No goosebumps on your machines

extreme weather, climate chamber

Just like people and animals machines have to be protected against (excessively) low temperatures. Vehicles, in particular, suffer a lot from the cold. A solution which strongly reduces the emission and fuel cost, wear and maintenance costs and increases the driver comfort was recently presented.

In low temperatures providing effective protection against hypothermia is essential for many animal species, including humans. Evolution has ensured different strategies and reflexes which help species cope with hypothermia, like goosebumps, shivering or chattering teeth.

Machines can also experience the harmful effects of (extremely) cold temperatures. Especially after a cold start - starting up a cooled-down machine after a period of standstill at low temperatures - can cause problems: the machine does not start up or excessive degradation of certain components occurs. This is often due to changing material properties at low temperatures: reduced battery capacity, increased viscosity of lubricants, freezing of certain liquids like coolants, increased brittleness of cast parts, reduced elasticity of sealing materials, ... On the other hand, differential thermal expansions may occur, due to different thermal expansion coefficients or due to a transient temperature distribution. Therefore, certain functional tolerances may be affected, causing relative moving parts to jam more or, the opposite, have excessive slack.

Kits against cold


(Source: http://www.miningmagazine.com

A simple strategy to restrict these problems in machines driven by a combustion engine is letting them continue to run at low temperatures, even when they are not in use. This is obviously not ideal in terms of environmental impact, nor for the fuel consumption and cost. There has to be a better way.

Exactly the thought of Terex, manufacturer of, among others, off-highway trucks. The standard version of their trucks can be used in temperatures as low as -18°C. In many locations and applications the temperature regularly drops below that point. Just imagine the winters in Canada, Russia or Scandinavia. For these applications Terex developed a 'Winter kit' (down to -25 °C) and an 'Arctic kit' (down to -40 °C). Besides the choice of specific materials (oil, sealants ...) these kits also contain start-stop systems and an engine-independent heating device.

This so-called ‘thermo-heater’ will be activated as soon as the engine is turned off in low temperatures. The coolant of the engine is guided to this thermo-heater and circulates heat to the critical components and the driver’s cabin. It will make sure the truck is ready to go, at a fraction of the stationary fuel consumption. This will not only reduce the emission and fuel cost (up to 90 percent reduction), it also reduces the wear and maintenance of the truck and increases the comfort of the truck driver. Terex now offers those kits for new trucks and as retrofit, after these kits were first extensively tested and validated, for example in the climate chamber of the OWI-Lab.

Read more about the cooperation between Terex and OWI-Lab here.

(Top photo source: http://www.aggbusiness.com)