Safeguarding hauler productivity is vital when operating in low temperatures. Here, Motherwell-based articulated hauler manufacturer Rokbak addresses the challenges posed by winter weather conditions, sharing ten tips to ensure your trucks perform optimally in harsh, cold-weather environments.
1. Immersion heater and thermostat
A new option for winter 2023, engines for both the Rokbak RA30 and RA40 ADTs can now be fitted with a 1500 500W/115V immersion heater and thermostat for the engine cooling system. Particularly useful when operating for prolonged periods in cold climates, the purpose of the immersion heater is to help the engine get up to operating temperature, by preheating the engine before it is started.
Pre-heating the engine is more time efficient and reduces idle fuel burn and CO2emissions, making operations more productive and more sustainable.
2. Cooling system care
The cooling system needs to be adequately protected from the elements. The coolant in the truck’s radiator should be filled to the cap as, in extremely low temperatures, the ratio of ethylene glycol antifreeze to water should be 60 to 40 to stop the water from freezing and creating stress in the engine. Cooling systems should be inspected weekly.
3. Correct battery storage
Cold temperatures can have a detrimental effect on batteries, leading to reduced power, potential breakdowns and even explosion when being changed. When necessary, storing batteries away from the extreme temperatures when not in operation means having these reliable power sources ready when it’s time to work again.
4. Enhanced traction control
Slippery winter roads can pose a significant threat to safety and productivity. Enhanced traction control mechanisms give Rokbak haulers better grip and stability in icy and snowy conditions. Three axles in permanent all-wheel drive provide traction, reduced driveline wear and reduced wheel spin.
5. Cold weather fluid options
Cold weather fluid options in engine oil, fuel, engine coolant and hydraulic fuel designed for the RA30 and RA40 are advised to be utilised during extended operation in extremely low ambient temperatures. These factory-fill, cold weather fluids safeguard essential machine systems and components, ensuring optimal productivity and uptime.
6. Using arctic fuel
For use in similar conditions in which cold weather protection options are helpful, arctic fuel is suitable for use down to -40°C / -40°F, whereas standard diesel fuel is prone to gelling or waxing in extreme cold weather.
7. Regular routine maintenance
Regular maintenance checks are key to continued operation in cold temperatures, as is keeping your truck in its best condition. This should include fluid changes, weekly cooling system inspections (especially the coolant reservoir and hoses) and tyre pressure adjustments.
8. Eye on the road
Rokbak hauler headlamp pods turn night into day when earlier dusk arrives in the winter and are designed to be easily serviced without raising the hood and heated mirror arrangements offer greater visibility down the side of the machine. Each truck should also be equipped with good windscreen wipers to maintain visibility and ensure safe operation.
9. Essential operator comfort
The importance of operator comfort should never be undervalued, but in freezing temperatures it is particularly important. Rokbak has made long operator hours in cold conditions more manageable through heated seats and climate-controlled cabins with HVAC, to contribute to the well-being and efficiency of hauler operators.
10. Proactive erosion prevention
Snow may look pretty but it brings salt and other hazardous materials with it which can contaminate hauler systems and cause erosion. Frozen dirt and mud becoming attached to trucks when inactive is hard to remove and potentially damaging. Taking the time for a daily clean will protect the hauler body and components for extended service life and lower repair costs.