10/04/2011

 

A beast, but beautiful

It is getting dark, it is already -16°C, it is beginning to snow and you are on an icy 30 degree-steep slope. Not exactly perfect driving conditions, but the sleek metallic silver Prinoth Beast does not even blink. No wonder this monster piste groomer is the most powerful in the world! It is also the most efficient, with over 40% more grooming area, which is good news for the environment.

The heart of the Beast is the 12.5 litre Caterpillar C13 Acert turbo diesel engine, which delivers a huge 527hp at just 1,800rpm and conforms to Euromot III A guidelines. Four 180cc Bosch Rexroth hydrostatic pumps transmit the power to the tracks and drive the tillers and blades. But the Beast is not just about performance, it is also about looks and comfort. Styled inside and out by the world-famous Pininfarina design studio, it is as easy on the eye as it is on the body.

Piste grooming is best done at night when skiers and boarders are in the bars or tucked up in bed. But out there, it is not quite so cosy, with temperatures often 30 degrees or more below freezing and slopes that can be over 45 degrees steep. Prinoth relies on Loctite products extensively in the Beast to secure components and seal hydraulics, no matter how low the mercury gets.

Is this for real?
Skiers staring downhill at the start of a steep black slope know what to expect that thrilling acceleration, that rush of cold air, that hissing snow. In the Beast you have the same view, but the similarity ends there. You sit snugly in a comfortable rally-style seat, prevented from tipping forward by your harness, at a comfortable 20°C and with some nice lounge sounds from Kruder & Dorfmeister on the hi-fi. Then, best of all, you suddenly spin round and go back up that same steep slope, shifting several tons of snow at the same time! And despite the crazy angles, you feel completely stable and in control. The machine with its 527hp and 2,216Nm of torque is as powerful as a ship. There is no dramatic acceleration or braking, just the feeling that nothing can stop you.

Big benefits
The rationale behind the Beast is that thanks to its power and grooming performance, it can prepare pistes far more efficiently than smaller machines saving up to 40% on time and costs. Prinoth belongs to LEITNER Technologies, who know the ski infrastructure business inside out. The Italian conglomerate, based in Sterzing, is a world leader in ski lifts and installations and is also a major force in urban cableways and wind turbines.

Keeping the driver fresh and relaxed is also important – tiredness means more breaks and increases the chance of mistakes. That is why Prinoth worked with Pininfarina to design a cockpit that is simple and intuitive to use. The workmanship is naturally to the highest standards and fully customised so that the Beast fits the exact individual specifications of drivers and resort owners.

Safety and control
Piste grooming is not without its hazards, and resorts use their piste groomers not only to prepare the slopes but also to prevent any dangerous build-up of snow. Control is the key to safe operation and the Beast uses CANbus technology that integrates operational systems with driving conditions to deliver real-time data for on-board diagnostics, so that drivers know exactly what is going on around them. And for the worst-case scenario, the cockpit is protected by a safety cage.

Synonymous with reliability
Prinoth machines are known for their quality and reliability, which is why only the very best partners, such as Pininfarina and Caterpillar, are chosen. But as the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link, so to make sure those links stay as strong as possible, Prinoth’s assembly plant in Sterzing works with Loctite products from sealants and general adhesives, to threadlockers and retainers. “There is no production line here as such because the machines are customised and not mass produced,” explains Peter Wieser, head of assembly. “That means we must be flexible. Luckily for us, Loctite has the right product for all our requirements clearly labelled and easy to use too, which is vital when things get busy.”




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