Canadian-Made K-Tec Scrapers Reach Antarctica, Ensuring Vital Ice Runway Maintenance

After a long journey, two K-Tec 1233 scrapers have arrived in Antarctica for the Australian Antarctic Division’s aviation operations at Wilkins Aerodrome. Work has now commenced, as their primary task is to keep the runway operational.

The scraper’s journey started at the K-Tec factory in Manitoba, Canada where they were containerized and shipped to Brisbane, Australia. Once landed, Dom Distribution assembled the scrapers with custom parts and blades before they made their way down to Tasmania to set off to the icy continent.

The 3-kilometer ice runway, situated 700 meters above sea level, poses unique challenges. During winter, the runway shifts from a straight line to a banana-like curve as the glacier moves beneath. The barely visible runway is a lifeline for aviation operations in the region, emphasizing the significance of the scraper’s role in maintaining its operability.

img: Glenn Jacobson

Paired up with modified Case IH Steiger tractors, it is the aviation operations’ job to make sure it is surveyed, realigned, strength-tested, and ready to go by the time the first plane arrives during their operating months.

“They’ve got tracks that are typically used in Arctic conditions, 240-volt heaters on the engines, diesel heaters for when they’re not near power sources, the engine is fully enclosed, the fuel tank size has been tripled,” Product Manager, Jason Wood from Case IH said.

This collaborative effort between Canadian and Australian entities underscores the importance of international cooperation in addressing challenges posed by the world’s most inhospitable environments. The successful deployment of the K-Tec scrapers and Case IH tractors marks a significant step forward in maintaining vital infrastructure in Antarctica, enabling continued scientific research and logistical support in this remote and frigid region. As the aviation operations team commences their work, the resilient machinery stands as a testament to human innovation and determination in the face of nature’s extremes.

Article Written by Shane Kroeker, Director of Strategic Initiatives, K.A. Group

K-Tec Media Contact
Shane Kroeker
Director of Strategic Initiatives
K-Tec Earthmovers Inc.
T: 1-204-746-6435