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Safety of Aerial Ropeways


Developing Means and Methods on Increasing Safety of Aerial Ropeways

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-SUF/Surface Transportation/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
G. Tsulukidze Mining Institute, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • American Society of Civil Engineers, USA, Melfa\n[Individual specialist]\nKimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., USA, CO, Denver\nFraunhofer Institute Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren, Germany, Saarbrücken\nTechnische Universitat Wien / Institut fur Eisenbahnwesen, Verkehrswirtschaft und Seilbahnen, Austria, Vienna

Project summary

The Project provides for the development of the new means, methods and organizational arrangements on increasing safety of operation of suspended ropeways. The task of increasing safety has a lot of aspects. Therefor, the Project has a complex nature and the main aspects of safety of suspended ropeways will be developed in it at the same time.

The urgency of the Project and its peculiar properties can be substantiated by the following considerations:

Suspension cable transport relates to the objects of increased risk. Here consequences of the accidents may be grave and accompanied with numerous human victims. Such were accidents in Kaprun (Austria) in 2000 and Tbilisi (Georgia) in 1999.

Most crucial and vulnerable element determining the safety of suspension transport exploitation is a cable, carrying and moving the stock with passengers. According to the statistics, the majority of accidents happen by reason of delayed revealing of the hidden defects in the cable. Its condition should necessarily be monitored on the regular basis by means of the special instrument – flaw detector. The checking operational capability of the cables of the aerial ropeways is characterized with a number of features: the cable close by the tower support, rope grip or? Is not within the easy reach for a sensor. Meanwhile just in these points the cable is subject to big loads cosign fatigue. For this reason, significant hidden defects are created at the specified points, which can result in heavy accident. It should be, in addition, noted the following features. The ropeway has the length of several kilometers and is intensively exploited. Therefore testing of the cables must be carried out rapidly and easily and be not dependable on the velocity of sensor movement. In conclusion, it is particularly important to find wire breaks in the inner layers of the rope.

Apart from the flaw detection the two following aspects that also heavily impact the safety of the cable ropeways exploitation should be marked out.

1. For the last years the technical progress in the cable transport was accompanied with steady and significant increase in speed and load-carrying capacity of the rolling stock and development of new cable-transport systems, for example, units of FUNITEL type Therefore, with the purpose of providing the necessary degree of safety the requirements for accuracy and reliability for mathematical models and algorithms, which are used at designing the cables of ropeways have increased.

These calculations at present are being carried out by computer, but the applied computer software and the models contain many assumptions and simplifications. They are not precise enough and not suitable for simulating the extreme situations on the stage of designing. This problem is proposed to be solved by creation of the model of the cable system of ropeways on the basis of the original approach of the computer modeling of cable-rod system. Unlike the existing ones, the proposed approach will solve the typical difficulties of the mathematical description of cable systems. The present approach will enable to automate making of the computer model and to define the values of parameters, which will be optimal from the safety point of view.

2. The modern requirements of exploitation safety of the suspension ropeways have been assumed as basis of European Union common normative document – Basic Trends of Providing Safety for Cable Transport that has entered into force in 2000. The recommended step for countries members of the European Union, among them for Georgia, is harmonization of national rules of safe exploitation of cable transport with above mentioned analogous normative document of European Community. The harmonization of national standards shall promote the break down of custom barriers and aims at creation of united technological and legal space for cable transport.

Thus, for increasing of exploitation safety of suspension cable transport fulfillment of theoretical and experimental works is pressing and is set forth as an aim of the project in the following directions:

– development of the flaw detection means for checking of cables, with improved technical and operation parameters;

– development of a higher precision computer model and application package, and obtaining the values of parameters of safe operation on its base;
– preparation of recommendations on harmonization the national standards concerning the safe operation of ropeways with those of the European Union States.

In the Laboratory of Cable Transport at the Institute of Mining Mechanics of Academy of Sciences of Georgia for the time of existence, during four decades rich practical experience of work on basic problems of cable transport safety, non-destructive testing of steel cables, computer modeling and automatic computation of complex cable-rod systems, developing of safety "Rules of Ropeway Exploitation" have been accumulated. First non-destructive testing equipment for suspension ways and first edition of the "Rules of Ropeway Exploitation" for the former Soviet Union were elaborated in this Laboratory.

The results of works conducted in this laboratory are known outside the country, were patented, published and applied in practice. The laboratory is equipped with necessary research facilities and staffed with high qualification scientific personnel. The main results of the work of the Project participants are reflected in the publications (enclosed to the Project).

The scientific value of the Project is in development of non-destructive testing equipment of the cable with increased technical and exploitation characteristics, namely, with resolution ability, interference resistance and stable high-quality perception. The aims set forth shall be achieved by application of improved finding devices based on galvanomagnetic effect.

The computer model of cable system of suspension transport will enable to state the rational parameters of suspension ropeways safe exploitation. In this part of the Project the positive experience obtained by the workers of the Laboratory of the Cable Transport at modeling the rarefied space systems.

The practical results of the work shall be:

– development of flaw detector having improved technical and operational characteristics which would enable to make qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the cable serviceability. The flaw detector will have increased accuracy and improved high-quality perception will be easy to operate and low-cost;

– development of application programs for computing and designing the cable systems of ropeways. It will allow to simulate the various extreme situations and to define optimal parameters, which will provide the increased safety of exploitation;
– recommendations on harmonization of national normative rules of safe exploitation of suspension ways with analogous document of European Union.

The Project meets the requirements and goals of ISTC: in the Project scientists involved earlier in weapons activity shall participate. The results of the work shall have commercial and practical value and thus shall promote the transition of the country to the market economy. The exchange of information and direct relations will result inintegration of the above mentioned scientists into the world scientific community.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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