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Inauen-Schätte

Playing basketball with the new Avalancge-Blasting Tower LM32

In the framework of the International Snow Science Workshop (ISS W), the avalanche-protection expert INAUEN-SCHÄTTI introduced its new avalanche-blasting tower LM32 – including also a curious “basketball transport” and safe avalanche-blasting system.

 

Avalanches threaten not only human lives but also the economic success of tourist regions. They disrupt access roads and operations of ski resorts and empty the coffers of ski and tourist towns. These issues are well known to the participants in the International Snow Science Workshops (ISSW). Around 1,000 international experts in scientific and practical fields recently gathered for a five days’ trade conference in Innsbruck (Austria) to discuss avalanche protection.

 

Around 40 industry visitors also took part in an excursion to Lech am Arlberg where the Swiss company INAUEN-SCHÄTTI introduced its new Avalanche Trigger LM32. This avalanche-blasting tower is a newly developed product suitable especially for places where demand for avalanche blasting is high. 

ISSW participants observe the smooth loading of the deployment box in the valley.

“Numerous customers operate ski slopes with avalanche paths where blasts are needed with greater frequency in order to keep the slopes safe. But road safety, too, often requires a high number of avalanche blasts per year. The Avalanche Trigger LM32 is made to meet this need,” says Michael Hanimann, Managing Director of Inauen-Schätti . The driving force behind the development of this new tower was feedback from those in charge of avalanche- blasting, of course, but, even more, Mr. Jürg Knobel, a tireless developer who pushed for future-oriented development.

 

It was his ideas that started the development of the Avalanche Trigger LM32 two years ago. The avalanche-blasting tower is available in three versions: 16-, 24- or 32-charge, where the 16- and 24-charge versions can be reconfigured to 32-charge at any time. Many shots, great safety, effectiveness and efficiency.

The Avalanche Trigger LM32 was also presented on the ISSW itself.

“A basketball basket” for helicopters

The ISSW excursion to Arlberg confirmed that this objective has been achieved. Here, all that had to be done on the mountain was to place an adapter with a special ring on the tower foundation. The deployment box was loaded already in the valley in all comfort. The INAUEN-SCHÄTTI team used a new loading system, S-LOAD. It employs a mechanism whereby the explosive and the primer only connect shortly before the blast; they are kept separate during transport and storage in the deployment box.

 

Just like in a game of basketball, the helicopter pilot lowered the LM32 deployment box with the help of an automatic helicopter coupling Auto-Loc in the ring directly before the eyes of the ISSW experts. He did not have to worry about any special orientation or position of the box as solar cells are installed along the entire circumference of the tower.

With the basketball basket system, the helicopter pilot is able to position the installation easily without assistance from ground staff. Photos: INAUEN-SCHÄTTI

Separate parts for higher safety

The S-Load system makes not only the transport but also the operation of LM32 safe. The explosive charge is subdivided into two parts. The upper section contains a coil and the ignition sequence (detonator, safety fuse and blasting cap) while the explosive material (explosive and detonating fuse) is positioned in the lower section of the charge. “The explosive and the primer are separated from each other during transport and storage with a tested casing.

 

It ensures that the explosive cannot be injected even if the primer is activated,” explains Knobel. Ignitability of solids has also been tested and is excluded. When the charge is dropped from the magazine box, the retaining line has three functions to fulfil: tear off the detonating fuse, connect the primer with the explosive and, finally, to hold the explosive charge two to three meters above the snowpack. Only when the charge is suspended from the line does it become live and detonation can be triggered.

Comfortable control via GSM or radio

The entire process is controlled with a new web-based control system ATMS. “Once placed in the ring, the position of the box is transmitted via GPS and other sensors and activated to be ready for detonation,” explains the Project Manager Marco Larghi. At that point, the system runs on stand-by and can be activated when needed and the 5kg charge can be ejected remotely by a computer, tablet or mobile telephone. ts