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Poma, also known as Pomagalski S.A. is a French company which manufactures cable-driven lift systems, including fixed and detachable chairlifts, gondola lifts, funiculars, aerial tramways, people movers, and surface lifts. Poma has installed about 7800 devices for 750 customers worldwide.
Poma's only major competitor is the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group which is based in Austria and Switzerland. Italy's Leitner was historically another competitor until 2000 when Leitner's parent company became the majority owner of Poma. Poma and Leitner remain independent, but formed a strategic partnership which includes the combined purchase of raw materials and the formation of Leitner-Poma as a joint venture in North America.
The majority of Poma's lifts are used in ski areas in Europe and Asia, they have also installed installations in amusement parks, scenic locations, and industrial transportation applications. Although term Poma lift technically refers to any Poma installation, but it is mostly commonly used as a generic term for a platter lift, as it was the company's first and most popular system.
In 1936, Jean Pomagalski installed their first ski lift on the Eclose Trail in l'Alpe d'Huez in France. In 1947, he founded Pomagalski S.A. in Fontaine, France. The first Poma chairlifts were built in 1958 in France and the United States. 1967 brought the first detachable gondolas built by Poma. The corporate headquarters and the production shops are still in Fontaine, but since 1988 most of their management, design engineering, sales and service offices are in Voreppe, France. Poma currently employs approximately 750 people worldwide.
Early Poma chairlifts were installed at Squaw Valley, California for the 1960 Winter Olympics. Poma also supplied lifts for the Olympic Winter Games at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia in 1984, at Albertville, France in 1992, at Lillehammer, Norway in 1994 and is now working on lifts for the 2014 Games at Sochi, Russia.
Poma's fixed grip chairlifts have proven popular throughout the world. Poma's first two-seater fixed grip chairlift was constructed in 1958. Following this, the three-seater chairlift was introduced in 1973. This was followed by four-seater, and more recently six and eight seater fixed grip chairlifts.
The Alpha chairlift terminal was introduced in 1982 and continues to be popular today. Prior to the Alpha terminal, Delta terminals were used. This type of terminal was such a great success that even presently a majority can still be seen operating worldwide. Both the Delta and Alpha chairlift terminals have the capability of being converted into detachable lifts later on, thus increasing the chairlift's capacity without constructing an entirely new installation.
Poma introduced detachable chairlifts in 1982, shortly after its competitor, Doppelmayr. The first Poma detachable chairlifts ran at an operating speed of 5 m/s - which, at the time, was the fastest in the world. In 1991, Poma unveiled their Omega detachable terminal which was more compact than previous terminals. The company built its first six passenger detachable chairlift in 1993 and its first eight passenger lift was constructed in Méribel, France in the year 2000. Also in 2000, the company replaced the Omega line of detachable terminals with the new Phoenix model. In addition, Poma also have now introduced the Multix terminals in their detachable chairlifts, while new North American lifts continue to feature the Omega terminal.
Poma built its first detachable gondolas in Val d'Isere, Chalmazel, Les Menuires (France) and Queenstown (New Zealand) in 1967. It built the world's first six passenger gondola in 1973, also in France in Villard-de-Lans. The world's first ten passenger gondola was built by the company in 1984, followed by the world's first 16 passenger version in 1988.
The company has built three funitels to date: the Funitel du Grand Fond, a detachable funitel built in 2001, the Funitel du Bouquetin, a fixed grip jig-back funitel built in 2003 (both located at Val Thorens in France) and the more recent Funitel de la Perdrix in Super-Besse, France, which was built in 2008 and is the first Funitel to feature the shared mechanics of Leitner and Poma.
Telemix is Poma's brand name for a detachable lift that is equipped with both gondola cabins and chairs. The terminal stations are the same as the company's detachable gondolas and chairlifts.
Poma's first model was the Pomalift, a surface lift with a disk that skiers sit on. It has the ability to travel at high speeds because the platters are detachable from the haul rope, and because the perch is telescopic and has a pneumatic system which allows for a smooth and progressive departure. They are still sold today along with T-Bars and fixed grip platters.
Poma has built a number of large aerial tramways, the first being the Aguille du Midi Cable Car on Mont Blanc in 1956. In 2003, Poma built the world's largest reversible ropeway to connect the French resorts of Les Arcs and La Plagne, the Vanoise Express. The double decker tramway can hold up to 200 people at a time in each cabin. Currently, Poma works on the replacement of the Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York, which will use a design based mechanically on the Vanoise Express.
Poma has built numerous funiculars which are cable driven railways that can climb steep pitches. Poma also had a partnership with Otis Elevator, known as Poma-Otis Transportation Systems, to build Automated People Movers.
Fixed-grip chairlift, with Delta terminal built in 1986 in Le Lioran, France.
Leitner-Poma of America, Inc. is a partnership between Poma and Leitner of Italy that builds Poma lifts in North America, New Zealand, and Australia. Leitner-Poma offers the full line of Poma products and manufactures most of the components at its headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Poma came to North America in the early 1950s under the name of Pomalift, Inc., installing its first lift in Canada in 1952 and in the US in 1953. Pomalift Inc. changed its name to Poma of America in 1981 with the establishment of its office and factory at Grand Junction, Colorado. Since 1989, all detachable chairs for North America, New Zealand, and Australia have been designed and built in Colorado. In September 2001, the merger of Poma and Leitner's North American operations was announced forming Leitner-Poma of America.
Agudio S.P.A, Poma's Italian operations, also known as Poma Italia, specializes in funiculars, cablecars and other specific rope transportation systems. It was founded before Poma in 1860.
Sigma is based in Veyrins, Isère, France and specializes in the production of cabins for gondola lifts, funiculars, ferris wheels and people movers. Its two competitors are Doppelmayr subsidiary CWA and an independent Swiss company Gangloff.
Semer is based in le Fayet, Haute-Savoie, France, it is responsible for the automation and electronics used in Poma Group's products.
Comag is based in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Savoie, France, and operates as Poma's civil engineering and mountain installations company.
Also part of the group are Sacmi and SKIrail, and a network of overseas subsidiaries such as Leitner Poma Japan, Poma Beijing Ropeways, etc.