Eco-friendly business is essential on the slopes nowadays. Winter sports tourism and standard resort practice has and continues to be looked upon critically by environmentalists. As a result, efficient and high-quality snow grooming has to go hand-in-hand with environmental protection. Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG has been tackling the challenge of reconciling these two aspects with great passion for many years.
For Jens Rottmair, CEO of Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, this commitment is a matter of responsibility: "It is winter sport itself that reminds us of our duty. Perfectly groomed slopes are simply part of a great ski day. Thus, as a firm with key expertise in snow grooming and management we are required to give our customers, the ski resorts, the best tools available to facilitate cost-effective work of the highest quality. Our entire approach has essentially been shaped by environmental thinking for years though", says Jens Rottmair. "Profitability, energy efficiency, resource conservation and safety are the key factors in meaningful innovation."
Blue IQ - corporate philosophy of action
At Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG all aspects of corporate strategy for a responsible approach to the future come together under the umbrella of BlueIQ. Michael Kuhn, Head of Development at the firm, explains this idea: "As the world market leader we are convinced that technical innovations must be incorporated into integrated concepts. This is the only way you can do justice to future generations. This thinking has shaped our entire vehicle and product development, the technologies used and production processes, as well as our understanding of service, the availability of spare parts and training. That's why we bring together economic, ecological and social factors in all areas of our firm."
This results in a portfolio of intelligently coordinated products and applications: including the very successful SNOWsat snow and fleet management system, the PistenBully 600 E+ with diesel-electric drive, or the SCR engine technology that substantially lowers the volume of nitrogen oxide (NOX) in exhaust gases and dramatically reduces the emission of fine dust particles. The potential for remote maintenance (telemetry) is also noteworthy: The first stage is online error analysis. Only then does the service technician head off to the customer. This reduces unnecessary trips.
We are deeply committed to encouraging the next generation of talent, and to developing and establishing new forms of winter sport and the appeal of winter sports. "This means more benefits and greater profitability for our customers. And a better environment for all of us", adds Jens Rottmair.
PistenBully 600 E+ with diesel-electric drive: Good for nature, good for your image
The PistenBully 600 E+ offers the best of two systems. As the world's first and only snow groomer with a diesel-electric drive, it impresses thanks to its performance figures, its cost-effectiveness and its low environmental impact. The high efficiency reduces fuel consumption and emissions of NOX and CO2 by 20 % in each case. In addition, 99 % fewer sooty particles are released into the environment.
Accompanying all of the technical advantages, according to Jens Rottmair: "Our customers are always highlighting how quiet the PistenBully 600 E+ is. They can now work grooming the slopes later at night closer to inhabited areas. Moreover, with the PistenBully 600 E+ our customers are taking a definitive pro-environment stance - visible to every skier. The E+ is the right vehicle for ski resorts that make a deliberate choice of sustainability and also want to market themselves in that way." And that applies to ever more ski resorts. There are now over 30 PistenBully 600 E+ at work around the world.
SNOWsat snow and fleet management: convincing environmental technology
Producing machine-made snow has long been essential for many ski resorts. The resultant water and energy requirement has become one of the biggest cost drivers in the ski resort. Thanks to SNOWsat, superfluous snow production is finally a thing of the past. Ground damage has almost completely disappeared as well. Ultimately this is bound to save costs in the long-term. Michael Kuhn is especially proud of this: "SNOWsat is built on our experience from the last 45 years. We have succeeded in creating an all-round well-developed and future-oriented system, which both helps customers with their eco-friendly business and dramatically reduces costs. SNOWsat is also extremely popular in North America, having now emerged as one of the highlights." And: "It is a great feeling when you're talking to clients and can sense their enthusiasm when the conversation turns to SNOWsat. We're getting positive feedback about the savings and the fact that vehicles with SNOWsat are far more in demand among drivers. It was the same for us too the first time we had sat nav in a car..." Both are in agreement on this. Energy efficiency not just on the snow, but also at headquarters The best quality services and environmentally-oriented business are in no way mutually exclusive. Sustainability has long been a major focus at all Kässbohrer locations: "Environmental certification in accordance with ISO 14001:2004, a daylight-dependent, energy-saving lighting concept throughout the factory, paper-reducing document management in administration." Michael Kuhn lists a few of the initiatives. "We are particularly proud of our combined heat and power plant which is run on natural gas. We use most of the electricity produced ourselves. Any surplus is fed into the grid. The generated heat is used for heating and water heating in our factory in Laupheim. Superfluous energy generated during testing is also put to good use. Together with the combined heat and power plant, this means we produce 40 % of our own energy."
Research project for pioneering tourism in the Alps
In partnership with selected firms, Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG is involved in a very interesting environmental project Mount++ in Alpbach: with scientific support from the Uni Innsbruck, Alpbach is currently the research focus for pioneering tourism in the Alps. In addition to eco-friendly use of the ski resort, the goal is to find intelligent and practical solutions for energy and resource savings in the local area and the region.
Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG will continue to be involved in projects like this. "It's a matter of course for us to keep pursuing this environmental orientation in the future as well - in light of our commitment to a responsible approach to the future", confirms Jens Rottmair.