Swiss lifting and transportation specialist Feldmann Pneukran + Transport (Feldmann) and German heavy-duty modular trailer specialist Goldhofer collaborated to develop a custom solution for transporting cable car ropes.

Feldmann was tasked with transporting the steel wire cable car ropes over 200 km, from the Fatzer Wire Ropes factory in Switzerland to their end location – Germany’s highest mountain: Zugspitze. Each steel wire rope was 4,900 metres long, 72 mm in diameter, and weighed at least 29.75 kg per metre – giving a total weight of more than 145 tonnes.

Given the challenging size and weight of the cargo, Feldmann decided the best solution was to work with Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft to develop a one-off solution for the vehicle configuration.

“We started off by having special rope drums made so that the rig could travel along the autobahns,” explained Marcel Guilbert, manager transport operations at Feldmann. The front drum was designed for a maximum diameter of 4.5 m, so that the complete wire rope could be wound onto it prior to transportation. However, in order to transport the drum without exceeding the overall legal height limit of 4.3 m, Goldhofer and Feldmann designed a solution that ‘trimmed’ the top segment of the drum.

At the same time, Feldmann and Goldhofer worked on developing what they describe as the world’s first dedicated wire rope drum bridge. “The bridge design was my idea and was perfectly implemented in cooperation with Goldhofer,” said Guilbert. “It’s a really unique solution, which has not been built in this form before.” The dedicated wire rope drum bridge has a payload capacity of 100 tons.

To move the rope drum bridge Feldmann chose to use a Goldhofer STHP/ET 4+7, which has a maximum axle load of 23 tonnes. A rear vehicle for a second, smaller rope drum was provided by subcontractor Wipfli Transporte. “In view of the weight of the cargo, for all four trips each rope was divided up between two drums on two vehicles in a push-pull configuration for the full distance of the journey,” explained Guilbert. “With an overall rig length of more than 54 m, this was a challenging mission on certain sections of the route.”

According to Feldmann, the journey between Switzerland and Germany, via Liechtenstein and Austria, posed a number of challenges. “There were a number of roundabouts to be negotiated,” said Guilbert. “With a total rig length of over 54 m that was not always easy, but the hydraulic axle suspension system on the THP/ET did a great job. In Schaan [Liechtenstein] the route led through the centre of the village, and a number of road signs had to be taken down. The last leg of the journey included a gradient of over 14 percent. Despite a wet road, the 252 tonne rig took it in its stride.”

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