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WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 04/2018

WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 04/2018

Safety comes first,

Safety comes first, especially at the highest outdoor elevator in the world 01 The 8-tonne cages are able to hold 50 passengers each on two levels. The elevator moves in the direction of the peak at a speed of 5 m/s MOTION AND DRIVES At over 300 metres, the “elevator of a hundred dragons” is the highest outdoor lift in the world 22 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 4/2018

With the highest outdoor elevator in the world, travellers are able to marvel at the unique rock formations in the Wulingyuan region of the Zhangjiajie National Park in Central China, which is one of the ‘Unesco’ World Heritage Sites. Elevator brakes, only of the highest quality ensure that travellers experience the natural landscape without any safety concerns. 02 On each drive, 3 ‘Roba diskstop’ elevator brakes from Mayr power transmission reliably ensure secure holding and accurate positioning of the elevator cages As the glass elevator doors slides to one side, approximately 40 travellers enter the cage; people begin to talk loudly and an amenable chaos ensues. Everyone wants to have one of the most desirable spots along the glass walls of the lift. Excitement and anticipation hangs in the air. A few seconds after the elevator starts to move, it becomes clear why: The glass cage leaves the rock shaft through which it runs for the initial 150 m of the travelling distance, and a breath-taking view is opened up to the passengers, who gasp in delight. Of course, this isn’t just any old lift; this is the Bailong elevator, the “elevator of a hundred dragons” in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, China. The outdoor elevator takes tourists to the peak of a precipitous sandstone rock formation in the Wulingyuan region. Due to these unique rock formations, the ‘Unesco’ declared the region a World Heritage Site in 1992. These rock needles project up to 200 metres high into the sky and create a stage setting which has even inspired Hollywood movies: The landscape was used as a model for the Hallelujah mountains in the movie ‘Avatar’. Unique technology for a fast yet smooth ascent The elevator system itself is also unique: With a travelling height of approximately 330 metres, the Bailong elevator is the highest outdoor lift in the world. This fact has been recorded since 2015 in the Guinness Book of Records. 3 passenger elevators, each able to contain 50 passengers, can bring 1,380 visitors to the peak per hour. According to the operator, this is the largest passenger capacity for an elevator system worldwide. Each of the two-storey elevator cages weighs 8 tonnes and has a payload of 4.9 tonnes. Considering this load, the lift moves astonishingly fast: At the opening in 2001, the cages were able to reach a speed of 3 m/s. In 2012, the operator then began to gradually renovate the system. With new drives added, speeds up to 5 m/s are now possible. This means that tourists are able to reach the peak within a minute – hiking up on foot takes them a whole two and a half hours! Drives and brakes are of the paramount importance Such speeds and performance values can only be achieved through an appropriate drive system. Each elevator cage is moved with a strong electric motor. The sheer force of the drive leaves no wishes unfulfilled; the real art, however, lies in the precise control of the cages. They must always stop accurately at the entrances and exits, and should not shoot over the drive path at the top or bottom. For this purpose, technicians have to align the motor control system and drive cables with great precision – and a reliable, highperformance braking system is required. On the Bailong elevator drives, this task is taken up by the ‘Roba - diskstop’ disk brakes by Germany’s Mayr power transmission. Three of these elevator brakes, of the construction size 10 are installed per drive. The ‘Roba - diskstop’ is a spring applied, electromagnetic safety brake. It works in accordance with the fail-safe principle: If no current is flowing, 03 The ‘Roba diskstop’ disk brake is an inexpensive solution for high braking torques the springs press an armature disk against a brake disk to close the brake. The ‘Roba - diskstop’ is able to absorb a lot of energy from the moving system on braking. This makes it the ideal solution for heavy, fast elevators – and therefore perfect for the special requirements of the Bailong elevator. Brakes: the unsung heroes In the controlled drives, the motor control system positions and brakes the cages with great accuracy. In normal operation, the brakes only act as holding devices. They ensure that the elevators remain in exactly in the right position at the stopping points and do not move in an uncontrolled manner when the door is opened. Passengers are thus guaranteed a reliable and comfortable trip. However, the brakes themselves are also able to conduct emergency braking procedures with friction work safely and reliably. In such cases, the hydraulic-free functional method plays a vital role: The switching times are very short. For this reason, the passenger cages are stopped quickly and do not move in an uncontrolled manner in critical situations. Safety should never be compromised, especially where people are concerned. The patented technology damps the switching noises and ensures quiet operation. After all, those who feel comfortable when in motion also feel safer. As this technology functions reliably, the passengers in the Bailong elevator do not notice it at all – not even when they are making their way back down from the peak in the elevator. After several seconds of travelling, the glass cage disappears back within the rock, and of course stops safely exactly at the exit. Hardly any of the visitors remember the drives, or, most likely, the entire technology behind their successful excursion. And if that is the case, we can safely say: Mission accomplished! Photographs: Chr. Mayr GmbH + Co. KG www.mayr.com WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 4/2018 23

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