Monday, January 14, 2013

Peterson Power Systems at the Bottom of the Earth

Peterson Power’s rental and used equipment businesses often send employees across the globe to meet customers and deliver gear, but despite several years in the business, there’s one particularly remote location to which they had never shipped a unit, sent a technician, or installed a part: Antarctica, southernmost continent, home of the world’s largest desert, and the coldest place on Earth! However, a request for engine and genset rebuilds in McMurdo Station, a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, recently brought an opportunity for Peterson to add another feather to our hat of international deliveries… We won a job in Antarctica!

Patrick Higgins, Product Support Sales Manager, explained how Peterson won the job: “We had an employee who left us to work in Antarctica,” Patrick said. “After four or five years there, he came back to the United States and took a job finding contractors to work in Antarctica during the summers. Fairly recently, a big engine overhaul job came up, and he gave us a shot at bidding it. The job is complex—it consists of two complete in-frames, one top-end overall, one generator-end replacement, and one radiator & fan hub repair. We won the bid, and next thing you know, we were planning a trip to McMurdo Station!
McMurdo is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. The highest average temperature at the station is a balmy 31º Fahrenheit in January [midsummer, to residents of the Southern hemisphere] and in August, the average low is -25º! Needless to say, for the approximately 1,300 people who call McMurdo their home, keeping the lights and heaters working reliably is top priority!

“Our job will run from October to January,” Patrick said. “Three technicians have agreed to spend four months on the ice, where they will demonstrate Peterson Excellence in the most inhospitable climate on earth.” And they’ll be busy: “The guys will arrive at McMurdo in early October,” Patrick said. “For the first two months, they’ll be in McMurdo during a 3516 overhaul and a generator-end swapout on a 3516. In November, one of the guys will fly to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide field camp to perform a radiator & fan hub repair on a C9 generator. Then, from November to December, all three technicians will fly to the South Pole station [at 10,000’ elevation!] and do a complete, major overall on a 3512.”

Power Vice-President John Krummen explained more about the job: “Visiting Antarctica is exceedingly difficult during the Southern hemisphere’s winter, which takes place during our summer,” John said. “Planes are rarely able to navigate the whiteout conditions near McMurdo and ships approaching the continent must be led by an icebreaker. Our technicians will arrive shortly after the Antarctic airspace becomes navigable—the people who spent that winter at McMurdo will be happy to see new faces after six months and are sure to give them a warm welcome!” John went on to praise the techs for their dedication to our customers: “Going to Antarctica is a big deal for Peterson,” John said. “We have now worked on every continent and condition on Earth—from extreme heat in Algeria to incredible cold in Antarctica. The dedication of our employees makes it possible for us to say truthfully that we will do whatever it takes, no matter how distant or forbidding the job, to put the Customer First!”

To view images of Peterson in Antarctica, visit our facebook page.  Or check us out on Pinterest.

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