A Jonyang polar vehicle is seen in the Antarctic. (ZHU JICHAI/XINHUA)
With an eye-catching exterior and two 4-meter-long carriages, polar all-terrain vehicles produced by a Guizhou company, which can travel at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour in the Antarctic and work in an environment with temperatures ranging from — 40 C to 40 C, became a popular topic recently on the internet.
Codeveloped by the Guizhou Jonyang Kinetics Co Ltd and the Polar Research Institute of China, the polar ATVs are responsible for expedition member commutes, supply transportation, scouting on ice sheets and sea ice, search and rescue of personnel and other tasks in the Antarctic.
For seven consecutive years, the polar vehicles have completed several research missions in the Antarctic and made a breakthrough in China's self-innovative large-scale scientific research equipment.
"At low temperatures, ordinary vehicle parts made of rubber, steel and other materials will suffer from 'low-temperature embrittlement', making them easy to break and be damaged," said Chen Jianhua, director of the assembly technique research institute of Jonyang Kinetics.
Chen said Jonyang's polar ATVs use special materials and technologies which make them capable of working in an environment with temperatures ranging from — 41 C to 40 C. They can also park in an environment with temperatures ranging from — 50 C to 70 C. Chen said the technologies used in the vehicles are at a leading level on a global scale.
At the same time, the vehicles must be able to keep the crew warm from the extremely cold weather to ensure their safety. To this end, the vehicles' doors have special designs and the rear compartments of the vehicles have independent heaters, which improves the warmth of the interior and greatly improves the comfort of the crew.
Li Lin, who worked on the research and development of the ATVs, said: "The Antarctic environment is very harsh, with strong winds, low temperatures, strong ultraviolet light and complicated terrain. In order to simulate the working environment for the crews who carry out research missions in the Antarctic, our team spent nearly two years in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Tibet autonomous region and other regions to do a lot of experiments. The goal is to ensure that the Antarctic vehicle can adapt to various harsh environments and successfully complete the research missions."
In order to deliver the polar vehicles on schedule, Jonyang employed more than 200 workers to participate in relevant research, development and production, who then carried out experiments of more than 20,000 kilometers and invented over 20 patented designs.
The company's work has paid off. Within four years, its first-generation polar ATV traveled nearly 10,000 km across the vast ice field and helped the team members in completing the Antarctic research missions.
Jonyang launched in 2019 the second-generation product, which improved in reliability, safety and comfort compared with the first generation.
The company, with over 80 years of history, has obtained more than 200 patents and produced a series of products, including emergency rescue equipment and conventional excavators, which are sold to over 10 countries and regions.