This world first from Bartholet enables the cabins in stations to run independently using their own all-new drive system eMotion. By means of switches within the stations, ropeway networks and flexible combinations of routes can be formed. A destination selection at the touch of a button before boarding enables a journey directly to the destination without changing the cabin on the way. Thanks to safe boarding and exiting of cabins that stand still, the basis for unmanned operation has been created. The Ropetaxi is based on the long proven Bartholet technology and allows plenty of new possibilities.
New drive system
The operation of the Ropetaxi features the same level of safety as a common detachable system. On the line the cabins are still carried attached to the rope and also the process of acceleration and deceleration in stations is still carried out by common tire conveyors. All remaining tire conveyors in the station however are eliminated, which allows quiet operation and significantly reduces the number of mechanical parts and their maintenance costs. All that remains is the running rail, which further increases process reliability.
The Ropetaxi uses eMotion, the all-new drive system from Bartholet, to move the cabins in the stations at a speed of 1 m/s. The design of the clamp corresponds to the latest Swiss Performance generation and is additionally equipped with two redundant drives with planetary gear for the system. The energy supply required for self-propelled operation is provided by recuperation. Kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy and stored during deceleration when the vehicle enters the station and during acceleration when it leaves. The stepless variable drive technology allows the motors to be used in the ideal power/torque value range.
In addition to the two motors at the clamp, each vehicle is equipped with two redundant batteries, each allowing autonomous driving for up to one hour. The integrated intelligent battery management system (BMS) regulates and observes power and voltage for optimal use of the batteries. In general, the generated energy enables a balanced energy management. However, if desired, the battery can be easily replaced and recharged via a quick-change system. Thanks to the entire redundancy of the eMotion system, the operator benefits from maximum availability of the system as well as personal and process safety.
The process control system enables a networked sequence of all movements. Intelligent passenger flow allocation with access displays regulates boarding in the correct, resting cabin. For optimum capacity utilization, the departure is automatically adjusted to the number of passengers, recorded at boarding. The safe entry is provided by double access doors, which are optically monitored as in an elevator. After a cabin has left the boarding area, the vehicles behind automatically move up. This ensures that there is always a vehicle in the entry area. The fast-switching points in the stations are set according to the passenger's choice of destination. Even passing junctions without changing cabins can be realized in this way. Each cabin has its own independent control system for the motors and monitoring of sensors. In addition, they are equipped with distance sensors to detect other vehicles or objects in the lane and stop cabins automatically.
To fully ensure operational safety, Bartholet has developed a new evacuation system that can remove the cabins from the station transit in a short time in case of a failure.
The embarkation area is physically separated from the station transit. This allows the vehicle to remain at a complete stand still in the boarding and exiting positions. This absolutely barrier-free access is comfortable and safe for passengers with baby carriages, sports equipment and luggage, but also allows elderly people to enter without any hassle. For the first time, a ropeway really does justice to people with walking and visual disabilities.
The cabin interior can be adapted to the individual wishes of the customer. By tracking each individual vehicle, Ropetaxi can also identify and control specific cabins for personal use or a "fast line".
Another great advantage of the Ropetaxi is the possibility to park all vehicles inside the stations. The space required for the stations is only slightly larger than for traditional stations, but since there are no longer any conventional garages, no separate infrastructure is required. A major time and cost factor to extract cabins from a garage is eliminated, as the vehicles are stowed between the loading and unloading areas. As soon as no vehicle is on the rope, the entire system can be switched off without having to go through a time consuming garaging process.
Ropeways are already one of the most environmentally friendly means of transportation, not least because of its long service life. An analysis has shown that with the Ropetaxi concept up to 50% of empty runs can be avoided, as the vehicle only runs when guests are also boarding. Thus, only half of the coupling operations take place, resulting in less wear and tear on all parts. At time when no passengers are transported, the rope speed is automatically reduced. In combination with energy recovery through recuperation, the Ropetaxi is characterized by up to 50% lower energy consumption and significantly reduced operating and maintenance costs.
First Ropetaxi in Flims Laax
Reto Gurtner, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Weisse Arena Group from Flims Laax Falera, is also enthusiastic about Bartholet's new operating concept and has awarded the contract for the construction of a ropetaxi ropeway with 5 sections. The planning work is in full swing so that the world’s first can go into operation at the touch of a button at the beginning of the 2022/23 winter.