Konstantin Kuehner, a research fellow at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Mechanical Handling and Logistics explains: “Cables of passenger transportation installations have to be checked visually at specific intervals by law. In Germany, for example, the rules for monocable gondolas demand monthly inspections of the cable.

“Up to now, this is conventionally done by two employees watching the cable at maximum 0.5m/s. This job is dangerous as the rope moves close to one’s face and exhausting as inspecting the periodic pattern of a wire cable requires high concentration.

“In addition, it takes hours and a lot of man power to run the visual inspection. Now, the Institute of Mechanical Handling and Logistics of the University of Stuttgart [IFT, from the German Institut für Fördertechnik und Logistik] has developed a technical support system for visual inspections of aerial tramway strand and spiral cables.

“A camera device of only 15kg containing four line scan cameras catches the black and white image data of the running cable at a maximum speed of 3m/s while the scene is illuminated at low energy by high-power LEDs.

“The camera device is linked to a mobile PC station which offers online supervision of the recording process that is continuously updated with live pictures. Later on, the rope image is analysed automatically. Special image processing algorithms detect deviations in the rope structure and list the detected defects in relation to a meter scale.

“The defects can be examined on the recorded pictures by following the defect list step-by-step. The most innovative feature of the system is that diameter and length of lay can be detected continuously over the whole measured length. This gives valuable hints to the actual condition of wear and the behaviour of the cable composite being bended over sheaves and roller guides.

“Over the last years, the system has performed well in field tests. Now, the design is especially tuned on aerial tramway inspections. Although the components are robust and easy to install, the new visual inspection still needs a clean and dry environment. And of course, just as the human eye, it cannot see through dust and grease. Today, three German cable car operators already use the system on their trams.”

Teufelberger resists rotation

Teufelberger has recently launched a new rotation resistant wire rope, and a new hoisting rope for harbour cranes.

The new rope, Perfection TK15, has been specifically developed for use on cranes. Teufelberger says the high-performance rope ideally combines torsional stability, high breaking force, excellent durability, and optimum spooling characteristics. It is the first of Teufelberger’s entirely new generation of high-performance hoisting ropes for tower cranes.

This brand-new special-purpose rope, the successor to Teufelberger’s TK12 hoisting rope, offers users substantial improvements over its predecessor, the company says.

The entirely new rope configuration, combined with greater compaction, considerably increases the breaking forces vis-à-vis TK12 and comparable products.

In the crane rope testing facility, Teufelberger says, the new Perfection TK15 reached a 15% longer average service life than its predecessor before having to be discarded. A significant improvement of the life span as compared to comparable products has also been observed in practical use.

Teufelberger says the Perfection TK15 achieves a markedly improved torsional behaviour, especially with large hoisting heights such as on tower cranes, and heavy loads. This allows users to move goods with high precision. What is more, the rope winds perfectly on the drum even in difficult conditions, ensuring its long-term and trouble-free use in round-the-clock continuous operations.

Also new is the Evolution Q8 hoisting rope for harbour cranes and industrial applications. Teufelberger says its design was driven by the motto, ‘Endurance is everything’. The new special-purpose rope is the successor product to Teufelberger’s Q 810 V and Q 812 F hoisting ropes. It was developed in close cooperation with leading crane manufacturers. The outcome, Teufelberger says, is a high-quality special-purpose rope that offers long service life, higher minimum breaking force and strong performance in multi-layer winding.

Teufelberger says that, compared to conventional and similar products, the new Evolution Q8 exhibits, in the test lab as well as in practical use, a service life until reaching the discard state that is up to 40% longer than that offered by its predecessors, especially in single-layer winding configurations.

An innovative rope design in combination with compacted outer strands has increased the breaking strength considerably as compared to conventional 8 x 25 steel wire ropes, by about 20%, and vis-à-vis other products of this rope category, by about 5%, Teufelberger claims.

As a result of its compacted outer strands, Evolution Q8 is ideal for multi-layer winding configurations, even in difficult conditions. This permits its long and trouble-free use in permanent operations and helps reduce downtime.

The new high-performance hoisting rope, Teufelberger says, is ideally suited for use on van carriers, mobile harbour cranes, RTG and RMG cranes, ship-to-shore cranes, loading bridges, pontoon cranes, grab excavators and indoor cranes with low lifting height.

Defeating delamination

A new production facility at Kiswire will help in the production of new wire ropes, developed with joint venture partner Verope.

Swiss-based Verope and Korean manufacturer Kiswire describe the aim of their joint venture as being to offer affordable high quality special wire ropes for crane applications to the world market.

At the heart of the business, like that of any wire rope manufacturer, is good quality steel wire. Verope founder Pierre Verreet explains: “The wire has an effect on the quality of wire rope directly as the basic, principal element of wire rope. Verope`s joint venture partner Kiswire has understood the importance of wire quality and has been concentrating its efforts on improving the quality of wire.

“For the Verope products, high-quality and high-performance wire rods from the world’s leading steel makers, such as POSCO and NSC are purchased in a close collaboration on the improvement and development of wire rods with these steel makers.

“The research and development centre at Kiswire is equipped with high-tech analysis equipment and is researching the technology related to high carbon steel wire, heat treatment, surface coating, wire drawing and wire rope manufacturing, machine and so on. And it has been conducting joint researches with the external laboratories, universities and customers.

“Kiswire’s Hyrope factory in Busan, Korea, has introduced a new optimised, automated wire manufacturing process in 2008, developed using Kiswire’s own know-how. It has been controlling every factor that can affect the mechanical properties and microstructure of wire on their process: pickling process, heat treatment process, galvanising process and drawing process. And it has been minimising the invisible internal/surface defects of wire and the quality deviation of wire. We can therefore produce the high-quality and high-performance wire ropes by using these high-tensile and high-ductility wires.”

The latest product in the Verope range is Veropro 10. Verreet says: “Veropro 10 is a non-rotation-resistant rope, in steel-plastic combination, with 10 outer strands. Each strand is individually compacted. The rope has a very high fill factor and as a result it provides a high breaking load. We optimised the rope for higher flexibility and form stability. The target applications are as hoist ropes for electric hoists as well as for luffing purposes for cranes of different kinds.”