While watching the Winter Olympic Games, have you ever considered who built the athletes’ sleds? To the astonishment of many, the USA luge team coaches and athletes are responsible for assembling and repairing the sleds.
Building the Sleds
USA Luge has two centers of operation: one in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the other in Park City, Utah. Both facilities have installed ACU-RITE equipment to machine metal parts and components for USA Luge. The more recent installation was at the U.S. Luge Association’s headquarters in Lake Placid, New York. The year-round training facility has indoor ramps for athletes to practice start techniques, is a few miles from the 1980 Olympic luge site, and is home to workshops with machinery to build the sleds.
Mark Grimmette — 5-time Olympian and the Sports Program Director at the U.S. Luge Association — oversees the facility operations and coaching staff. He explained, “Luge is a sport that you can’t just go to the local sporting goods store and buy a sled. We have a few workshops inside the building where we have to build the sleds for our athletes.”
Within the workshop is a Bridgeport Mill that helps produce metal parts and pieces for the sleds, making it vital machinery for the Team’s operations. Mark shared, “It was time for an upgrade. Our machine was suffering from the outdated dial indicators that were on it. We wanted a DRO to better control our operations.”
Choosing ACU-RITE droPWR
The U.S. Luge Association selected ACU-RITE’s droPWR as the preferred DRO system. This decision was made given the superior accuracy and ease of use of the ACU-RITE MILLPWRG2 which was previously installed on a Republic Lagun milling machine at the Park City, UT, training facility. The droPWR is an excellent user-friendly system for non-professional machine operators, such as athletes and coaches.
Ease of Installation
Howie Green — Vice President at RLA Machine & Tool Sales Inc. and regional Channel Partner representative of ACU-RITE products — worked with Mark Grimmette throughout the droPWR installation process.
“The installation was easier and shorter than installing other digital read-out (DRO) systems” explained Howie. “Since the droPWR uses an iPad instead of a traditional read-out screen, I was able to install the ACU-RITE mounting bracket with the iPad holder. The ACU-RITE custom brackets make the installation of the scales for this DRO installation extremely easy as they are very versatile.”
New System Success
Since the installation, the droPWR has proven to be effective and easy to use. Mark shared an update on this team’s experiences: “The DRO is a lot easier to follow than the previous dials and gives us more flexibility. It is digital and it allows us to read what is happening. The droPWR is much better for those of us who don’t work with the machine every day.”
In addition, the glass scales have significantly improved the accuracy of the machining operations, enhancing the quality and precision of the sled components.
The successful installation of ACU-RITE’s droPWR system has streamlined machining operations at the USA Luge Team Training Facility, contributing to the development of top-tier athletes in the sport of luge. The ease of installation, accuracy, and ongoing support from ACU-RITE and RLA Machine & Tool Sales have made the DRO system an invaluable addition to the facility’s machinery. ACU-RITE is proud to once again support Team USA with our simply powerful machining systems.
About RLA Machine & Tool Sales, Inc.
RLA Machine & Tool Sales, Inc. offers a variety of new and used machine tools, accessories, and software packages from a select group of top-brand manufacturers. RLA Machine & Tool Sales Inc. is a two-person outfit with a combined experience of over 75 years, with both Howie Green and Ray Ayers having significant experience working with ACU-RITE. Learn more at rlamachine.net.