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Life in the Valley of the Shadow of Death!

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Intrepid Allison transmission proves a match for harsh polar conditions.

Mining and Metallurgical Company (MMC) Norilsk Nickel has extensive mining operations in the Norilsk- Kaierkan region of Siberia, Northern Russia. It is a region notorious for both its bleak landscape and vicious temperatures that can often reach in excess of -50°C. Mining trucks and their transmissions must therefore be durable and reliable to operate in such treacherous conditions.

Since July 2007, Norilsk Nickel has used a BELAZ 75570, equipped with an H8610 off-highway hauling Allison transmission and a payload of 90 tonnes for its operations outside the town of Kaierkan, Norilsk. BELAZ, Belarusian Autoworks, is a mining equipment producer, and the 75570 is just one of a range of open-cast mining dump trucks it manufactures for customers globally. Kaierkan literally translates as the ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death.’ According to Schnitko Alexey, a mechanic working for Norilsk Nickel, the truck has sailed through 100,000 km with impeccable performance. Typically a mining vehicle will cover over 50,000 km per year. “This type of high vehicle mileage is common in this region due to the impassibility of roads, sharp climbs, dust in the air and extremely low temperatures which prevent other transport vehicles from reaching the mining sites. We value the reliability of this equipment to continue operations in such conditions.”

Due to the nature of mining, the work atmosphere in which the truck must operate has a persistently high concentration of dust. Combined with -50°C temperatures and perilous roads, mining vehicles must be durable enough to sustain and deliver. “To say the climate is difficult in this region is an understatement. It is common for temperatures to reach -50°C and sometimes drop to below -55°C. The work is non- stop too; equipment is operational in this harsh environment around the clock due to the technological processes of mining production,” continues Alexey.

Alexey also attests to Allison’s reliability. “The gearbox works very well even at -55°C. All of these factors are a testament to the reliability of the Allison transmission. We expect to continue working with Allison in the future and expand the use of Allison’s transmission technology in the Russian mining segment.”

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