Wireless maximizes the skiing experience
Plenty of snow, open slopes and good preparation are important in today’s skiing experience. Simply relying on the weather is not enough, and the amount of snow produced by machines is increasing every year. Lenko is a pioneer in fully automatic snow production.
Lenko, nowadays DEMACLENKO, currently supplies snow systems worldwide. Machine-made snow can withstand heat and also wear from skiers better than natural snow. It also degrades less over time. By automating the production of snow, up to 30% more snow can be produced compared to manual snowmaking, and this also results in reduced environmental stress.
Lenko’s process is fully automatic and it can be compared to an industrial automation. The snow machines could in principle be controlled with a standard PLC, but Lenko has chosen to develop its own hardware and control system, because environmental requirements are difficult to meet with standard products. Lenko’s current automation system specification is reminiscent of a military standard, with tough specifications for mechanical strength as well as environmentally high standards.
Keeping an eye on the weather
Converting water into snow is about maximizing the water drops’ time in the air. These conditions are constantly changing due to weather, temperature and wind direction. In snow production the automation system continuously monitors the weather parameters.
Lenko has developed software called SNOWNet to monitor and control snow production. Communication between snow machines, weather stations, pumping stations and the control central computer is done wirelessly via SATELLINE radio modems. SNOWNet manages the entire operation of the network; the staff can access the system at any time via Internet or SMS.
The process computer with the SNOWNet starts and stops the snow machines and regulates the amount of water and air. During snow production, the system monitors and regulates a range of operating parameters, which are adjusted based on the prevailing weather conditions. The result is optimized snowmaking.
Communication solution for tough conditions
Lenko has used the SATELLINE radio modem in its solution for more than 20 years. Radio modems give the user the flexibility to place their snow guns anywhere on the slopes. The demands for the communication solution are high. The radio modems must operate properly throughout the season, and they must work well under tough conditions such as cold, humidity and vibration.
Funäsdalen in Sweden is an example of a system that Lenko delivered. In total, 22 snow machines produce snow on the slopes with a total length of 10 km. Water is taken from the nearby Ljusnan river and then distributed via a system of pumping stations, tubing and valves to 99 water distribution points throughout the system. A snow machine can be connected to any of these points. The process computer with SNOWNet communicates wirelessly via radio modems with the snow machines, pumps and valves. The result – perfect snow.