Anyone who has read one or the other of my blog articles in the past will know that I have spent a large part of my time at MANN+HUMMEL overseas. One thing I almost never managed to do, however, is to go and visit the tourist sights after finishing work for the day. Of course, now and again, there would have been time to do so, but most days were simply too stressful or exhausting for me to want to go out again in the evening. I do have holidays too, which I always use to travel and to explore the world. I began doing this when I was still working and have put even more energy into this passion since taking retirement. One of my first trips took me to South Africa, where I was soon reminded of MANN+HUMMEL.
Outstanding views from the cable car
Many people claim that the area around Cape Town and Table Mountain is the most beautiful corner of the world. And, with the wonderful hospitality of the South Africans and the mostly superb weather, it really is lovely there. Table Mountain is Cape Town’s iconic landmark, towering to a height of 1085 m and providing a home for more than 1470 different plant varieties. The king protea – South Africa’s national flower – can also be found there. A trip to Table Mountain is, of course, a must for anyone visiting Cape Town. It almost goes without saying that visitors will enjoy some spectacular views from up there.
The walk to the top takes almost two hours. When I visited just before the turn of the millennium, the new cable car was already running, making the climb to the top much more pleasant. The cable car consists of two round gondolas working in tandem, each carrying 65 people. In order to prevent the gondolas swinging in strong winds, 4000 litres of water were loaded as ballast. The real novelty, and a genuine thrill for all the visitors, was that the gondola rotated 360 degrees during the trip, which allowed everyone to take photos and enjoy the unforgettable view. This is still the case today.
What happens if the power fails?
When you are waiting at the valley station and see how steep the cable car’s ascent you are bound to ask yourself what will happen if the power fails, which was and still is a genuine possibility from time to time in South Africa. There’s no cause for concern, however, as precautions have been taken for just this eventuality: namely, an emergency generator at the valley station. This ensures that the gondolas arrive safely at whichever station they are travelling to. The emergency generator is supplied with 141 kW of power by a Deutz engine, the BFG6M 1013.
This engine is also equipped with a MANN Piclon air filter – made from sheet metal – on the inlet side, as I was delighted to discover during my visit. A large dust separation valve and a rain cap complete the equipment. You may well wonder what the reason is for including a rain cap in this application. Well, it is actually intended to prevent moisture or coarse particles from getting into the filter when air is taken in. This helps to protect the main element and extend maintenance intervals. That said, the engine is located in an enclosed space where moisture and severe dust conditions are not an issue. So, what caused the operators to fit the filter with a rain cap? I wasn’t able to find out the reason – perhaps it was simply a question of design.
MANN FILTERS ensure safety
The emergency generator with the MANN FILTER is located right at the exit from the valley station behind a glass partition, which means that 750,000 people walk past it each year. I wonder how many of these people notice that there is a MANN FILTER built in? I, for one, noticed and this reassured me that MANN+HUMMEL has a worldwide presence when it comes to intake air filters – even at the southernmost tip of Africa.
In any case, the system gives an excellent overall impression. It would be nice to see a new, more conspicuous type plate on the filter, in order to give us a bit more prominence but what was it we used to say in the company? “Our filters can be any colour, as long as they are black.” Nonetheless, I was delighted to see a product from ‘my’ company in such an exposed location and I hope that anyone who has the opportunity will get to visit this most beautiful corner of the world.