runnings THE CHALLENGES OF RUNNING AN INDUSTRIAL VEHICLE IN
EXTREME SUBZERO TEMPERATURES ARE NUMEROUS, WITH
HYDRAULICS RANKING HIGH IN THE KEY SYSTEMS THAT NEED
SPECIAL ADAPTATION TO ENSURE WORK DOESN’T GRID TO A HALT
In the frozen wastes of Antarctica, where
social distancing is not needed as scientists
work in isolation away from the mass of humanity
(at the time of going to press Antarctica remains
the only Covid-19-free continent), it’s more
important than perhaps anywhere else in the
world that computers and machines are reliable.
Although mechanics and workshops to maintain
industrial vehicles are usually on hand, a critical
failure will take time to repair and replacement
vehicles are not an option, so planning in
resilience and durability is key.
Hydraulic systems intrinsically rely on
specialised oil that ows under pressure. ese
kinds of o -highway vehicle systems are robust
and able to withstand most extreme conditions.
Sealed against moisture and dust they operate
comfortably in both the burning desserts of the
Middle East, as well as in most winter conditions
across the globe. However, when cold gets really
extreme, the proper functioning of hydraulics
needs careful consideration.
As the mercury drops below -10°C industrial
vehicle OEMs recommend that certain steps are
taken to keep all parts of the vehicle functioning
correctly, with hydraulics a particular focus lest
smooth- owing oil turns to thick sludge that won’t
run on start-up. Such cold weather modi cations
are planned-in as options during the development
stage of vehicles and tested in both cold weather
chambers and real-world environments.
Accordingly, extreme weather adaptations were
ready to roll out when the Australian government
recently deployed a Manitowoc Grove RT540E
rough-terrain crane, to join ve others like it at
Davis Station, one of the four research stations in
the Australian Antarctic Programme.
At the remote Antarctic site, the RT540E is
working in some of the harshest conditions in the
world. Located 2,250 nautical miles southwest of
Perth, Davis is the most southern station in the
programme. Temperatures at the station can drop
down to -60 °C. e RT540E is being used to load
and unload cargo for resupply at the stations, as
iVTInternational.com June 2020 21