Plasma revolutionizes the skiing world

The skiing world is on the verge of a technical revolution: Italian research and technology company Envipark has successfully developed a new, patentable and highly effective impregnation procedure for skis which uses Openair® and PlasmaPlus® plasma technology.

Press conference at Envipark in June 2014. From left: Simone Origone, Dr. Domenico D’Angelo, Dino Palmi, Fabio Massimo Grimaldi; Chianale Mauro, Davide Damosso, Chiara Bianco (Marketing Envipark). (Photo Facts4You.de)

Fabio Massimo Grimaldi, engineer and director of the Environment Park in Turin (known as Envipark), revealed the sensational news in June during a major press conference attended by numerous journalists. The company's in-house research department Plasma Nano-Tech worked in partnership with the Associazione Italiana Ski-Man and its president and ski servicing expert Dino Palmi to develop and file a patent application for the innovative "plasma ski", which could in future make skiers faster and more successful.

The science and technology centre Environment Park in Turin, Italy, has filed a patent application for the “plasma ski”. (Photo Envipark)

Davide Damosso, Director for Innovation and Development at Envipark, said that the aim of the invention was to apply the maximum amount of absorbable wax to the running surfaces of racing skis – made from sintered UHMW-PE (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) – to improve sliding properties and wax retention. This was achieved using a targeted plasma treatment which modifies the functional characteristics of the surface coating.

The RD1004 PTF 570 rotary nozzle cleans and activates the surface of the UHMW polyethylene ski coating. (Photo Plasmatreat)

"The combination of our Openair® plasma technology and PlasmaPlus® atmospheric nano-coating process offered the perfect conditions for this project", commented Giovanni Zambon, head of Plasmatreat's Italian subsidiary, who was responsible for supplying the plasma systems and providing Envipark with technical support during the test phase.

After just just nine months and 40 laboratory tests, the results have been published – and they are quite a revelation! Project manager Dr. Domenico D'Angelo of Plasma Nano-Tech sums them up in the following words: "Thanks to the microfine plasma cleaning and plasma coating, which we developed specifically for our needs and applied with the aid of the PlasmaPlus® system, we were able to achieve a sixfold increase in wax absorption compared with the conventional, but otherwise identical wax impregnation method".

Plasma Nano-Tech project manager Dr. Domenico D’Angelo explains the “plasma ski” project. (Photo Facts4You.de)

And a further surprise was in store at the press conference; Chianale Mauro, President of Envipark, introduced the fastest man on skis to the media representatives present: Simone Origone. The 35-year-old world champion speed skier set a new world record of 252.454 km/h on 31 March 2014 in Vars in the French Alps. When asked his opinion of the new ski characteristics, he explained: "In our discipline we are constantly looking for opportunities to improve our performance. This new process is extremely interesting. If it transpires that I will be able to ski even faster on snow with this technology, it will prove invaluable to me and the skiing world as a whole."

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