Monday, May 26, 2014

Winona Minnesota-area inventor creates robot for ice resurfacing

The Zamboni could be a think of the past, in the near future.
Tesla Rodriquez, Winona Daily News -- Buffalo County resident Paul Van Eijl said his invention, which he calls the “Ice Jet,” will do the ice resurfacing job of the classic machine much quicker — in about a minute or so — using GPS coordinates to control multiple machines at once.

It won’t need a driver, will be electrically powered and will recycle the ice collected by melting it in the machine and using the water to resurface the hockey rink. His invention isn’t on the market yet, though a prototype has been enough to generate a phone call from the reality television show “Shark Tank,” which highlights inventors and entrepreneurs hoping to make it big.

“It’s really doing the same thing (as a Zamboni),” Van Eijl said as he stood next to his prototype on a recent day. “You’re just basically making it eight times as efficient.”

The 1940s-era, ice-resurfacing Zamboni has been an icon in hockey, as it putters around the arena between games and periods to smooth the ice for players. And for the most part, it’s remained unchanged, Van Eijl said. Most run on gas or propane — although newer ones are electric — and are about the size of a truck. Each requires a driver, and use quite a bit of water.
According to the author's comment, The "Ice Jet" is planned to complete the resurfacing of the whole rink in one minute or so.

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