Cable cars in urban environments – with technology from SEW EURODRIVE

When constructing cable cars, SEW‑EURODRIVE is repeatedly proposed as a reliable, experienced supplier of drive technology. Many customers rely on drives from this family firm, based in Bruchsal, Germany. In addition to a high level of quality and reliability, this is because the client also benefits from a strong international service network.

Initially, cable cars were used for transporting material and eventually also people across terrain that would otherwise have been tough to traverse. Of course, this included "climbing" mountains and the development of winter sports areas.

However, cable cars have also been gaining popularity for several decades when it comes to their use in public mass transit. Here they are referred to as urban cableways. In Europe, funiculars are most popular. They serve as transport hubs, for example, as connections to public transit systems or even to transport people between airport terminals. However, most such extensive transport networks exist primarily outside of Europe, e.g., in South America, where implementation is easier from a regulatory perspective.

Urban cableways are becoming an increasingly important mode of public transport. (Copyright: hoteisemaparecida.com)

When implementing cableways (not just in urban settings), manufacturers are increasingly relying upon SEW‑EURODRIVE's knowledge. The specialist in drive technology and automation has established a great deal of industry expertise in its 85-year history and has continued to develop their drives in conjunction with their use in cableways.


In addition to cableway technology itself, the main drive of a cableway is the key element in order to ensure operation and to guarantee that passengers reach their destination as desired. In contrast to a mountain cable car system – which often only has one section, with valley and mountain stations – in a full public cableway network, it is even more important that drives do their job reliably and operate continuously.


If one part of the cableway is out of service, this can have a major impact on the entire system. As a result, many customers have opted to rely on SEW‑EURODRIVE drives, because the company’s strong, worldwide service network is always in close proximity to its customers – not just during the sales phase, but also during the entire service life of a cableway.


Eight million visitors each year attend Brazil's most important site of pilgrimage, Aparecida near São Paulo, on a gondola cable car. Here, the customer also opted to ensure they had a strong partner by their side, choosing SEW‑EURODRIVE to implement their project. In addition to expert advice from the experienced Swiss general representative, Alfred Imhof AG, the end customer was also impressed by SEW‑EURODRIVE's proximity to their site, so any queries can be dealt with locally by a contact person.

The complete drive unit from SEW EURODRIVE provides a nominal gear unit torque of 78 000 Nm and a motor power of 132 kW.
Technical data relating to the cableway:

A complete drive unit from SEW‑EURODRIVE, consisting of:

-    X4KH200 main gear

         Nominal gear unit torque: 78 000 Nm

         Reduction ratio: i = 79.69

         Built-in oil-air cooler

-    DRE315S4/V/NIB main motor

         Motor power: 132 kW

         Including forced cooling fan and current‑insulated bearing

More from Alfred Imhof AG about products and solutions for cableways at: