Title:
Cableway System with Terminal Stations and a Middle Station
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An aerial cableway system with transportation devices, such as gondolas or lift chairs, is formed with two cable loops to which the transportation devices can be coupled and from which the transportation devices can be decoupled. A lower station, one or more middle stations, and an upper station are provided. A lower cable loop extends in the section from the lower station to the middle station and an upper cable loop extends from the middle station to the upper station. In the middle station the lower cable loop and the upper cable loop are guided about a shared guide device in the form of a double-groove pulley or two sandwiched single-groove pulleys.



Inventors:
Beck, Markus (Fussach, AT)
Application Number:
11/946236
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
11/28/2007
Assignee:
Innova Patent GmbH (Wolfurt, AT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
105/149.1
International Classes:
B61B7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KUHFUSS, ZACHARY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER GREENBERG STEMER LLP (HOLLYWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:
1. An aerial cableway system, comprising: transportation devices; a lower station, a middle station, and an upper station; two cable loops configured for coupling thereto and decoupling therefrom said transportation devices; said two cable loops including a lower cable loop extending between said lower station and said middle station and an upper cable loop extending between said middle station and said upper station; and a common guide device disposed in said middle station and configured to deflect and guide said lower cable loop and said upper cable loop in said middle station.

2. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said transportation devices chairs or gondolas.

3. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said common guide device is stationarily mounted.

4. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said common guide device comprises a single dual-groove pulley.

5. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said common guide device comprises two mechanically connected single-groove pulleys.

6. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said common guide device is arranged horizontally.

7. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said common guide device is a pulley rotatably disposed about a substantially vertical axis.

8. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises a slidable pulley disposed in each of said lower station and said upper station for said lower cable loop and said upper cable loop, respectively.

9. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said common guide device is one or more pulleys in said middle station provided with a drive.

10. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises a lower pulley and a drive disposed in said lower station.

11. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises an upper pulley and a drive disposed in said upper station.

12. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said lower cable loop and said upper cable loop are oriented in said middle station to enclose an angle of less than 180° relative to one another.

13. The cableway system according to claim 1, wherein said lower cable loop and said upper cable loop are oriented in said middle station to enclose an angle of 180° relative to one another.

14. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises coupling and decoupling regions in front of and behind said common guide device in said middle station, for respectively coupling and decoupling said transportation devices to or from said cable loops, and drive devices in said coupling and decoupling regions for driving and guiding said transportation devices around said common guide device.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. § 119, of Austrian patent application A 1979/2006, filed Nov. 28, 2006; the prior application is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an aerial cableway with transportation devices, such as chairs or gondolas. The cableway includes two cable loops to which the transportation devices can be coupled and from which the transportation devices can be decoupled. The system further includes a lower station, an upper station, and a middle station, wherein in the section from the lower station to the middle station the lower cable loop is arranged, and from the middle station to the upper station the upper cable loop is arranged.

In generic aerial cableways with two cable loops the lower cable loop leads from a lower station (i.e., valley station) to a first middle station (intermediate station). Furthermore, the upper cable loop then leads from a second middle station (i.e., intermediate station) to an upper station (i.e., top station, a mountain station).

Two middle stations are associated with a disadvantage in that they require more space and involve greater expenditure. Furthermore, noise generation in the case of two stations is greater than in the case of only one station. Therefore, solutions are known in which only a single cable loop leads from a valley station through an intermediate station right up to a top station. However, these solutions are associated with a disadvantage in that only slight angular deviations of the top and bottom sections of the cable loop from the straight orientation, i.e. 180°, are possible, unless very high technical expenditure for deflection equipment is accepted. Solutions comprising only one cable loop are also associated with a disadvantage in that they involve long cable lengths with correspondingly high cable tension and the associated disadvantages of larger cable cross sections and more expensive support structures, roller batteries, and the like. Compared to this, again, installations comprising two or more cable loops are advantageous, in which distribution of the cable length and of tension path to a corresponding number of sections is possible.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a cableway system, which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type.

With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, an aerial cableway system, comprising:

    • transportation devices (e.g., gondolas, lift chairs);
    • a lower station, a middle station, and an upper station;
    • two cable loops configured for coupling thereto and decoupling therefrom said transportation devices;
    • said two cable loops including a lower cable loop extending between said lower station and said middle station and an upper cable loop extending between said middle station and said upper station; and
    • a common guide device disposed in said middle station and configured to deflect and guide said lower cable loop and said upper cable loop in said middle station.

Since in the aerial cableway according to the invention the lower and the upper cable loops in the middle station are guided about a common (i.e., a shared) guide device it is sufficient to provide merely a single middle station between the lower station and the upper station. Passengers can embark and disembark as usual in this middle station. However, with the invention it is also possible to travel in the same transportation device from the lower station directly to the upper station, irrespective as to whether the upper and the lower cable loops are arranged at an angle of 180° or at some other angle.

Preferably, the guide device is a double-groove pulley, wherein in the context of the invention the use of two single-groove pulleys that are mechanically connected or coupled is also possible. The simple design of this pulley or these pulley is advantageous.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the guide device is arranged so as to be stationary in the middle station, wherein in the lower station and in the upper station in each case a slidable pulley is provided so as to ensure the correct tension of the cables of the cable loops.

In the invention it is further preferred if the pulley in the middle station comprises a drive. As an alternative it is, however, also possible for the lower pulley to comprise a drive, and/or for the upper pulley to comprise a drive.

Within the scope of the invention it is preferred if in each case in front of and behind the guide device in the middle station regions for coupling and decoupling the transportation devices to/from the cable loops are provided, and for a drive device for the transportation devices to be provided between these regions, which drive device guides the transportation devices past the guide device. In this way the transportation devices can be decelerated to a lower speed when approaching the middle station, at which station passengers can conveniently leave and enter the transportation devices, and after departure from the station the transportation device can again be accelerated to a speed that corresponds to the transport speed of the transportation devices between the stations, i.e. to the speed of the cable loops.

Within the scope of the invention, more than two cable loops in sequence can also be provided.

Further details, characteristics and advantages of the aerial cableway according to the invention are stated in the following description with reference to the associated drawings that show preferred embodiments.

Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in cable railway, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a plan view onto a first embodiment of a middle station of an aerial cableway system according to the invention comprising cable loops arranged at an angle of 90° to each other;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the middle station in the region of the approach end or departure end of the transportation devices;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the middle station in the region of a support in the approach region or departure region of the station;

FIG. 4 a detail of an embodiment of the guide device in the form of two interconnected pulleys;

FIG. 5 is a plan view onto a second embodiment of a middle station with cable loops arranged at an angle of 180°; and

FIGS. 6 to 8 are diagrammatic plan views showing various drive variants of the aerial cableway according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawing figures in detail, the aerial cableway system diagrammatically shown in FIGS. 6, 7, and 8 comprises three stations, e.g. a lower station 1 (valley station), a middle station 2 (intermediate station) and an upper station 3 (top or mountain station). Here, the upper and lower stations are the terminal stations. A lower cable loop 4 extends in the section from the lower station 1 to the middle station 2. An upper cable loop 5 extends in the section from the middle station 2 to the upper station 3. For the purpose of conveying passengers, and where applicable goods, transportation devices 6, for example chairs or gondolas can be coupled to and decoupled from the cables of the cable loops 4, 5 in a manner that is known per se. The lower cable loop 4 and the upper cable loop 5 are arranged at an angle a of 90° relative to one another.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a first embodiment of the middle station 2. Here, the lower cable loop 4 and the upper cable loop 5 come together and are guided about a shared guide device 7. As shown in FIG. 5, the guide device 7 can comprise two single-groove pulleys that are mechanically connected or coupled. A double-groove pulley is also possible. The guide device or pulley 7 is arranged horizontally and in this position comprises a lower groove 8 and an upper groove 9, wherein the lower groove 8 is associated with the lower cable loop 4, and the upper groove 9 is associated with the upper cable loop 5.

In FIG. 1 the cable loops 4 and 5 are guided at a right angle to each other around the pulley 7. This angle is only exemplary, because the two cable loops 4 and 5 can be arranged in the middle station at any desired angle less than 180° relative to each other, with the aerial cableway according to the invention also being usable with a straight arrangement of the two cable loops, i.e. at 180°, as shown in FIG. 5. It is understood that the aerial cableway according to the invention can also be used if the gradients between the lower cable loop 4 and the upper loop 5 differ.

The transportation devices 6 move up and down at a certain gradient in the direction of the middle station 2, wherein the approach regions and departure regions of the middle station 2 are arranged so as to be horizontal, as shown in FIGS. 1 to 4. For this horizontal movement, in each case in front of and behind the guide device 7 in the middle station 2, regions 10a for coupling and decoupling the transportation devices 6 are provided in a manner that is known per se, wherein between these regions a drive device 10b for the transportation devices 6 is provided. The drive device 10b guides the transportation devices 6 at constant low speed around the guide device 7. Preferably, the drive device 10a, 10b extends so as to be largely parallel beside the corresponding regions of the cable loops 4, 5. FIGS. 2 and 3 show that the transportation devices 6 during movement through the middle station 2 guided by way of the drive device 10a, 10b, which extends so as to be essentially horizontal.

When, in the middle station 2, the transportation devices 6 are decoupled from the cable of corresponding cable loop 4, 5, said transportation devices 6 are decelerated to a low speed, after which passengers can conveniently leave and enter said transportation devices 6 while the latter are guided past the guide device or the pulley 7. Subsequently, the transportation devices 6 are again accelerated to a speed that corresponds to the speed of the cables of the cable loops 4, 5, after which said transportation devices 6 are again coupled to the cable.

FIGS. 6 to 8 diagrammatically show an overview of an aerial cableway with the lower station 1, the middle station 2, and the upper station 3. In the lower station 1 a pulley 11 is arranged, and in the upper station 3 a pulley 12 is arranged, which pulleys can be designed as is known from the state of the art. As indicated by the double arrows 13, the pulleys 11 and 12 are slidable along the longitudinal extension of the respective cable loop 4, 5 in order to maintain the correct cable tension, whereas the guide device 7 in the middle station is arranged so as to be stationary.

Furthermore, FIGS. 6 to 8 show different variants for driving the aerial cableway. In FIG. 6 a drive 14 and a tension device are provided in the lower station 1, while in FIG. 7 a drive 14 and a tension device are provided in the upper station 3. If the drive 14 is located in the lower station 1. (FIG. 6), the lower cable loop 4 drives the upper cable loop 5 by way of the guide device or pulley 7 in the middle station 2. However, if the drive 14 is arranged in the upper station 3 (FIG. 7), the upper cable loop 5 drives the lower cable loop 4 by way of the guide device or pulley 7 in the middle station 2. In a further variant (FIG. 8) the guide device 7 comprises a 14 in the middle station, wherein in this case both cable loops 4, 5 are driven from the middle station 2.