Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds (SHPG) is an award-winning winter testing facility for automotive, component and tyre manufacturers located in New Zealand. Nearly 50 internationally reputed companies would gather in this $50 million complex to test their products in an array of tracks such as ice, flats, gradients, circles and other customised conditioned infrastructure.
One of the internationally reputed companies renting a track at SHPG would like to compare their new factory vehicles performance between a normal, icy and snowy road conditions. They need to condition the track to not freeze and accumulate snow.
This track is 150m of length and can either be high or low friction surfaces. It should be kept in an ideal condition for ABS braking development, cold fiction evaluation, μ testing, motor control and tyre testing.
Keeping the mountain track in an ideal condition during winters is a big challenge; especially when average temperatures are -10 degrees Celcius and average snow accumulation is 40cm deep. The track should not ever accumulate snow and ice throughout the event even with the change in weather conditions. Additionally, the temperature of the track should not be too hot that it may damage the road or melt the tyre. Any cancellation of testing due to unmeet road conditions may cost thousands of dollars.
Additionally, any solution proposed should not consume the time that may be utilised for automotive testing. The testing schedule is back-to-back with limited intervals.
It is obvious that to maintain consistent track conditions in winter is to maintain consistent track temperature. An efficient and cost-effective method must be utilized especially if the Snow-melt system must continuously run for 3 months.
Miles of pex tubing was installed beneath the surface of the track. St. Roch Commodore Boiler was selected to heat the polypropylene glycerol mixture that circulates through the tubing, keeping the track at an acceptable temperature that may be between 38 to 40 degrees. This boiler is built with a tough hypo-eutectic cast iron combustion chamber and comes with anti-corrosion guarantee. It is paired with Bentone burner because of its energy saving capabilities and its adherence to the environment-friendly requirements. It also helps that this burner operates quietly.