The race is on. The adrenaline is rising. The final seconds are counting down on the clock. The slope is free and as the gate drops the competitors take off. In parallel snowboarding, a good start is crucial; being just one millisecond slow can lose you the race. If the starting gates do not drop simultaneously, or at all, one athlete has a slower start, which may impact his or her performance and potentially cost them a medal. Equally important, a ‘faulty’ gate casts a bad light on the manufacturer of the gate.
An important factor in snowboard parallel races is that the start gate opens safely and reliably for all participants. This is the only way to ensure a timely start and fair competition conditions for the athletes. For more than 40 years, Swiss Timing has been supporting athletes with high-quality equipment in various disciplines - not only in winter sports. Swiss Timing offers comprehensive and reliable technologies and services for professional timing.
Professional snowboarding is a young winter sport that became an Olympic sport only ‘recently’: in 1998. While its various disciplines - parallel giant slalom, parallel slalom, and snowboard cross – require different skills, they have one important thing in common: an optimal take-off makes the winner.
The rules are similar to those of other winter sports such as, for instance, alpine skiing. The athletes are behind a starting gate. When the start signal is given, the gate drops, and timing starts. To ensure fair conditions for all participants, the gate must drop quickly and reliably every time.
In the parallel race, it is important for both participants to be able to start under the same conditions. This means athletes should not be able to drop the gate manually, and the gate should function perfectly, including at temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius.
When safety and every one hundredth of a second counts
A very undesirable scenario in a snowboard parallel race is the unintentional opening of the starting gate. Manual opening must be prevented in any case to ensure a safe start.
This demands a smart, fool-proof starting gate with a reliable locking system.
And this is where linear solenoids come into play. High-quality, robust solenoids - such as Kendrion’s RM050 - are used to lock the starting gate, guaranteeing safe and fair starting conditions for every participant.
Another important point for fairness in the race is that the different gates go up and drop down exactly at the same time. Swiss Timing, one of the world's leading sports timekeepers, relies on electromagnetic solutions from Kendrion for locking the gates. Swiss Timing holds the starting gate in position with a cylindrical solenoid that is approved for maximum performance.When the start signal is given, the power supply to the solenoid is simultaneously interrupted. This causes the starting gate to drop down due to its own weight, so the athletes can start the race.
Highly precise and reliable solenoid technology, also for extreme conditions
For winter sports enthusiasts, sunny, windless and single-digit, minus temperatures are usually advantageous. The slopes are in an ideal condition and visibility is good. However, in some winter sports locations temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius can occur, which is very demanding on snowboarding technology. In icy ambient temperatures, specifically electronic components must be of very robust quality that remain reliable no matter what during a snowboard race. Swiss Timing uses Kendrion's RM050 high-performance solenoid to lock the start gates because they meet these tough conditions perfectly.
The RM050 from Kendrion is a high-performance solenoid that perfectly meets the requirements for locking starting gates for snowboard parallel races. It is highly precise, has a fast response time and reliably locks the starting gate. Even in temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius, the RM050 is the perfect choice. It has a maintenance-free armature bearing and a very long service life. In addition, it is so large and robust that it can hold the heavy start flap securely closed. Unintentional opening is reliably prevented. In addition, its fast reaction time is an important point for the execution of a snowboard race.
In short, the RM050 solenoid offers the following advantages:
- high level of precision
- high reliability
- long service life
- maintenance-free armature bearing
- temperature resistance up to -40 degrees Celsius
- fast response time
- safe from manipulation
Since the winter of 2022, Swiss Timing has been using high-quality and reliable solenoid technology from Kendrion for locking its snowboard gates. The gates will first be used in the FIS Snowboard World Cup, and at future Winter Olympics.
Kendrion solenoid technology: not ‘just’ for winter sports applications
Kendrion draws on over 100 years of experience in the production and development of electromagnetic components. We specialize in innovative solutions and find a solution for any challenge. In addition to universal actuators and solenoids, our product portfolio also includes fluid and control technology.
We would like to thank Ferratec Industrial Solutions AG in Switzerland for this exciting story. For many years now, Ferratec has distributed Kendrion’s extensive portfolio of solenoid solutions and valve technology in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. This close collaboration enables us to provide products and service that perfectly meet individual customer requirements.
Need a solenoid or valve solution for your industrial application? Contact us. Kendrion and Ferratec are experienced partners who will provide you with competent support.
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