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In addition, each unit will be towing
in excess of 55 tonnes of material,
including an accommodation caboose
and a specialist science caboose. The
science caboose will house equipment to
measure the depth of the ice in winter,
providing essential data that will prove
decisive in the climate change debate.
Commenting on the challenge, Sir
Ranulph Fiennes said: “When it came to
starting the planning for the challenge, nearly three years ago, I knew the key to
success was having the best possible equipment and support available. Having
previously worked with Bowmaker Plant Limited (a Finning company since 1982)
using Caterpillar equipment for an expedition nearly 40 years ago, I approached
Finning to talk to them about how they could help again. Together we identified
the Cat D6N dozer as the ideal machine as the driving force for this expedition.
Having liaised with Caterpillar, who supplied the two factory D6N models,
Finning engineers have been working with my team over the last two years on
a comprehensive retrofitting task, designing the ultimate Antarctic expedition
machines. Of course, these units are nothing without an engineer to help
keep them running, so in conjunction with Finning UK and Ireland, owned by
Finning International based in Canada, we put out a global call for volunteers.
After a rigorous selection process that included practical and psychological tests with one of the D6N’s in Sweden, at
temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius, Spencer was selected for the team.”
Since then, Spencer has been in close contact with Finning UK engineer, Danny Main who has been working on the
practical maintenance of the D6N units with the expedition team. Commenting on his selection for the team on his
return to the UK from Canada, Spencer said: “It is amazing to think that the part I play in this expedition will help to
determine the climate change argument. I feel it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will test man and machine to
the limits. Knowing I am going to be one of those people making sure the machines are working correctly, is a huge
responsibility, but one I am excited to take on. I am now training really hard, with the help of Danny, to know everything
about the D6N. I need to get to a stage where I could almost maintain one instinctively.”
Adding to Spencer’s comments, Danny said: “Never did I expect to be able to work on a project like this that would
see me play an important role in one of the world’s greatest expeditions, headed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. All of my
engineering knowledge has been poured into practical testing, reporting and rebuilding the D6N’s, with the Finning
engineering team, to make sure they can be maintained successfully in the Antarctic conditions. This is the ultimate
challenge and we are building two of the most amazing D6N track-type tractors that will be capable of making it happen.”
The crossing will start on 21 March 2013 and the expedition hopes to raise $10 million for ‘Seeing Is Believing’, a
global initiative that helps to tackle avoidable blindness around the world.
D6N modifications
Hundreds of modifications have been made to the D6N by the Finning bespoke engineering team, more of which will
become clear prior to the start of the expedition.
Some of the key modifications include:
Specially designed fully insulated canopy
with in-built escape hatch and access system
A completed central heating system for
engine and all fluids
Comprehensive insulation package
Cooling system air flow package
Extended and castellated grouser bars on
Everything has to be carried as there is no
opportunity for flying in additional supplies.