Help from above!

30 June 2014

SNOWsat is the professional fleet and snow management solution with snow depth measurement from Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG. Best slope quality plus environmentally sound and profitable business are the cornerstones of a successful ski resort. This requires comprehensive recording and evaluation of the complex workflows, cost structures and current situation of the ski resort (vehicle fleet and ski slopes). This knowledge enables the resort to identify saving potentials and realise optimisation.

The SNOWsat fleet and snow management system is Kässbohrer's response to this complex issue. SNOWsat helps to analyse and optimise workflows and the associated costs over short and long periods.

A resort must have detailed knowledge of its flows and the current situation of its slopes and vehicles if it wants to offer optimum slope quality and to profit from efficiency increases and cost saving potentials. With SNOWsat these savings can be as high as 15 %. This is achieved on the one hand through daily snow depth updates, which mean that artificial snow is produced precisely and only as needed. In addition, snow deposits and critical points can be detected promptly, ensuring that a total snow covering can be maintained at all times. Fleet use can also be optimised using the vehicle data. Reduced fuel consumption, lower fuel emissions, fewer machine hours and shorter working hours are the result. This pays off for the resort in the form of reduced operating costs and improved snow quality.

These savings are not one-off effects. Improvements can also be achieved on an ongoing basis by recording and analysing fleet and snow data.

Convinced customers.

There are now numerous customer testimonials from a variety of ski resorts confirming the impressive cost-effectiveness of this system. “Thanks to SNOWsat we are now using GPS and know immediately and exactly where the critical points are and where we can remove snow. Or where we need to use the snow guns – and more importantly – where we don't! This saves real money – and saved us last season during the snow-poor winter” – Anton Ostler, Head of Snow Production at Bayerischen Zugspitzbahnen in Garmisch.

SNOWsat – a system from one source.

SNOWsat is based on an integrated-solution approach to fleet and snow management from one place. The illustration (07303_snowsat_grafik_v01_DE.pdf) shows the structure and components of the system. Essentially, the system can be divided into the segments of vehicle systems, infrastructure and evaluation.

In its simplest form the vehicle system consists of a “Black-Box”, which records the vehicle data and transmits it wirelessly (wifi) to a server in the ski resort. The top-of-the-range vehicle system has a highly accurate snow depth measuring system and an additional touchscreen for the driver. The system is equipped with professional components for position calculation from Trimble®, which have also been used for years in agriculture, mining and on construction sites. It's logical then that new Trimble® technologies, such as the xFill™,are also used with SNOWsat. xFill™ guarantees highly accurate snow depth measurement using a geostationary satellite, even if correction data from the base station is temporarily unavailable. In addition to this, the integrated computer uses other sensor data and reference depth information for snow depth calculation in real-time.

Snow depth measurement with SNOWsat is effected using a 1-metre grid resolution  and achieves a particular accuracy of up to 3 cm.

The additional touchscreen provides the driver with all information at a glance. As well as the map of the ski resort, the system also displays information such as current snow depth, slope edges, anchor points, snow-making equipment, lifts, roads and paths, buildings and danger points (cliffs, scarps etc.). Moreover, the driver can switch between a display of snow depth and traffic routes.

Because it is simple to use, drivers only require a short induction before using SNOWsat for real. Thanks to logical symbols, plus functions and control elements perfectly tailored to need, drivers immediately feel confident with the system.

There are almost no limits in terms of map size: SNOWsat covers the entire ski resort – regardless of how big it is. Thus, drivers do not have to switch back and forth between different map sections, but rather have a full overview of the entire area at all times.

Alongside PistenBully groomers, the SNOWsat systems can of course be fitted in other vehicles.

The system's infrastructure includes base station, repeater, server and wifi access point. The server processes the data recorded by the vehicles and transmitted via wifi and makes this available for evaluation. The ski resort's existing infrastructure can be used for this purpose. The base station and repeater are only required for highly accurate snow depth measurement. To achieve this, the base station calculates correction signals and sends these to the vehicles via UHF. Repeaters are used to forward the signals from the base station depending on the size and topology of the resort. Coverage can be increased still further in this regard with xFill™.

Evaluation is effected with the corresponding software components: SNOWsat FLEET, SNOWsat CAN and SNOWsat Z, which use the server data. SNOWsat FLEET and SNOWsat CAN are used for fleet management: The aim here is to analyse and optimise daily working processes and vehicle use. In addition to expenditure and cost analysis, this system also offers the security of traceability in the event of damage.

SNOWsat FLEET and SNOWsat Z are designed for snow management. They display and analyse the already groomed slopes and snow depth information, enabling the operator to identify further requirements based on this information.



Snow-making interface.

SNOWsat also provides a standardised interface for snow depth data, which facilitates an exchange with the control software of the snow-making equipment. This is currently realised with ATTAS+ from TechnoAlpin, but the plan is to offer software from other manufacturers in future. Thanks to the snow depth data the system gathers, it is now very easy for resort operators to produce snow where it is truly needed.

Good service.

Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG is a giant in the snow groomer market. The functionality of the firm's products and solutions is universally acknowledged. Kässbohrer's many years of experience, technical know-how and an unbeatable global service network ensure comprehensive support, which corresponds to the firm's long-term reputation as a reliable partner. SNOWsat is supported by a continually growing team of more than 20 people across France, Germany and Switzerland, ensuring that software development is as much of a focus as sales, service and training. Stefan Lux has held overall responsibility for this division since April 2014. “Alongside the objective of offering the best fleet and snow management solution on the market in SNOWsat, we want to deliver comprehensive support to our customers. We provide reliable and expert support to take them from the design and project planning, to installation and finally to daily use of SNOWsat. At the same time, we will continue to refine SNOWsat and adapt it to our customers' changing needs.”

Kässbohrer has long been committed to  refinement in partnership for the products and solutions it offers. A lively exchange prevails here too between the SNOWsat team and the customers of more than 100 vehicles, which are now running with SNOWsat.

The diverse benefits and high saving and optimisation potentials make SNOWsat a worthwhile investment for the future for any ski resort looking for a fleet and snow management solution.

SNOWsat – structure and components at a glance
Stefan Lux has been the product manager with global responsibility for the SNOWsat product since April 2014.
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