The TRUscan magnetic induction rope tester in use on the haul rope of a gondola lift
Photo: Fatzer AG
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FATZER

The TRUscan rope testing system is a revolution in rope monitoring

With the TRUscan magnetic induction rope tester and appurtenant software, Fatzer, in cooperation with Stuttgart University’s Institute of Mechanical Handling and Logistics (IFT), now offers a pioneering solution for ropeway rope monitoring and service life calculations.

Created by JN

Haul ropes and carrying-hauling ropes are classed as non-redundant ropeway components, and their reliability is crucial for the safety and availability of the installation. With TRUscan, Fatzer’s innovative non-contact MI testing device plus appurtenant software, it is now possible to use a combination of non-contact rope travel measurement and wire break detection to precisely predict the rope discard date, among other things. TRUscan can be used for non-contact testing for broken wires in haul ropes up to a diameter of 64 mm.

In addition to its top-quality ropes Fatzer, the Swiss ropeway rope manufacturer based in Romanshorn, also has an outstanding reputation for its customer-focused range of services such as splicing, maintenance, repair and servicing of high-performance ropes. In collaboration with Stuttgart University’s globally recognized Institute of Mechanical Handling and Logistics (IFT), Fatzer has now further expanded its range of services with the introduction of TRUscan, a non-contact rope testing device for mobile operation and especially permanent installation that detects wire breaks and rope travel distance fully automatically. The data measured can be read out remotely via Fatzer’s web-based customer portal, which makes on-site acceptance by MI experts or test institutes a thing of the past except where an accredited test result is required. The TRUscan rope tester is a magnetic induction testing device, in which a test coil measures the magnetic stray field of the rope, thus providing an insight into the inner workings of the moving rope. Wire breaks are detected with millimeter precision and are automatically displayed in a defects list.

The effectiveness of the system was demonstrated in a long-term test performed on Fatzer’s own rope testing cableway involving opening the test rope and comparing the measured results with the wire breaks revealed through visual inspection. At the same time, resistance to the elements and the accuracy of the system under diverse climatic conditions, including very high humidity and very low temperatures, were also confirmed. The housing of the test equipment complies with the IP64 standard, meaning that it is suitable for use in extremely cold environments or salty and humid air, as in the case of ropeways by the sea, for example.

Testing can be triggered manually or remotely by the ropeway operator. The system can also be programmed for test runs at pre-defined intervals. The data captured – rope travel through the device in meters, and the number and position of any wire breaks – is stored in XML format on a central server either via the Internet or wirelessly using 3G. A special algorithm converts the data measured into a convenient diagram indicating wire break status and approximate rope discard, which is stored in a digital twin. This permits accurate predictions to be made of the need for refurbishment measures including splice renewal, thus minimizing ropeway system downtime.

 

TRUscan – a complex system

From the above description it is clear that TRUscan is more than a magnetic induction rope tester; it is also a system for rope monitoring and predictive calculation of the state of the rope to discard. The following is a list of the individual system components:

TRUscan components for use on the ropeway

TRUscan MI testing device, available in two variants:

  • Permanently installed tester in three sizes (for stranded rope diameters from 32 to 64 mm),
  • Mobile tester in four sizes (for stranded rope diameters from 10 to 70 mm),
  • Other diameters on request in some cases

TRUspeed tachometer/tachograph:

  • Permanently installed, per rope loop
  • Measures rope travel, position and speed

TRUcom:

  • Control unit
  • Supports communications via intranet / https

TRUconnect:

  • Router for customer-independent communication (mobile / SIM card)

TRUscan components at Fatzer headquarters in Romanshorn

TRUscan – myFATZER.com – document download center:

  • Download center and archiving for all Fatzer customer documents such as certificates and reports
  • Automatic authorization
  • Email notifications
  • Website www.myfatzer.com

TRUscan – pdf test reports with multiple data:

  • Automatically generated and monitored
  • Non-accredited reports available within one hour of testing (at average line length and optimal data transfer speed)
  • Available in various languages including DE, EN, FR, ES, PT, IT and RU
  • Number of tests freely definable

Contents of the pdf test reports:

  • Rope discard and danger status
  • General installation data
  • Rope data
  • Number of bending cycles
  • Number of bending cycles to next splice renewal
  • Summary with discard criteria and current status
  • Development curve to rope discard
  • List of events with time stamp
  • Splice assessment
  • List of local defects
  • Graphic display of defects by discard criteria
  • Detailed data record (with reference to time stamp ) for ropeway professionals

myFATZER.com customer portal

The various TRUscan components make it possible to place rope management for ropeway installations on a modern technological and scientific footing. In this context it is also worth mentioning Fatzer’s customer portal myFATZER.com. Project Manager Philippe Bieri, Sales Engineer West Switzerland and France, has this to say about the company’s customer portal: “It has been in existence for five years as a customer portal for the exclusive use of active customers. It serves as a platform for technical data including job reports, rope certificates, TRUscan certificates, etc. Customers can download their data from the portal in the languages of our main markets. The data remain stored on the portal. The tool, which is  a central service located in Romanshorn, functions like an archive for the full service life of our customers’ ropes. They can also download general documents, e.g. manuals and operating instructions, which are stored in a general area with information that may be of interest to customers but are not specific to any one installation. The customer portal myFATZER.com can also be used to start TRUscan at the click of a button; here, too, authorization is automated. So with the button you can start running TRUscan online via myFATZER no matter where you are”. And Fatzer Sales Manager Philipp Enzler adds: “It is an outstanding system with incredible transparency. In the general section you have the project documentation and then you can view the details per installation, so the information goes form the overview to the more specific and all the details.”

FAROtune forecast tool

FAROtune is an evaluation tool originally developed for selecting the optimum rope for an installation in terms of total cost of ownership. Fatzer started developing the tool eight years ago. In the meantime, FAROtune has matured and now has greatly expanded capabilities. On the basis of installation and operating data, FAROtune can perform the calculations needed to predict rope service life. It can also be used to specify the splice renewal date. FAROtune is a pure engineering solution (software). In combination with TRUscan, it guarantees operators maximum availability of their Fatzer ropes at a known total cost of ownership.

Matthias Stacher, Regional Sales Manager Latin America, describes the benefits for customers as follows: “With FAROtune we can provide a cost analysis for various types of ropes under the same conditions based on the operating data. That gives us the results for our ‘basic’ Stabilo haul rope, for example, compared with our high-performance Compacta and our long-life Performa rope. And customers also see how often the various rope types will need to be re-spliced and what they can expect in terms of service life. This gives them a sound basis for decision making.” In South America, Fatzer always uses FAROtune, according to Matthias Stacher, with the result that Fatzer’s Performa rope is chosen in almost all cases. The Performa rope construction, as is well known in the industry, was developed with the aim of eliminating strand-induced vibrations in haul ropes and carrying-hauling ropes. This is done by incorporating plastic sections between the strands. These sections almost completely fill out the surrounding circumferential area, separating the individual strands and stabilizing them in their respective positions. Thanks to the almost cylindrical outer surface of these ropes, they run practically silently and without vibrations over the rope sheaves and round the bullwheels. They are above all the rope of choice on installations with high transport capacities – and wherever vibrations and noise would impair the quality of the ride and well-being of passengers, residents, and passers-by.

TRUscan in South and Latin America

In the case of urban ropeways in particular, with their long daily and annual hours of operation compared with mountain installations, constant monitoring of the state of the rope is of exceptional importance. In keeping with the principle of predictive maintenance, the required work on the rope must be precisely scheduled in order to minimize disruptions to public services. So it is not surprising that numerous urban ropeways in South and Latin America are already equipped with TRUscan (see table). In these locations there is another reason why TRUscan makes such good sense, and that is the frequency of lightning strikes there, which obviously pose a serious risk for the integrity of the haul ropes. TRUscan’s high working speed – compared to other systems – of 6.0 m/s makes it is possible, after a night of intensive lightning activity, for example, to quickly inspect the rope for possible lightning strikes before restarting operations in the morning.

Urban ropeways with TRUscan in South and Latin America

InstallationCountry, cityTRUscan type
Ciudad Bolivar 1Colombia, BogotaTRUscan mobile
Ciudad Bolivar 2Colombia, BogotaTRUscan mobile
Linea KColombia, MedellinTRUscan mobile
Linea MColombia, MedellinTRUscan mobile
Linea HColombia, MedellinTRUscan mobile
Linea JColombia, MedellinTRUscan mobile
Linea LColombia, MedellinTRUscan mobile
Linea PColombia, MedellinTRUscan mobile
Antena TlalpexcoMexico, Mexico CityTRUscan fixed
Cuautepec 1Mexico, Mexico CityTRUscan fixed
Cuautepec 2Mexico, Mexico CityTRUscan fixed
Ecatepec Linea roja 1Mexico, Mexico CityTRUscan fixed
Ecatepec Linea roja 2Mexico, Mexico CityTRUscan fixed

 


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