understand the instructions posted at various stops, how the token system worked, cost, destination, times, so on.

We left Kansas City with this idea,  and I found it amazingly efficient, cost effective, there were no destinations, even into the suburbs that were a problem.

If you think about cable cars,  what is the one common thread you find with cable cars?  Steep and long up hill terrain. San Fransisco, ski resorts, all have these inclines to overcome to arrive at a specific destinations.

Why cable cars?  Very easy to use common gearing to allow torque to overcome gravity.

Modern systems replace some hard gearing with frequency driven AC motors that require little upkeep compared to Direct Current technology.   I am very familiar with AC manipulation of electric motor speeds and torque, using frequency manipulation.

VFD or variable frequency drive, is a device uses readily available AC, and allows the common AC induction motor to run at a range of speeds without the problems of lost torque. No brushes,  any simple AC induction three phase motor  [three phase motors are VERY SIMPLE devices,  requiring a rotating element with a shorted cage of conductors around a rotor of laminated steel,  2 common bearings, and a stationary set of windings that are simple to install, build and convert. Compared to single phase electrical, which is your common residential power,  three phase allows the motor to be built without internal switches, capacitors,  and very high maintenance costs.

I have installed thousands of AC motors in replacement of DC technology which requires upkeep at a much greater rate than an AC motor.

This is why I mentioned linear motors,   I am also impressed with the simplicity of the linear motor, and with the proper engineering,  the remainder of the motion is simply coasting,  which does away with a power source all along the route[s].

If you are looking to invest in transportation, I would look to electric vehicles, and use the existing highways and streets.

Again not to be a wet blanket on great ideas,  I can just imagine the upfront costs of an entire new system of paths,   so I would concentrate on using what is there, and finding a way to power these vehicles.

I have bounced this around with some very knowledgeable engineers and common mechanics, and electricians.

The National Weather Service, with all the resources of engineers at their disposal struggled with those upper air balloon tracking devices for DECADES,   there are some 200 stations from Alaska to the US territories, to this day,  launch balloon flights twice a day.

Their problem was the reception of the data of the on board electronics carried by the balloons.

We were approached by a very inventive engineer, who could not understand why the reception antennas failed constantly.

These are rotational antennas that rotate and must rotate at a specific RPM,  but the single phase motors that drove the antennas constantly failed, driven by dozens if not more, designs of single phase motors.

After a few months of study,  and attempting to follow the single phase path,  {government does not go along with changes in anything, if it was powered with 115 volt common single phase AC,  TO CHANGE THAT, NO MATTER WHAT THE ADVANTAGES,  IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE,  IT WOULD TAKE YEARS IF NOT LONGER TO GET ANY MAJOR CHANGE APPROVED]

I wasted much time in attempting to design or redesign a single phase motor with some success, but the final cure was so simple,   convert the existing single phase motor to three phase,  install a variable frequency drive in front of the motor,  and it ran without fail,  over 400 of this units as each station has one or two units, requiring this rotational antenna that had to run at a constant speed,  with no tolerance, not one or two RPM, it had to run at a constant speed. I used the existing motor components,  designed a winding for three phase, installed a single to three phase VFD drive in front of the motor, and the change to three phase was transparent to the Government,  so there were no engineering nightmares, which would have killed the redesign.

I see your idea to provide a system which I believe you are looking to go simple in concept and a running cable is a very simple concept,   it is the logistics of installing the structures that is going to be a huge undertaking.

If you go above ground, you have wind to deal with, snow, rain, cleaning of the cables and guides,  no doubt some bird will land on the moving the cable and then you have another huge issue,  

With all the hybrid vehicles,   I understand battery technology is the issue at this point,

The gain in power usage in electric vehicles is fairly simple. Most combustion engines are say 50% efficient,  where a three phase electric motor can be above 93% efficient.

So while the discussion is fossil fuel with all the issues,  is simply converted to electricity to power the electric vehicles,  it is in the conversion and the gap of efficiency that someone will find a massive savings of power use.

Taking this very simple example, and the bids to build charging stations, does nothing to reduce the use of power.   It takes x horsepower to move x load x distance,  PERIOD.

It is the efficiency that seems to be overlooked.

Conversion of a small Chevy built truck is commercially available,   the problem battery storage of power,  the reason for the small truck,  an existing bed where multiple batteries can be placed.

What I don't see, is a three phase motor,  powered from batteries or capacitors,  and using the lesser efficient combustion engine,  much smaller, to charge the batteries.

The gain is in the efficiency of the main driver,  the three phase motor,   the combustion engine is not powering the vehicle,  in there is a gain,  maybe a huge gain,  by using a combustion engine and fossil fuel,  to power a generator to trickle charge the batteries.

Hybrids use both as the main power plant,  I say with the right amount of engineering, a three phase motor is the answer to the power usage of individual vehicles.

This is far from mass transportation you are looking at,  but if someone could design a generator to charge what battery technology exists,   the less efficient generator has to gain something.

I am not sure your goals or motivations,  I see where cable cars would seem viable,  but again you have to consider loading,  how many passengers,   how much power is used to move the cable,    when all cabs are full, compared to when they are 25% full,  sure you could cut back on the power to the main drive, but the worst use of an electric motor is when it is under loaded,     a 100HP motor connected to a 25 HP load is so inefficient.

So you have that to deal with.  I just think an enormous project of installing cable through an urban area would be so fraught with logistical problems, it would take endless cash to even do a basic study, let alone the construction.

If you are an investor, or working for a grant, personally,  I would look to powering vehicles with three phase motors,  charging with fossil fuel, and maybe even paralleling solar, into the equation.

But I am always interested in this issue as it will not go away,  and from my start as an auto mechanic, plus 4 decades of electrical mechanical power,  I have engineered some very impressive devices that were successful from using what exists, and tweaking it. Tweaking is not a good term,  but building prototypes to scale,  can cut experimental costs by leaps and bounds.

It almost seems to me this concept of powering the main drive with three phase and using the efficiency at the lower HP has to have been tried, and my guess it was put aside or bought off by the fossil fuel industry.

There are powerful forces with their own agenda fighting for their profits,  which I am sure you know,   but the statement if you build it they will come does have some merit.

glad to discuss any idea or proposal at anytime,       maybe use my home address   wbwill@sbcglobal.net,    simplicity which I see you are looking at,  can be found,  

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Will

Expertise

Three phase/ AC DC single phase motors, controls, any problems or failures, motor installation, performance issues, connections. All other electric motors/gearboxes/apparatus. Specialty repair concerns, obsolete motors and solutions. Other mechanical or specialty equipment. See my profile under Home/electrical at this site

Experience

30 plus years in the electrical motor and apparatus repair industry. VP level management of repair facilities, current owner of my own specialty repair and consulting firm.

Organizations
EASA, IBEW [retired], other specialty organizations, Lubrication, Vibration EDI, Tribo-electric Councils

Publications
Currently fielding concerns at this site under "Home Electrical"

Education/Credentials
4 year technical, College level specific courses, EASA repair courses, vibration analysis electronic and electrical trade school.

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