15 Mar 2018
Linde Factory Train supplies mountain restaurant at an altitude of 2,283 meters
The Giggijoch restaurant, located 2,283 meters up in the Ötztal Alps, is waiting to welcome you in from the -12 C surroundings for fresh cake, sweet dumplings and strawberries. A logistical feat which is made possible thanks to a Linde Material Handling Factory Train.
During the skiing season, every day around 4,000 visitors are catered for at the Giggijoch in Sölden, Austria. But how are around 2,000 kilos of fresh food transported up the mountain day after day?
The secret is a 150-meter-long tunnel below the slopes which connects the top terminal to the Giggijoch mountain restaurant. In this tunnel, a Factory Train FT10 Compact from Linde Material Handling plays the leading role. An unusual application, considering that Factory Trains like this one are mainly used in industry, where they transport a wide range of goods within production halls and outdoor areas.
The Linde Factory Train is a modular tugger train system. At its front is a tow tractor, with different models having towing capacities of up to 25 tons being available. Directly behind it is the front module, to which one or more load carrier modules are coupled. Pallet dollies are inserted into these load carrier modules, locked and the load carriers raised above the floor. The main strengths of the Linde Factory Train include its extremely high degree of maneuverability, minimal space requirements and driving stability – advantages which it can demonstrate perfectly at the Sölden ski resort. The supply tunnel features several narrow passages and even an S-shaped curve at one point. And it is a bit of a tight squeeze – the space between the train and the wall is often only the width of a hand. Additionally, steep 15 percent gradients must be coped with.
How can the Linde Factory Train maneuver through the tunnel pulling two load carrier modules without crashing? Simple: All the wheels help with steering! Thanks to neon yellow arrow markings on the walls, the driver knows exactly when to make a specific steering motion. The automatic tractor drive-lock mechanism activated when load carriers are lowered and the reduced speed during cornering also ensure safety in operation.
The train has been in use since fall 2016. Manuel Köll, Deputy Operations Manager of the Sölden Mountain Railway, is impressed. “We were looking for a truck which could be adapted to the conditions, and which could carry weight and – above all – tackle the gradient,” he explains. He considers the solution offered by Linde Material Handling to be perfect. “The trailers are second to none,” says Köll. “We can load all the goods from the truck into the nacelle and the Factory Train without the goods carrier needing to be changed.” Even planning with the Linde experts was exemplary, according to Köll. Linde even carried out an “elk test” for the Factory Train, using pallets to recreate the narrow tunnel constrictions for testing purposes. “The Factory Train is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” says Sölden-based chef Robert Hanser. Which is, incidentally, available in Hanser’s Giggijoch restaurant, thanks to the Linde Factory Train.