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Fueling Fleet Survival

Thu, 07/24/2008 - 8:29am


Some times it takes more than a mission to fuel the survival of a truck fleet in extremely harsh conditions. With more than 20 years of experience delivering diesel fuel more than 217 miles (350 kilometers) over frozen, treacherous ice roads to northern Canadian diamond mines in temperatures that can reach -60ºF (-51ºC), Allen Scraba, owner of ARS Truck & Welding, Edmonton, Alberta, is well aware of the pivotal role his trucks and their equipment play in this annual process.

Built and maintained by a joint venture of diamond-mining companies, 75 percent of the length of the Contwoyto ice road traverses frozen lakes. And with a contract to deliver 15.8 million gallons (60 million liters) of diesel fuel to the Diavik Diamond Mine over a two-month period in early 2008, there was a constant convoy of ARS trucks making the 36-hour round trip.

Along for the ride on all of them-and throughout the two decades that ARS Truck & Welding has been running missions up and down the ice road-were 3-inch TX Series sliding vane transport pumps from Blackmer. According to the company, the use of its sliding vane technology on the TX Series results in a durable pump that offers fast, quiet operation; sustained performance; and trouble-free operation.

An adjustable relief valve protects the pump from excessive pressure, while an optional air-operated relief valve offers easy hose- and nozzle-handling. Most important of all, the low-maintenance characteristics of the pumps mean they are always able to answer the call, even in the exceedingly harsh conditions along the ice road.

"I've used Blackmer [pumps] for my entire career and wouldn't use any other pump. They are the most durable piece of equipment on my trucks. When called upon, the Blackmers perform and provide our fleet with reliable operation and great flow rates. I can't remember a time when our pumps haven't been able to operate due to the cold weather or harsh operating conditions," Scraba says.

That was never more critical than during the 2007 season when an ARS tanker truck loaded with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel rolled onto its side while avoiding an accident near the Yellowknife River, the main water source for the city of Yellowknife, Alberta (an incident that was chronicled on The History Channel's Ice Road Truckers series). Before the truck could be rolled back onto its wheels, the diesel needed to be offloaded into an empty tanker. To perform this crucial job, ARS employed a truck-mounted Blackmer TX pump and not a drop of fuel was lost, saving thousands of dollars in potentially lost product, not to mention preventing the fouling of the Yellowknife River.

"We came out with an empty tanker and used our Blackmer pump to transfer the fuel. I wouldn't trust any other pump on our trucks than Blackmer," insists Scraba. "When you're out here in temperatures that reach -60ºF and lower, you need a pump that you can depend on and that's Blackmer."

For more information about Blackmer TX Series pumps, please contact Jim Becker at (616) 475-9390 or becker@blackmer.com.
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