Maintaining a fleet of tractors, vans, snowmobiles, and other vehicles in tip-top shape is a big project, especially when it's 5°F (-15°C) and you are several thousand miles from the nearest parts supplier! Our mechanical team does a fantastic job keeping our machines and vehicles running during the operating season, in between snow clearing, operating tractor-traverses, and loading/off-loading the Ilyushin aircraft. But some jobs are just too big and time consuming to tackle on the ice. Which is why our Punta Arenas office and warehouse are currently buzzing with activity.
Two of our main traverse tractors are undergoing a major service in Punta: everything from engine overhaul, hydraulic and electric checks, to replacing a cracked windscreen and giving the machines a final polish. The guys have also packed a 40ft shipping container with one of our passenger vans, tracks and other items that need to be serviced in the US to be returned to Chile later in the year. Two (new to ANI) Tucker Sno-Cats have just arrived by ship. These will be cleaned and inspected, and undergo a few modifications for our use before being flown to Union Glacier next season. The additional vehicles will improve the service we deliver to clients and share the load currently carried by existing vehicles.
In between repairs, there will be discussions about upcoming projects and purchasing for the 2013 season. This is a monumental task that must be tackled now, to allow time to source, purchase, pack and ship everything to Punta Arenas, Chile, before camp opens and our guests arrive.
But it's not all work. Many of our mechanical team live in Punta Arenas. They hope to attend some of social events at the IAATO Annual Meeting and they definitely plan to go out for a few beers and enjoy an asado (barbecue) at the office.
A big thank-you to Chris, Al, Pato, Boris and the rest of the mechanical team who work so hard behind the scenes to keep our operations running smoothly!