TechnoAlpin has been designing and constructing snow-making systems for over 20 years. The skills go from design to installation of the finished system. TechnoAlpin can supply a finished system to any customer, handling every part and every step of every single project.
One of the many things that distinguishes TechnoAlpin from other companies in the sector is the PLC Programming Team which is part of the system construction department. In the Bolzano headquarters alone there are 35 employees, 6 of whom are PLC programmers - a young and dynamic group.
PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) is the abbreviation for programmable memory control systems. The PLC programmer creates control programs in the pumping stations and in the valve shelters, and is responsible for the interaction with the ATASS control system. This way the software is adapted to the different mechanical and electrical needs. The PLC command allows the pumping stations to be automated.
The PLC programmers arrange the generator controls in the main control office. Each person is responsible for their own countries.
To be able to start working on a project, the PLC programmers must receive the necessary information from the systems construction department, in this case the design of every single system.
Thanks to this information, the programmers can design a program for the control device. In addition, they forward the necessary information to the department handling the ATASS software. Lastly, the program is tested on site and then controlled in the pumping stations. After various inspections, the software is ready to be finally put into operation. Lastly, a brief training course is carried out with the various managers of the ski areas, so that they can manage the software during use.
The PLC programmers provide technical support from headquarters and can potentially send a colleague from customer service directly to the customer's site.
The busiest months are from May/June to the end of December:
during the summer months, orders arrive from customers which are then processed until September. The programs ordered must be finished by the end of September, since, from September to December, the programmers are at customer sites, where they install and put the software ordered into operation.
Instead, from January to May, the programmers are at headquarters, where they provide constant support to the customers and develop new versions of the software.
The control devices for the pumping stations, or the hardware and the various components are also improved during this period.
In 2011, 271 programs were written, which mainly involved new pumping stations, expansions of already existing stations and adaption of the system to ATASSplus.
The countries most involved in the PLC system are Italy and Switzerland. Among the other countries are Austria, France, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, the Balkans and the United States.
The PLC program was introduced and used for the first time during the 2000/2001 winter season. Since then, demand has increased and today almost 400 ski areas use the PLC programs by TechnoAlpin.