Spillard Safety Systems is donating a range of safety equipment to an
expedition led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes that is to complete the first ever
winter crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole.
A six man expedition team led by veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt OBE
will set off in early 2013 on a unique and challenging journey over 2,000
miles of ice. With HRH The Prince of Wales as its patron and Standard
Chartered its main sponsor, the expedition will involve Commonwealth
scientists in a wide programme of polar marine studies. It will also raise
money for the international charity "Seeing is Believing." Spillard is
donating safety equipment including an advanced surround view camera system,
convex mirrors, LED lighting and wiring harnesses to be fitted onto the
Spillard’s Optronics 360 camera system will be installed on two Caterpillar
D6N tracked bulldozers to give the operators a real-time bird’s eye view of
their entire vehicles and their surroundings, and allow them to manoeuvre
safely. Finning, supplier of the tractors and a longstanding Spillard
customer, introduced Spillard to the project.
The tractors have been specially adapted for the anticipated temperatures of
-70ºC and below and will pull accommodation and science units on sledges
together with all the fuel, food and other stores needed to undertake the
gruelling journey of six months or more.
"It’s a real privilege to be chosen for such a historical and important
expedition," said MD Pete Spillard. "We don’t underestimate the challenges
of equipment operating in temperatures which could go down to minus 80. This
journey will quite literally take us into ground-breaking territory."
The first stage of this critical process will be the loading in confined
spaces of vehicles, sledges, mobile accommodation, equipment and supplies
onto an ice-strengthened ship which will transport them from Cape Town in
South Africa to the Russian base at Novilazarevskaya. The ship will then
retrieve the expedition a year later when it arrives at its destination, the
American coastal base at McMurdo Sound.
During the 2,000 mile journey across the Antarctic, Optronics 360 surround
view camera systems installed on the two tractors will monitor the team of
walkers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Antarctic veterans Dr Mike Stroud
and Brian Newham. It will also allow the operators to see up to 17m all
around their vehicles to watch out for dangers and obstructions. The two
technicians on the expedition, Danny Main and Spencer Smirl, will be able to
program the system to provide different view settings according to the
operating environment. A further camera system will be installed to monitor
the tractor operators from the caboose. A digital video recorder will also
create unique 360 degree footage of the tractors as they travel along the
In addition to the camera systems and convex mirrors to enhance visibility,
Spillard will be supplying 10G vibration approved and military spec LED
lighting to brighten the dark conditions using as low a current as possible
over long periods to reduce the draw on the tractors. They will also be
supplying wiring harnesses to allow two-way monitoring and communications
between the tractors and the caboose. All the safety equipment will be
fitted by Spillard’s own engineers to make sure it’s correctly installed and
stands up well in extreme temperatures and conditions.
The expedition will be filmed, with coverage primarily by the BBC. A
separate documentary film is also planned, and footage will be broadcast
regularly on the internet for schools. The expedition team is expected to
return to Britain by March 2014.