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Global interest

CALGARY, Alta. - Canadian residents flocked in droves to Alberta in the final three months of 2005, as the province's population increased at more than five times the national average. During that fin...

CALGARY, Alta. – Canadian residents flocked in droves to Alberta in the final three months of 2005, as the province’s population increased at more than five times the national average. During that final quarter about 25,100 new residents put down roots in Alberta with an estimated 17,100 migrating from other provinces. The last time Alberta swelled with similar growth was during the oil boom period of the early ’80s.

Wild rose country’s latest population surge has also been fueled by a resurgence of the oil industry. Fittingly, in the middle of June, Calgary set the stage for businesses in the industry to showcase their products and services during the 2006 Global Petroleum Show. The show has established itself as the world’s largest oil and gas event and this year’s edition featured more than 50,000 delegates from more than 85 countries.

During the bumper sticker fad of the ’80s one slogan which found its way onto a number of vehicles in Alberta eloquently begged for another boom period, promising not to squander the opportunity again. Now, in the midst of another oil boom, a number of carriers have attempted to make good on that promise by diversifying into specialized transportation services for the oilfield.

From large Alberta-based carriers to smaller outfits, trucking firms have steered into the oilpatch and a number of manufacturers have hitched on for the ride. The importance of hauling in the oil industry is prevalent, as transportation-related services made up a sizeable portion of the 1,500 exhibitors at the largest Global Petroleum Show to date.

Driving the off-road trail

International Truck and Engine arrived at the 2006 Global Petroleum Show displaying three of its top severe service trucks. Re-affirming its commitment to the oilfield market, International was showcasing a sample of its trucks that have driven the company in the vocational truck market.

“International severe service trucks have been very popular with construction, municipal and waste customers and now is the time for us to put more emphasis on the growing oil and gas market,” said Bill Sixsmith, director of severe service marketing at International Truck and Engine.

“The company is committed to providing customers in this field with a full range of reliable trucks and a global network of dealers for support.”

International’s line of Class 6-8 off-highway trucks makes up International’s severe service division. These truck models are built specifically to meet the rigorous demands of vocational customers in the field.

Winch watch

Tulsa Winch unveiled a new safety feature for its Rufnek winches during the Global Petroleum Show. Rufnek planetary winches are designed specifically for the oilfield industry and will now come equipped with Intelliguard technology. The system aims to offer added protection from winch overloading on bed trucks, winch trucks and pole trucks.

Prototyped in Texas, the new technology has been in the works for 18 months and has been out in the field for the past six months.

“It came about due to the oilpatch concern for safety,” explained Dave Jackson, vice-president of engineering with Tulsa Winch. “It’s a dangerous place to work and if we can make it safer, then that’s a good thing.”

The Intelliguard capacity-alert system, electronically measures torque and load information every time the winch is operated. As the winch approaches its maximum torque, Intelliguard’s light indicator warns the operator and records the information. The recorded data can than be downloaded using any Windows-based application.

Under pressure

The Tireboss, from Tire Pressure Control International, is making traction in off-road applications with its in-cab control system. Tireboss electronically controls tire pressure from the cab of the truck while the vehicle remains in motion.

Each individual system can be programmed to suit the vehicle configuration and specific haul cycle requirements.

Reduced tire pressure creates a longer footprint and distributes the weight over a larger surface area. The ability to match tire pressures to vehicle loads and speeds allows for optimum vehicle performance under a wide range of road conditions, according to the manufacturer.

The air control valves in the valve box are connected to the tire groups and individual valve stems, through airlines and various types of rotary couplings mounted at the wheel ends. The air transferred into or out of the tires through this hardware is based on selections made by the driver.

All systems come with standard built-in safety features including speed monitoring with auto-inflate, if the speed is exceeded for the selected pressures. The internationally used product is adaptable to all axle, wheel and truck types and requires no extra air tanks.

Dual fuel system

By blending different fuels, the GTI Bi-Fuel System attempts to improve fuel efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions in a single aftermarket device. Manufactured by Altronic Controls, the system combines natural gas, or other available gas, in the operation of industrial diesel engines.

The addition of the GTI Bi-Fuel System requires no modification to the internal components of the engine and allows for operation on natural gas for 50% to 70% of the fuel required to maintain the desired speed and load, says the company.

The diesel and natural gas are blended in the combustion chamber by using a fumigated gas-charge design.

The natural gas is pre-mixed with engine intake-air and delivered to the combustion chamber through the air-intake valve.

The air-gas mixture is ignited when the diesel injector sprays a reduced quantity of diesel into the chamber.

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