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Line Work, Inspections, and Summer Maintenance on DRC

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

With hot and humid summer temperatures setting in this week, the Lift Maintenance crew has been focusing a lot of time and energy on the DRC A lift, which received a new haul rope last summer.

According to Ski Area Management (SAM), a haulrope will last from 30-40 years. But, as is common with all chairlift haul ropes, they stretch over the course of their lifetime as a result of the added weight from passengers and the bending that occurs from going around the bull wheel-normal wear and tear.

The most dramatic stretching occurs in the first year of haul ropes life, which often requires shortening and resplicing of the line in the year following installation. Brian LeMay from Daniel O'Connor & Sons Company of Monson, MA was on site this week to perform the yearly haul rope inspection.  His inspection found that the new haul rope had stretched roughly 12 feet over the course of the season, and is due to be shortened and respliced in September when LeMay returns for additional lift inspections.

Though yearly inspections will continue for this haul rope, marginal, if any, stretching is expected throughout its life.

Other general lift upkeep that the lift maintenance crew is responsible for during the summer months includes non-destructive testing (NDT) and line work.

Every year, 20% of chairs and grips are NDT'd in critical areas, as specified by the lift's manufacture, to check for any weaknesses or abnormalities that would deem them unsafe for operation. While there are many different methods of non-destructive testing, the tests performed by our Lift Maintenance Team include visual and electro-magnetic inspections. 

As for the line work that the crew undertakes during the summer, each sheave (the wheel-like pulleys that the haul ripe rides on) on every tower of every lift is individually inspected for wear and tear, bad bearings, and to ensure that all safety systems are working properly. To do so, a lift mechanic will mount a work chair, that is loaded with necessary equipment, to the haul rope, and ride it to from tower to tower; the haul rope is hoisted from the sheave assembly so that each sheave can spin freely, and the Lift Mechanic can perform the inspection.

This process can be tedious and time-consuming, however, it is a pivital inspection that promotes the vitality of our lifts.