Safety On The Ski Slopes . . .
When we think of safety on the ski slopes, it’s not usually tractors or bright, warm summer days that come to mind. One of our big projects this year, however, was just that. This tractor clears mountain ski slopes to prepare them for fun in the snow all winter. With its tracks, it can climb slopes steeper than it can stay up-right on. It’s a big problem when the tractor tumbles down the mountain.
Design In Safety
These photos don’t show the really steep slopes. However, for safety, this tractor was rigged with a special custom machine that includes a winch system to secure it to the mountain while operating on steep slopes. If you look, you’ll notice there was not room in the front (uphill side) to mount winches. Time to get creative. The winches mount at the rear, then guildes are at the front so the cables actually feed from the front. That makes it stable. It also makes it feed cable onto the winches in a very uniform fashion. With this, it can now operate on very steep ski runs without the risk of tumbling to the bottom.
In the photos below, you can see the gray attachments at the back, and the cable system incorporated. 2 big, wireless control winches are in the box along with 3 big batteries. While the engine alternator does feed and charge them, the batteries are there to handle the high operating currents of both winches at once.
The wedge shaped pieces are ramps to roll the tractor back on so it can chip, even when on a very steep slope. Normally, the chipper operation limit is 30 degrees incline, but with these ramps, the tractor can function on a 45 degree slope. The blue straps are just hanging there.
These pictures show creativity to solve problems. They also show design work from engineering experience, and one-off parts (effectively prototype parts) designed for success. Of course, we purchase what we can for cost and reliability, yet some components are created by CNC machining, others laser cut, and still others fabricated.
Custom Machine Projects
Just one more interesting and diverse engineering project. That’s what we do at Synthesis. We’re always happy to be part of custom machines that make the world better in some small way.
Custom machines like this are not uncommon at Synthesis — well, of course, each is unique. But, building custom machines of all sorts and sizes, configurations and functionality is not uncommon. We build very small machines as well as monsters. We build them as prototypes for production, as well as one-off machines, like this one, to fill a specific function.
This tractor is a medium size custom machine for us. We did not build the tractor, only modified it. For an example of something much more complex, check out the SIM Demonstration Video. Is there one we can design and build for you?
For more information about potentially working on your own project, please read our article on getting an Engineering Quote. Let us know if we can help.