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At Icemakers, we have produced test tracks on lake ice for decades now. During nearly fifty winters we have accumulated all the necessary experience, expertise and technical know-how, allowing us to create first-class lake test tracks, tailored to the very specific demands of our customers.
Icemakers offer lake test tracks on Lake Kakel, 8 kilometers east of central Arjeplog. The testing grounds are easily reached by car within 10 minutes from central Arjeplog and Icemakers HQ at Maskinvägen.
Lake Kakel itself is part of the 70 kilometer long Lake Hornavan, Sweden’s deepest lake with a maximum depth of 221 meters.
Every winter test season, Icemakers prepare roughly 1.3 million m2 of tracks, of which over 900 000 m2 are lake test tracks and 400 000 m2 are land test tracks.
The majority of these lake track areas are exclusive and tailor-made for our customers. However, we also have our own standard track layout consisting of:
Creating test tracks from frozen water is a delicate craft that takes a lot of time, effort and precision to get right.
The first phase starts in mid to late November. When the ice is thick enough for snowmobiles we initiate the marking process. We mark the tracks with the help of GPS and plow sticks. We mainly use sticks made from willow in order to avoid plastic pollution of our lakes and shores.
Once the first snowfall occurs, phase two begins. The fresh and featherlike snow is a very good insulator against freezing temperatures. Therefore, this snow needs to be packed together in order for the ice to grow. To reduce the insulation layer and speed up the freezing process snowmobiles and snow rollers are used to pack the snow.
The third phase starts once the ice is thick enough to withstand our smallest machines with snow blowers. This usually occurs somewhere between late December and early January. As the thickness of the ice grows, we can start bringing heavier machines and equipment onto the lake ice.
In order for us to ensure the thickness of the ice we use a sonar radar for measurement. This is done regularly to eliminate the risks of going out on thin ice.
Ensuring a safe environment for you and our staff is always our primary focus, throughout the whole process.
The ice surface itself can be prepared in numerous ways, using different equipment and techniques. The large toolkit at our disposal, including a versatile collection of machinery, equipment and know-how allows us to create tailor-made testing surfaces suited to the specific needs of our clients.
1. Where are the lake test tracks located?
The lake test tracks are located on Lake Kakel, which is 8 kilometers east of central Arjeplog. We also operate and maintain exclusive test tracks for customers on other lakes in Arjeplog and Arvidsjaur.
2. From when are the lake tracks available for use?
The lake tracks are usually fully available from January onwards, of course depending on the weather conditions.
3. What are the benefits of making test tracks on ice?
The lake ice offers a consistent surface allowing for good test repeatability. The large open areas of the lake are also beneficial from a safety point of view, with no traffic and endless run-off areas. The large ice canvas also allows for all different kinds of track layouts to be constructed, free from physical constraints that you come across on land.
4. Can the testing surfaces be customized according to the specific needs of clients?
Yes, Icemakers can customize the testing surfaces according to the specific needs of clients, utilizing their toolkit of machinery, equipment, and expertise. The ice itself can be manipulated in many ways to offer different properties depending on the needs for the specific test protocol.
5. How thick does the ice get?
In January when testing commences, the ice is around 50cm thick. This makes it completely safe both for test vehicles and the machinery we use to prepare the tracks. As the winter goes on, the ice usually reaches its maximum thickness of 90-100cm in February-March.
6. Can you drive a heavy truck or bus on the ice?
Absolutely, this is no problem. However, the ice needs to have a thickness around 70cm or more to safely carry a vehicle above 20 tons. This is why these types of vehicles are preferably tested at the end of the season when the ice is at its thickest.
7. How long can you use the tracks on the lake?
The test season usually concludes by the end of March, but the ice is usually drivable well into April. However, warmer weather and more hours of sunshine can affect the surface negatively and make it harder to prepare.