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Santa Bárbara Castle

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ThyssenKrupp Elevadores España was tasked with modernizing the castle’s vertical transportation.

Santa Bárbara Castle in Alicante, Spain, is a ninth-century fortress built during the country’s Muslim occupation. Located on the summit of Monte Benacantil, the castle is a symbol of the city and an important tourist attraction. To improve the architectural site and tourist accessibility, a rehabilitation project was designed for the castle, consisting of the renovation of the inner walls, areas to be used as a museum, exhibition rooms and entrance to the castle from Postiguet Beach.

ThyssenKrupp Elevadores España was awarded the contract to modernize the castle’s vertical transportation. The final stage of the renovation plan required the replacement of elevators installed by Otis in the 1960s. The elevators had a 12-person capacity, traveled at 2 mps and had not been significantly modernized since installation. The units had operational problems preventing both elevators from operating simultaneously, limiting visitor accessibility.

The third stage of the project was divided into two parts:

  1. The complete renovation of access tunnels to the lower and upper elevators; the lower tunnel, with a length of 220 m, connects Postiguet Beach to the elevator entrance. The upper tunnel, with a length of 100 m, provides access to the king’s rooms.
  2. The complete replacement of the elevators installed in a 3.4-m-diameter shaft excavated in rock from the summit of Monte Benacantil down to sea level; these ran for a length of 142 m with three stops: the entrance, another stop at 120 m to access the king’s rooms and another at 142 m to access the museum.

The Otis elevators were completely replaced using the shaft’s existing dimensions and holding elements. This meant the measurements and design of the new units had to be adapted to increase traffic and capacity.

The newly installed elevators have a load capacity of 1125 kg (15 persons) and travel through a single shaft. Travel time has been reduced to 36 s. A vertical motorway has a height of 142 m, with the elevators traveling at a speed of 4 mps. The elevators have three stops: the first at street level, the second at 120 m and the third at 142 m.

The engine room is located above the vertical axis of the shaft. It was modernized by reinforcing the flagstone and installing new gearless machines, including an SC 400 synchronous engine and Thyssocontrol Multican® TCM-MC1 controllers with an attached CPI 50 R variable-voltage, variable-frequency controller with energy recovery. Suspension is differential (2:1) and uses high-performance steel-traction cables. Doors are central opening with a gap of 900 mm and equipped with traction operators regulated by frequency variation.

The elevator is controlled by a high-generation microprocessor and selective up or down operation speed with a series of functions such as automatic fire evacuation, emergency current, etc. Also of note is the automatic passenger evacuation control by means of transfer between cars, as both cars are equipped with an emergency door for this purpose. The cars travel over car guide rails and counterweight guide rails using rollers over dry rails.

The elevators are environmentally friendly, with no greasing elements. The energy-efficient frequency controller is equipped with an energy recovery unit to the network in the driving and generator phases. Cars are illuminated using LEDs.

Santa Bárbara Castle opened in April 2011. By June 2011, the newly modernized elevators had made a total of 170,000 journeys, an average of more than 2,000 trips per day.

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