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Detachable lifts are unique in that they operate at higher speeds than fixed grip lifts, often at double or triple the speed. As a result, loading and unloading these lifts would be difficult and potentially dangerous due to the higher speeds. To solve this issue, the lifts are designed to permit the chairs or gondola cabins to detach from the cable when in the terminals to allow for a lower speed to load and unload, and then reattach to travel at the highest speed possible.
Inside the terminals, the carrier will travel the contour by wheels mounted on its grip and be supported by rails and tracks overhead. When leaving, the chair will accelerate to line speed by means of wheels, that apply friction to the top of the carrier's grip plate. The wheels are driven by gears or belts, with each one faster than the last to allow the carrier to accelerate to line speed. At that time, sheave wheels will guide the haul rope into position and an overhead rail will apply pressure on the operator arm of the grip to open its mobile jaw. The mobile jaw is designed to naturally close as it is fitted with a spring pack (which you can see hanging to the left side of the grip). The spring forces the grip to close and apply the needed pressure to securely grip the haul rope. The cable will align under and move into the open grip. The overhead rail will then slope in the opposite direction to allow the mobile jaw to close onto the cable. The carrier then exits the terminal, attached and supported by the haul rope. When detaching at the top of the mountain, the same operation occurs in reverse.