Designed to meet the specific needs of the scientists, the 330 auger drill features a unique mounting configuration and numerous insulation and heating modifications to operate in the extreme environment. It also replaced a Model 330 that had been in service since 1990.
The 330, with blade-style auger tooling featuring carbide tips, will be used to drill 48in (1.2m) diameter holes up to 20ft (6m) deep through the sea ice. The equipment will be used to support the NSF-funded projects that require access to the ocean using the sea ice as a platform. Once the hole is drilled, scientific divers can collect benthic specimens, install instruments and gather samples of ice and water.
Chad Rudebusch, branch manager at the Terex Watertown Service Center in South Dakota, US, commented: "It's not every week we get to work on a unit that will be used for scientific research. Our team took pride in building the 330 that won't miss a beat on the job, knowing that our work is helping scientists explore a continent that is so far from our home."
The vehicle was delivered to Leidos, which manages logistics for the Antarctic Program. Delivering on the customer's unique requirements meant designing the 330 Auger Drill to perform in temperatures as low as -45°F (-42°C) and to travel over uneven, icy terrain. This meant utilising engine and hydraulic heaters, special seals, hoses and oil, and employing a pre-start engine system that allows the working components to warm up before being fired up.
In normal utility applications, A330 auger drills are often truck- or crawler track carrier-mounted. For this application, it was necessary to design the unit to be mounted on a crawler trailer that is towed behind a snowcat-style vehicle.
The Terex Utilities team also recommended a proven design of auger tooling that delivers better performance in drilling ice.
The 330 is expected to arrive in Antarctica in the March quarter of 2018.