The elite sport has become available for allElitist, expensive, stuffy: golf is a sport that suffers from many prejudices. However, in recent years, the face of the German golf industry has changed radically, and the era of golf being an elite sport for the wealthy is over. A younger crowd has been showing enthusiasm for this game – due largely to an increase in the number of public golf courses along with less expensive memberships – and it is increasingly becoming a sport of the masses.
Only if you have perfectly clean clubs can you play an exceptional game.Frank Becker, Representative and co-founder of SwissSonic GmbH
SwissSonic GmbH of Speyer recognized the potential of golf as a sport back in 2003 and began developing and marketing ultrasonic cleaning systems for golf clubs about 15 years ago. The idea came about because it was clear to Frank Becker, authorized representative and one of the founders of the company, that “only if you have perfectly clean clubs can you play an exceptional game.” This means that the clubs must be cleaned after each round so that crucial parameters such as the direction and speed of the ball can be controlled. However, using a coarse scrubbing brush each time results in constant wear on the surface of the golf club – which also changes its characteristics. Becker thus relied on a very specific method of cleaning in the development of his systems. “The advantage of using ultrasound for this is that it is not a mechanical cleaning process and is therefore much gentler.”
Since the first SwissSonic cleaning system was built in the early 2000s, neither the principle nor the appearance of the machine has changed much. It has only been upgraded through the addition of a top unit with an integrated display screen. What’s special about SwissSonic’s business concept? The systems, with or without a display, are free to use for golfers and golf courses and financed exclusively through advertisements. In the case of the cleaning systems with a top display, the advertising features a two-fold benefit: the sponsor can present its products during the cleaning process, while the golfer is entertained during this waiting time and can read the latest news from the news ticker on the screen. A total of 100 systems with a display and around 150 standard cleaning systems are currently in use on golf courses throughout Germany.
Up until last year, a control system specially developed for SwissSonic had been reliably performing all cleaning systems tasks. However, after 15 years of operation, the microprocessors in the controller could no longer be used due to their age and exposure to ultrasound. A replacement was required, and LOGO! 8 was chosen for its cost-effectiveness, ease of use and flexibility. Reinhard Weyermann, head of Planning & Development at SwissSonic, explains: “When the controllers failed last year, we looked at several solutions, including LOGO!. The logic module was ultimately the most convincing due to its price-performance ratio.” Since then, the defective cleaning systems at SwissSonic in Speyer have been gradually upgraded to the LOGO! 8 24CE. The logic module provides all control functions for the systems, including regulation of the water bath temperature and control of the ultrasound.
“In addition to the many options offered by the logic module itself, there are ten different expansion modules, allowing us to enjoy a great deal of flexibility. It’s also very easy to use and program.”
In February 2017, he started to familiarize himself with LOGO! and was able to convert the first systems by June 2017. Siemens Support was able to assist him with any issues and questions, and the control system ended up being the perfect solution for SwissSonic’s purposes. “The LOGO! configuration could be precisely adjusted to our devices. And all previously installed connections could continue to be used after LOGO! was installed, so we didn’t have to replace a single cable.”
LOGO! has now been installed and is running smoothly in more than 30 cleaning systems, which is why the company is planning to retrofit another 100 to 200 units. In the coming year, SwissSonic also plans to develop a next generation of machines for the international golf market. Among other things, in addition to a display it will also include a built-in touchscreen, providing golfers with interactive entertainment during the cleaning process.