New Uses and Possibilities Conveyor belts simplify rooftop snow removal
Sunkid Wonder Carpet
The Sunkid Ski Lift & Transport Equipment Company based in Imst is the leader in the passenger transport industry for ski resort conveyor belt systems, with a market share of approximately 70 percent worldwide. The team supporting Emanuel Wohlfarter has been active for years in developing new applications for the Wonder Carpet. Just such a new innovation puts the Wonder Carpet to good use - one that, as usual, involves the white gold of the Alps. Winters with high snowfall do not just beautify the landscape and improve conditions on the slopes; heavy snow also means more shoveling work for those tasked with the necessary removal. The weight of each heavy snowfall places enormous strain on many house and building roofs. In order to ensure the safety of those inside, the mountains of snow must be frequently removed from the roofs. The Sunkid Wonder Carpet offers a way to simplify this task and provides safety for the structure and those inside.
The managers of PPI Plastic Products Innovation GmbH & Co KG, located in Upper Austria, know all too well the inconvenience caused by heavy loads of snow. Their manufacturing and warehouse building #1, located in Ebensee, is 120 meters long and 120 meters wide. The surface area of the roof is approximately 14,000 m2. That's about the size of three football fields! Heavy snowfall in recent weeks caused snow to build up to a height of about 60 cm on the roof – or approximately 8,640 m3 of snow that had to be removed for safety reasons. Until now, it was necessary to deploy 50 workers for about five days to clear the snow away from the roof. Personnel costs for the snow removal amounted to about 50,000 Euros each time.
Increased safety plus cost savings – with the Wonder Carpet
For this reason, company owner Heinz Schulze invested approximately 60,000 Euro two years ago to purchase a Sunkid conveyor belt, which was then installed on the roof. The conveyor belt is 99 meters long and 60 cm wide. A 15 kW drive can theoretically move up to 500 m³ of snow per hour, at a speed of 1m/sec. The conveyor belt system is constructed with a special light-weight design, weighing in at 50 kg per meter of length. All the parts are hot-dip galvanized and can withstand any weather conditions. The conveyor belt halves all the distances for snow removal on the roof, allowing much faster cleaning. The result is increased safety and big savings for the company. The shoveling process is safer and more efficient for those on the roof, because they now can move at least half the snow to the center of the roof and not all the way to the edge. The snow is always removed from the roof at the same location, with help from the conveyor belt, which brings additional logistical advantages for removal on the ground.
Pay-off after only two uses
"The heavy snows in the last couple weeks have given us a great chance to put this conveyor belt through a baptism by fire. Already after only the first use, our investment had nearly paid itself off," says Heinz Schulze. "The warehouse roof was cleaned in only two days by 35 workers, so PPI saved a big part of the personnel expenses compared to previous snow removal operations." At an average cost of 200 Euro per day per person, the new expenditure is closer to 36,000 Euro. As a result, the investment pays itself off fully after only the second use. Sunkid General Manager Emanuel Wohlfarter is convinced that the Wonder Carpet is a worthwhile investment for a large number of businesses. "Particularly industrial companies often have one very large, or several smaller, production buildings, which accumulate enormous loads of snow. The roofs must be cleaned. The necessary work can be accelerated and simplified by using our conveyor belts. And of course, the cost savings are another added bonus." Wohlfarter believes that his conveyor belts for roofs are particularly suitable for regions around the world where there is heavy snowfall during winter.