Antars in the Desert
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IP to August of this year, 35 Thorny5.--0 croft Antars had covered a total of 532,000 miles on pipe-line transport and other oilfield work in Syria. The maximum distance travelled by a single vehicle was 21,900 miles. Since the start of operations early in 1951, the ton-mileage figure amounted to 6,100,000.
This information was given by Mr. C. E. Burton in answer to a question at an informal meeting of the Automobile Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Birmingham, last week, His paper, "The Design of Very Large Haulage Vehicles," had been followed by a film showing the operation of the fleet of Antar vehicles in Syria.
Mr. Burton stated that of the 35 Antars, 21 were carrying pipes on a round-the-clock schedule in convoys of seven vehicles. Six of the Antars were transporting equipment on low-bed trailers and one out of every six vehicles in the fleet was towing a trailer with a 36-ton load in addition to 95 tons on the tractor, making a total payload of over 130 tons.
According to an American estimate, the pipe fine of 375 miles would not be completed before May, 1953. The work was now 53 days ahead of schedule and would be completed in February, 1952, with 114 days in hand, compared with the time estimated by the Irak Petroleum Co. A stock-pile of 32 miles of piping was stored on the border of Syria and Irak.
D16 Replying to further questions, Mr. Burton said that the cost of an An tar, without a trailer, was between £9,000 and £10,000. So far, a complete breakdown had not been experienced: the vehicles had always been able to reach their destinations without needing outside aid.
With an 80-ton load, the average fuel-consumption rate was 3-31 m.p.g. Arabs were specially trained to drive the vehicles. The standard type of tyre tread had been stipulated by the oil company.
When thanking the author, the chairman said that, from personal experience, the dust in the Syrian desert was no better than grinding paste and would ruin any engine in a few hundred miles unless filtration was extremely efficient.