Yakutia in Siberia is one of the most climatically and environmentally challenging regions on the planet. In winter, temperatures fall as low as -60°C; in summer they rise as high as 40°C. The impact this has on machinery and the terrain would seemingly make it inaccessible for vehicular expedition. But in a region that supplies up to 27% of worldwide demand for diamonds, that does not deter human and mechanical endeavour.
For a project between 2012 and 2014, ALROSA Corporation – a world leader in the diamond mining industry – was supplied with six ‘Arctic Version’ Dressta TD-15M Extra Crawler Dozers to perform various tasks in these harsh conditions.
The dozers were assigned for new diamond and ore deposit exploratory operations. They were employed as towing tractors to move heavy sledges with geographical equipment essential to the production process, including drillers, power generators, fuel tanks, service platforms and portable cabins. Upon arrival at the test spots, the dozers were used to clear ground, remove trees and level the area.
To fulfil these requirements flawlessly in -60° winter temperatures, the TD-15M’s specially implemented arctic features were essential:
Special Heating Systems
A series of heaters were necessary to prepare the machines before use in the sub-zero temperatures. A small hydronic diesel oil heater was installed in the engine compartment to sufficiently warm the engine before use, as well as a separate system for heating the hydraulic and engine oil, engine coolant and battery box. To prevent wax solidification and ice formation in the fuel tank, an additional fuel tank and filter heating system was installed.
With all the heaters running 2-3 hours before use, the TD-15M’s could operate continuously without trouble.
Ensuring the machine was ready for the challenge was one thing, but the operator’s comfort was of equal importantance. To withstand the freezing ambient temperatures and blizzard conditions, the operator’s cab was equipped with double glazed windows, and outer thermal protection was implemented to prevent cold air entering the cab through radiator louvres.
Additionally, steering levers were installed instead of joysticks to facilitate precise machine operation for the operator wearing large, heavy gloves.
For this operation, the dozers were equipped with 5.23m³ blades to efficiently clear paths of arduous materials and to prepare the expedition sites for mining operations. A special towing system & hook with hi grade steel winch cable were included for transporting the sledges, ensuring a smooth passage of all the equipment to the sites.
The unrelenting performance of the Dressta TD-15M Crawler Dozers was key to ALROSA Corporation’s successful exploratory mining operations. By listening to the demands of the project and modifying the machines to the conditions, Dressta helped to ensure that project workers had the optimal equipment for the task at hand.