W.B. Walton Enterprises Inc. (also known as Walton De-ice) designs and manufactures the broadest line of equipment available for preventing snow and/or ice accumulation on satellite Earth station antennas. The original Walton De-ice product includes a behind the antenna main reflector plenum (enclosure), which is heated with hot air, for antennas ranging in size from 5 to 32m in diameter. Walton De-ice offers several options for heating including, gas heaters, or the low maintenance Stainless Steel Electric Heaters.
During 1990s, a line of products called the Snow Shield was introduced by W. B. Walton Enterprises. These products are being used on antennas ranging in size from 0.6 to 6.3m in diameter. The Snow Shield consists of PTFE coated Gore-Tex® material which has a very low coefficient of friction, stretched over the satellite antenna. The Snow Shield can be used as a passive system, as most snow and ice will slide off due to the PTFE coating, or heat can be added for a higher level of protection the addition of heat will not require the existing snow shield be replaced. The Snow Shield PTFE coated GOR-TEX® Fabric covers are made from Radome material that will survive harsh chemical and extreme environmental conditions while providing the lowest transmission loss among all Radome materials.
The GOR-TEX Snow Shield Passive Cover works great in almost all conditions however, should icing become a problem, the client goes to the VSAT and taps on the cover and all of the ice or snow slides off the cover. With the Companys Ice Quake, also released earlier this year, theres no more going out and tapping on the cover its all done for you, automatically.
The Ice Quake product is an electric vibrator housed in a small aluminum enclosure installed on the edge of the antenna reflector using cylindrical vibration isolators to prevent damage to the antenna reflective surface. A piece of PTFE acts as the actuator arm, which is the same material the Gore-Tex Snow Shield Cover is made of. Ice Quake is riveted to the housing and then slipped into a pocket sewn into the Snow Shield Cover. The PTFE actuator arm transfers the vibration from the electric motor into the Snow Shield cover. Because of the vibration isolators, the vibration is not transferred to the antenna by the vibrator assembly, or transferred to the feed horn assembly. Ice Quake is ideal for military or remote applications where a generator is required to power the portable site. In the past, as much as 4,500 watts of power would be required to power the de-icing System on a 2.4 meter antenna. With the vibration system, less than 100 watts is required to remove snow or ice from the Gore-Tex Cover. The spares that would normally be required to support the vibration system would also be a cost savings factor. The only components are the vibrator assembly and the DS-2 assembly.
With a solid core of products to help ensure signal viability, W.B. Walton Enterprises, now celebrating their 30th Anniversay, is looking forward to gaining even more customers during 2010, both in the commercial and military segments of the industry. With Snow Shield and Ice Quake so easy to install and operate, the future looks extremely bright for these leading products.