Club Car Creates Customized Vehicles for Potash Mining

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Customized XRT1550 SEs slash underground transport costs.

Club Car is supplying customized XRT1550SE utility vehicles to Canadian potash mines to replace the full sized SUVs they were using for underground transportation.

The 20 full-time engineers and technicians in Club Car’s Custom Solutions Department use ProEngineering software to design specialized vehicles that help industries around the world reduce cost, improve performance and boost sustainability.

Club Car’s Custom Solutions Department specializes in helping mining executives and others reduce vehicle costs and improve efficiency.

Take, for example, Agrium Potash in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan. “The mine was using full sized SUVS to transport crews through narrow, dark tunnels ¾ of a mile (1.2 kilometers) underground over loose, rocky and sometimes corrosive terrain,” says Club Car Engineer and Manager of Custom Solutions Richard Whitfield.

But the SUVs do not have a tight turning radius, were somewhat difficult to maintain and cost about $100,000 each.

The local Club Car dealer suggested Agrium try customized Club Car XRT1550-SE four-passenger diesel utility vehicles instead.

“Agrium developed a list of additional features needed for underground mining, and our Custom Solutions engineers designed and priced vehicles for their application,” Whitfield says.

Like all custom solutions, the designs had to pass Club Car’s stringent safety and regulatory reviews.

Diesel Scrubbers, Power Steering, Back-up Alarms and More

“The vehicles were built with diesel scrubbers to remove carbon emissions. And, since they have to navigate punishing conditions and back up more than a mile at a stretch, they were equipped with power steering,” Whitfield says.

Customized heavy-duty brush guards, rear differential guards, belly pans/skid plates, CV boot guards and rock guard brake calipers armor the vehicles against the abusive terrain.

The XRTs were fitted with complete light packages as well as rear- and front-facing spot lights on separate circuits, 120-decibel back-up alarms, and digital speedometers that are legible in the dark.

The cars were also equipped with sealed CVTs to keep dust and dirt off the clutch face, gel-cell maintenance-free sealed batteries, and spare tires and rims. For easy engine access, the rear seat was hinged.

Agrium purchased the first of its XRTs in 2007, and now uses 53 of the customized vehicles. Other potash mines are using similar vehicles with good results.

The Benefits?

“We can buy five XRTs for the price of one SUV,” says Wallace Boehme, Agrium’s mine maintenance engineer.

Boehme also notes that the aluminum frames on the XRTs resist corrosion and perform well. “The XRTs are standing up better than a more expensive brand of utility vehicle we once tried,” he says. “Some of the vehicles we’ve used literally fell apart in this environment.”

The XRTs are also easier to maintain. “We service them in house, and spare parts have been readily available and much less expensive than parts for the SUVs,” Boehm says.

The XRT1550’s standard IntelliTrak™ automatic all-wheel-drive system is another plus. “The ground can be very loose down here, and a regular four-wheel-drive vehicle can be getting stuck before the driver has time to shift,” Boehm says. “The IntelliTrak shifts automatically as soon as needed, without the driver having to do anything.”

The XRTs take about 25 percent less oxygen out of the air than the SUVs, so Agrium has to replace less oxygen in the mine. And they are easier to get into and out of.

Club Car’s Custom Solutions Department

The 20 full-time engineers and technicians in Club Car’s Custom Solutions Department use ProEngineering software to design specialized vehicles that help industries around the world reduce cost, improve performance and boost sustainability. “If you can dream it, we can build it,” Whitfield says.

The vehicles are built in Club Car’s manufacturing facility in Augusta, Ga., and carry the same warranty as any other vehicle in class.

Club Car’s customized vehicles are sold through its regular sales channels. For more information or to find a dealer near you, visit http://www.clubcar.com/locator.

About Club Car

Club Car, one of the most respected names in the golf industry, is the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero-emissions electric vehicles. The company’s Precedent golf cars and Carryall turf utility vehicles are integral to successful operations at thousands of courses around the world. The company also offers a complete line of new and used golf cars, XRT utility vehicles and street-legal, low speed vehicles (LSVs) for personal use, all backed by Club Car’s 50+ year legacy of superior design, manufacture and service. Club Car is part of the Industrial Technology Sector of Ingersoll Rand, and is based in Augusta, Ga. Visit http://www.clubcar.com/.

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Betty Sosnin
Club Car
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