Title:
Cableway System with Station for Storing Transportation Devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An aerial cableway installation includes transportation devices, such as gondolas or chairs, that can be coupled to the cable and decoupled from the cable in stations of the installation. Guide devices are disposed in the region of the stations on which the decoupled transportation devices can be moved beside the cable. A drive device drives the transportation devices along the guide devices. The drive device can be temporarily deactivated at least in sections so that in this region transportation devices can be stored when the aerial cableway installation is not operating. In order to simplify storage of the transportation devices, and to simplify renewed circulation of the transportation devices, there is provided at least one conveyor device, which at least in some regions is arranged to be parallel beside the transport device, and which can be made to engage and disengage the transportation devices.



Inventors:
Moritzhuber, Johannes (Hard, AT)
Application Number:
11/945662
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
11/27/2007
Assignee:
INNOVA PATENT GMBH (Wolfurt, AT)
Primary Class:
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 installation with stations and a hauling cable extending between the stations, comprising: transportation devices to be coupled to and decoupled from the hauling cable in the stations; guide devices in the stations configured to guide said transportation devices, after decoupling from the cable, through the stations; a drive device configured to drive said transportation devices along said guide devices, said drive device being at least temporarily deactivatable in sections thereof; and at least one conveyor device disposed, in some regions, parallel beside said drive device and configured to selectively engage and disengage said transportation devices.

2. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said transportation devices are selected from the group consisting of gondolas and chairs.

3. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said conveyor device is a conveyor element endlessly moving about at least two deflection rollers.

4. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said conveyor element is a conveyor belt or a chain.

5. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 3, wherein said conveyor element comprises at least one catch projecting from said conveyor element and configured for engagement with said transportation devices.

6. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said conveyor device has a longitudinal extension approximately corresponding to a length in which said drive device can be deactivated.

7. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said drive device comprises wheels disposed to be moved into and away from a transport position.

8. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said drive device comprises wheels or groups of wheels disposed to be decoupled from a drive thereof.

9. The aerial cableway installation according to claim 1, wherein said drive device comprises wheels that are taken together to form groups whose drive can be deactivated.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. § 119, of Austrian patent application A 1965/2006, filed Nov. 27, 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 system with a hauling cable extending between at least two stations. Transportation devices, such as gondolas or lift chairs, can be coupled to and decoupled from the haulage cable in the stations. Guide devices are disposed in the stations along which the decoupled transportation devices are moved beside the cable. A drive device drives the transportation devices along the guides. The drive device can be temporarily deactivated at least in sections.

European patent application EP 0 774 392 describes using the space available in a station building, more precisely those guide devices along which during normal operation the transportation devices are guided around the deflection pulley in a station, for storing transportation devices when the aerial cableway is not in operation. In this context, EP 0 774 392 A describes various options for adapting the drive of the transport device such that the acceleration wheels, deceleration wheels and/or the conveyor wheels that are situated in between can be disengaged from the transportation devices. However, there is a problem in that there is then no drive available for the transportation devices parked in this region, which drive would move said transportation devices to a region in which non-deactivated wheels would take over the further drive when the aerial cableway resumes operation. Therefore this has to be carried out manually by operating personnel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide an aerial cableway installation, which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type and which allows the sliding of the transportation devices to be carried out mechanically or in an automated manner.

With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, an aerial cableway installation with stations and a hauling cable extending between the stations, comprising:

transportation devices (e.g., gondolas and chairs) to be coupled to and decoupled from the hauling cable in the stations;

guide devices in the stations configured to guide said transportation devices, after decoupling from the cable, through the stations;

a drive device configured to drive said transportation devices along said guide devices, said drive device being at least temporarily deactivatable in sections thereof; and

at least one conveyor device disposed, in some regions, parallel beside said drive device and configured to selectively engage and disengage said transportation devices.

According to the invention, in a generic cableway installation this object is met in that at least one conveyor device is provided, which at least in some regions is arranged so as to be parallel beside the transport device, and which can be made to engage and disengage the transportation devices.

As is known per se from the above-noted EP 0 774 392 A, in the invention, too, some of the wheels, namely the acceleration wheels, deceleration wheels and/or the conveyor wheels located in between, are deactivated because these wheels, more specifically their drive, is not suitable for driving the transportation devices so that the latter can be parked under cover close together in the station. In order to relieve the operating personnel from this manual work that would otherwise have to be carried out, according to the invention an additional conveyor device is provided in that region or regions in which the wheels are deactivated. The conveyor device carries out this transport.

This conveyor device is arranged so as to be parallel beside the actual transport device and in a preferred embodiment is characterized in that the conveyor device is a conveyor element, for example a conveyor belt, chain block or the like, which moves endlessly around two deflection rollers. Furthermore, it is preferred if the conveyor element comprises at least one catch that projects from the conveyor element and can be made to engage the transportation devices. By way of the catch, each transportation devices can be pushed into the desired position in a region in which transport device is deactivated.

The longitudinal extension of the conveyor device, at least in its effective region, approximately corresponds to the length in which the transport device can be deactivated. In this way the entire region in which the transport device is deactivated can be reached by the conveyor device, and in this way the transportation devices can easily be slid along this entire region.

As is known per se from EP 0 774 392 A, the transport device can comprise wheels can be moved out of their transport position. This is proven method, which can be implemented in a simple manner from a design point of view, of deactivating the wheels of the transport device.

As an alternative, the invention can also provide for transport device to comprise wheels or groups of that can be decoupled from their drive. Thus the drive of the wheels or of the group of wheels would continue to operate and would continue to be to other wheels or of the group of wheels would continue to operate and would continue to be available to other wheels or other groups of wheels that at a given time should not or need not be deactivated.

As an alternative or in addition it is also possible for the transport device to comprise wheels that are taken together to form groups whose drive can be deactivated. This embodiment is simpler when compared to above-mentioned embodiment in that the drive only has to be switched on and off, and in that there is no need to provide additional couplings for coupling and decoupling the wheels or groups of wheels.

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 a cableway system, 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 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a station of the aerial cableway installation according to the invention in normal operation;

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the station of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows lateral view of the station of FIGS. 1 and 2, with gondolas parked under cover;

FIG. 4 shows a top view of the station shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows a lateral view of an alternative for deactivating the wheels of the transport device;

FIG. 6 shows a top view of the station shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 shows a view that corresponds to the view according to FIG. 6, with a maximum number of gondolas parked under cover; and

FIG. 8 shows a section view of a detail of the station of the aerial cableway installation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail and first, particularly, to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown a guide rail 1 along which gondolas 2 that have been decoupled from the hauling cable can be moved by sliding through a station 3 of an aerial cableway installation. The gondolas 2 are driven by way of three groups of wheels, in specific terms by way of a group of deceleration wheels 4, a group of conveyor wheels 5 and a group of acceleration wheels 6. After they have been decoupled from the hauling cable, the gondolas 2 are decelerated by the deceleration wheels 4 to a speed at which passengers can conveniently leave and enter the gondolas 2. This takes place in that region in which the gondolas 2 are conveyed onward at constant slow speed by the conveyor wheels 5. Subsequently the gondolas 2 are accelerated by the acceleration wheels 6 to a speed that corresponds to the speed of the hauling cable, after which the gondolas 2 are once more coupled to the hauling cable.

In order to store or park, under cover, transportation devices, such as the afore-mentioned gondolas, some of the acceleration-and deceleration wheels 4, 6 can be deactivated, i.e. they do not exert any acceleration and deceleration forces onto the gondolas 2. As described in EP 0 774 392 A this can, for example take place in that the acceleration and deceleration wheels 4, 6 can be moved out of their transport position so that the gondolas 2 located in this region are not driven by these wheels. This variant is diagrammatically shown in FIG. 5.

In another embodiment, which is shown in FIG. 3, some of the deceleration wheels 4 or some of the acceleration wheels 6 are decoupled from the drive. If the deceleration wheels 4 and the acceleration wheels 6 are driven so that one wheel always drives the next wheel at a somewhat lower or higher transmission ratio, then it is sufficient to decouple the drive of one wheel to the next wheel so that all the subsequent wheels of the associated group are also no longer driven by deceleration wheels 4 or acceleration wheels 6. In the case shown in FIG. 3, it is the deceleration wheel 4a which is decoupled from the deceleration wheel 4 located to its left, so that all the deceleration wheels 4 up to the deceleration wheel 4b are without drive. After the wheel 4b there follows the group with the conveyor wheels 5, which group is driven separately. Decoupling the drive of some of the acceleration wheels 6 takes place analogously.

In this region, in which the deceleration 4 and acceleration wheels 6 deactivated, it is now possible to park transportation devices 2 under cover. For this to be able to be carried out mechanically, in these regions additional conveyor devices 7, 7′ are provided which at least in some regions are arranged so as to be parallel beside the respective region. In the exemplary embodiment shown in the drawings, the conveyor devices 7, 7′ comprise a chain 10 or 10′ that endlessly moves around two deflection wheels 8, 9 or 8′, 9′, to which chain 10 or 10′ a conveyor element 11, 11′ in the form of a pin-shaped catch is attached. One of the two deflection wheels 8, 9 or 8′, 9′ of each conveyor device 7, 7′ is driven so that the catches 11, 11′ on the one hand can be moved to the side of the conveyor devices 7, 7′, which side is shown FIG. 2, in which said catches 11, 11′ are positioned on the side facing away from the guide rail 1 and are disengaged from the gondolas 2; and on the other hand can be moved to the other, opposite side, in which said catches 11, 11′ are located on the side facing the guide rail 1, in which they take over the transport of the gondolas 2 with the rollers 6 deactivated.

The sequence of a storing process of gondolas 2 takes place, starting with the initial situation shown in FIG. 1, which situation corresponds to normal aerial cableway operation, in which movement of the gondolas through the station 3 takes place clockwise, for example such that the aerial cableway is first stopped. Then the deceleration wheels 4 between the two wheels 4a and 4b are deactivated and the aerial cableway is driven in the opposite direction of movement. The wheels 6, which during normal operation are used as acceleration wheels, now act as deceleration wheels. As soon as a gondola 2 is located in the region of the storage track between the wheels 4a and 4b, the drive of the conveyor device 7 is switched on so that the catch 11, starting from the home position shown in FIG. 1, moves clockwise around the deflection roller 9 until it rests against the gondola 2 and takes the latter along until it is located at the end of the storage track at the wheel 4a. During this time the aerial cableway is stopped or operated at speed. Subsequently the drive of the conveyor device 7 is switched over and the catch 11 moves back to its home position. Now conveyor wheels 5 move the next gondola to the beginning of the storage track at wheel 4b, from where the catch 11 pushes said gondola directly behind the gondola that has already been parked under cover. This is repeated (in FIGS. 3 and 4 the third gondola 2 is pushed onto the storage track, with said gondola 2 in 6 being in its final storage position) until the entire storage track in the region of the deceleration 4 is filled with gondolas.

After this is finished, the acceleration 6, too, are deactivated so that in this region too, gondolas can be stored under cover in that, starting at the right-hand end of this storage track beside the conveyor wheels 5, one gondola 2 after the other is parked under cover by means of the catch 11′.

For renewed circulation of the gondolas 2 the catch 11′ is placed from the right-hand side to the outermost right-hand gondola, with said catch 11 ′ then slowly pushing the gondolas to the left so that the gondolas 2, one after the other, reach the region of non-deactivated acceleration wheels 6 and are dispatched. The catch 11′ is then moved back to the home position shown in FIG. 2. Thereafter, all the acceleration wheels 6 are activated again and the gondolas 2 on the storage track in the region of the deactivated deceleration wheels 4 are put back into operation, one after the other, in that the catch 11 is placed from left-hand side to the outermost left gondola 2 so that it pushes all the stored gondolas, step-by-step, towards the right-hand side until said gondolas establish contact with the conveyor wheels 5 and are dispatched.

After all the gondolas 2 from this storage track have been dispatched, the catch 11 returns to its home position shown in FIG. 2, and all the deceleration wheels 4 are again activated for normal aerial cableway operation.

FIG. 8 shows in more detail the components of transportation devices 2, of the conveyor device 7 and of the transport device, which are necessary to provide an understanding of this invention. A suspension bar 12 of the transportation devices 2 is shown, which suspension bar 12, by way of a coupling device 13, can be coupled to the suspension-and hauling cable of the aerial cableway installation. The coupling device also comprises pulleys 14, 15 that run on the stationary rails 1, 16. Furthermore, the coupling device comprises a drive face 17, onto which, the wheels of the transport device, for example the wheel 4 shown in FIG. 8, are applied. The wheels 4, 5, 6 are driven by means of pulleys 18 arranged in pairs. If the rotary speed of adjacent wheels is to be the same as that of the conveyor wheels 5, the diameter of the two pulleys is the same. If the rotary speed of adjacent wheels is to be different, as is the case with the deceleration wheels 4 and 6, then the diameter of the pulleys is also different, as shown in FIG. 8.

The wheels 4, 5, 6 are held on stationary frame 19, to which, furthermore, the conveyor device 7, 7′ according to according to the invention is also affixed. FIG. 8 shows a guide 20 of the conveyor device 7, in which guide the chain 10 is guided. Furthermore, the catch 11 is shown, which in the right-hand position in solid lines is just applied to the suspension bar 12, wherein the catch 11 is shown in dashed lines in the left-hand position, which is he home position.