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Adhesives specified for arduous sub-zero task

Adhesives specified for arduous sub-zero task

Able to operate night and day in sub-zero temperatures, the Prinroth Beast is the most powerful piste groomer in the world. It is also the most efficient, with over 40% more grooming area, which is good news for the environment. Key to its effectiveness is adhesive technology to secure components and seal hydraulics.

Powered by a 12.5 litre Caterpillar C13 Acert turbo diesel engine, the Prinroth Beast is responsible for grooming the ski slopes, at night and when others are enjoying the après-ski. Four 180cc Bosch Rexroth hydraulic pumps transmit the power to the tracks and drive the tillers and blades. But the Beast is not just about performance; styled by the world-famous Pininfarina design studio, it is also about looks and comfort.

Piste grooming is best done at night when the skiers and snow boarders are in the bars or tucked up in bed. Outside, though, it is not so cosy, with the Beat operating in temperatures around 30° below freezing and on slopes that can be over 45° steep. That puts strenuous demands on components and systems.

Manufacturer Prinroth is based in Italy, where components shipped from Canada, the US and local plants are hand-assembled to individual customer specification. “We need to work fast but without any compromise on safety or reliability,” explained Peter Wieser, head of assembly at Prinroth. “That is why we use Loctite products. They are easy to work with and we can rely on them 100%.”

The Beast relies extensively on Loctite engineering adhesives from Henkel to secure components and seal hydraulic systems, the efficiency of which in driving the tracks, blades and tillers is crucial to the Beast. For sealing hoses Prinroth uses Loctite 572 to create an instant seal that cures to burst strength. Loctite 638 is also used, typically to retain ice studs and aluminium track blades. As well as being able to cope with pressures up to 550 bar, the product naturally has to withstand temperatures way below zero. Loctite 638 is one of Henkel’s popular retaining compounds and provides the best resistance to dynamic, axial and radial loads. This Henkel family of high strength products is capable of carrying high loads and filling all voids to prevent and corrosion and fretting. As they provide 100% contact, load and stress is distributed evenly over the joint. Wieser added: “We can safety use Loctite 638 with a lot of different materials and it is extremely strong. Because of the extreme conditions, any mechanical failure is potentially very serious so we must always deliver the highest quality of workmanship.”

Loctite threadlocking products prevent self-loosening and secure any threaded fastener against vibration and shock loads. The product predominantly used by Prinroth for this purpose is Loctite 243 – an easy-flowing liquid that completely fills the gaps between mating threads. A typical application on the Beast is on M20 bolts tightened to 365Nm to secure the track-drive wheel.  

“There is no production line here as such because the machines are customised and not mass-produced. That means we must be flexible,” concluded Wieser. “Loctite has the right products for all our requirements, clearly labelled and easy to use, which is vital when things get busy.”

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