Terex auger drill headed to Antarctica to support scientific research

Updated Jan 18, 2018

This month, Terex Utilities shipped a Model 330 Auger Drill to Antarctica. Designed to meet the specific needs of a science field team supported by the National Science Foundation, NSF-managed U.S. Antarctic Program, the 330 Auger Drill features a unique mounting configuration and numerous insulation and heating modifications to operate in the extreme environment. The new Auger Drill replaces a Model 330 that has been in use since 1990.

The 330, with blade-style auger tooling featuring carbide tips, will be used to drill 48-inch diameter holes up to 20 feet deep through the sea ice. The equipment will be used to support 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.

“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 in South Dakota,” said Chad Rudebusch, branch manager at the Terex Watertown Service Center.

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 and to travel over uneven, icy terrain. This meant utilizing 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. A carefully balanced mounting configuration is required to allow transporting the equipment over the rugged Antarctic terrain.

“The Model 330 will be working in some of the harshest conditions possible. We take pride in delivering the best possible solutions for our customers,” said Gary Rice, Terex South Regional Sales Manager.

As an example of this, the Terex Utilities team recommended a proven design of auger tooling that delivers better performance in drilling ice.

“The process of cutting through ice is more like shaving the ice. It’s different than drilling through rock. We spec’d a blade style auger that stands up to the abrasion caused by drilling through ice and will maximize product life and performance,” said Rice.

The 330 will ship from Watertown, S.D., to California, then to New Zealand. After that, it will be transported to Antarctica. It’s expected to arrive in early 2018.

For more information about Terex Utilities products and services, as well as the company’s training and schools, visit www.terex.com/utilities.