No winter sports without plastics

Karan Sima Fam

How a diverse material characterizes ski touring, downhill skiing and ice hockey games

Karan Sima Fam

They form the core of the ski, shape the puck and are an essential part of the binding – Why plastics should not be missing on either snowy slopes or ice surfaces.

All over the world, winter sports enthusiasts are drawn to mountain slopes, toboggan runs and frozen lakes. There they curve, ski and glide through wintry landscapes equipped with protective clothing and sports equipment.

Skis, snowboards, ice hockey sticks – winter sports equipment is as diverse as it is complex. Each item is precisely designed and manufactured with precision. The result is lightweight, flexible and at the same time stable equipment that enables the optimal experience on toboggan runs, slopes and ice rinks. The secret of high-tech equipment often lies in the plastic. How the material conquers frozen lakes and snow-covered peaks:

A tour over snowy slopes in front of a breathtaking mountain panorama: ski touring is becoming increasingly popular. To ensure that the route over mountain slopes is successful, the choice of binding is crucial. Even a small part like a functional carrier can ensure that a tourer can easily switch from ascent to descent mode. The secret: A thermoplastic composite based on an organo sheet. This is a fiber-matrix semi-finished product consisting of a fiber fabric or a non-crimp fabric embedded in a thermoplastic matrix. The bond produced in this way using the FiberForm process was developed by KraussMaffei together with MDV Sports.

The first turns can be tedious and painful, especially when followed by sore muscles the next day. It is therefore all the more important that skis are easy to ride and require relatively little effort. A core made of plastic is suitable for this. More precisely: a core in whose production a shell made of glassfiber-reinforced composite material is foamed with polyurethane (Reaction Process Machinery – KraussMaffei). This results in elastic skis with a low weight that also enable beginners to enjoy a pleasant descent.

During the game, they are sometimes invisible, and yet a game would be hard to imagine without the characteristic ice hockey pucks. The pucks are usually made of a special rubber compound that is processed according to precise specifications: The disc must weigh between 156 and 170 grams, adhere to certain dimensions and have the characteristic round shape. This is ensured by high-performance extruders. The uniform feed combined with a special screw geometry ensures a high and even filling level.In this way, the puck always achieves the ideal weight and the right size.

Karan Sima Fam