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New Holland backhoe conquers Antarctica

New Holland B90B backhoe loader

The New Holland backhoe loader was chosen by the Argentine Air Force (FAA) to push forward infrastructure works planned for Base Marambio, in Antarctica. Tasks involve reconstructing the foundations of a hangar and building new helicopter bases in the area.

Having verified its efficiency to repair runways and paved surfaces, preparations to move the equipment to Antarctica started when the logistic department within FAA decided to deploy a New Holland B90B from its fleet. The decision was triggered by the Antarctic affairs department’s need to carry out construction-related tasks. The backhoe loader met the required height and weight to be transported in the Hércules plane used to reach Antarctica. Moreover, it was fit to remove the old platform and to anchor the new structure. 

The machine was adapted before the trip. All its fluids were replaced by special synthetic types, and a resistor was placed within the engine block to heat up the coolant before its start. The technical adjustments necessary to enable the machine to work in extreme cold temperature conditions were performed along with Covema, the New Holland dealers who delivered the backhoe loader to the FAA. Covema also trained the people in charge of operating the equipment.


By the end of October 2012, the B90B was taken to the El Palomar air base (province of Buenos Aires). A week later, the Hércules took the loader to Río Gallegos in the province of Santa Cruz, the last stop before arriving in Antarctica. Technical delivery was one of the most important moments, when proper working of the machine was to be verified. Carlos Sánchez, New Holland’s service engineer for the southern region of Latin America, was in charge of the tests, which confirmed the performance of the machine under the workplace conditions.

The backhoe loader has started working on a number of tasks at the base the removal of the structure that holds the platform of runway slabs in the external part of the hangar at Base Marambio. The machine has also been used to break the permafrost, carry the ice used to make water for daily use, and to clear roads.


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