17.05.2023 - Aluminium Association, Metalinfo
The Plastun all-terrain vehicle is equipped with a heavy-duty engine, wide tracks and a powerful electric winch. To make the three-ton machine better cope with off-road, not afraid of frost and swim like a polar loon, the developers widely used aluminium in its construction. "A non-alternative metal" - that's what they say about it at RUSKIE VEHICLES PLAS-TUNE.
The Plastun snowmobile is a universal transport platform designed to carry people, cargo and special equipment over low bearing capacity soils and open water bodies. This car was first shown on the Russian market less than a year ago: in July 2022, it passed certification and began to be demonstrated at various exhibitions. For example, at the 22nd International Exhibition "Equipment and Technologies for Oil and Gas Complex" (NEFTEGAZ-2023) in the pavilion of Expocentre, the all-terrain vehicle was given a separate stand.
Plastun (from "plast", to lie plastom, plastovaty - to creep, crawl) - in XVIII - early XX a foot Cossack, a representative of a special kind of Cossack troops (Kuban, and earlier - Black Sea), who carried out reconnaissance service. Plastuns were distinguished by the highest endurance, the ability both in the cold and in the heat to overcome dozens of kilometres a day on any terrain, to swim across rivers. They successfully operated in the mountains and among swamps, could sit in ambush for hours, often underwater, breathing through a straw.
EVERY FIFTH KILOGRAM
"We use aluminium extensively," says Yerik Sagymbaev, General Director of RUSSKIE VEZDECHODES PLASTUN. - The entire body of the snowmobile is made of this metal - both upper and lower parts. In addition, aluminium floor, interior cabin panels and support rollers. In total, there is about 600kg of aluminium in the rover's construction."
For an all-terrain vehicle, which weighs between 2.5 and 3 tonnes depending on equipment and size, this is about a fifth of the weight. Aluminium grades AMg3 and AMg5 are used in the construction of the machine. Where there is a responsible element - there is a "five", more decorative element, where there are no heavy loads, like a deck, there is a "three". Of course, the load-bearing power components, such as the frame, are all made of different types of steel. But otherwise aluminium is used as much as possible wherever possible.
Curb weight, t...2,8
Ground clearance, mm...500
Track width, mm...500
Specific ground pressure, kg/cm2...0,098
Maximum speed, km/h....40
Engine power, hp....106
Maximum torque...148 Nm
Number of seats...8
Aluminium is not cheap, but it is an alternative material," explains Yerik Sagymbaev. - Aluminium is not cheap, but it is an alternative material," explains Yerik Sagymbaev. At the same time, plastic is not much lighter than aluminium. And aluminium is still superior in strength. Understandably, aluminium means corrosion resistance, strength, low weight. So anything that can be made from aluminium, we make from that metal."
Aluminium is well machined, with small series it is possible to bend and weld it. In the case of plastics, however, you can't do without moulds, the use of which is economically justified when it comes to large production volumes - hundreds or even thousands of units. On small series, however, it is more convenient to work with metal.
The aluminium parts of the crawler are joined by welding, thereby producing strong, unbreakable and tight joints. For example, the hull is fully sealed, which allows the rover to overcome water obstacles. In addition to welding, bending is used. The discs of the track rollers are stamped and then welded together. But riveting is practically not used in the creation of the car - only for joining aluminium elements with steel. Polymer- and epoxycoated sealants and fasteners help to avoid galvanic couple for-mation.
FROM THE SHOP - TO THE POLYGON
Registered two years ago, the company RUSSKIE VEZDECHODES PLASTUN is preparing to be included in the register of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, so the origin of the aluminium it uses has been confirmed - the metal is entirely domestic. Virtually all the component parts purchased are also domestic. "Our car has more than 90 per cent Russian in it. Localisation is almost minimal," Yerik Sagymbayev said.
The head office of the company, which has only 70 employees so far, is in St. Petersburg, while the production site and design office are in Novosibirsk. The company specialises in the production of all-terrain vehicles - tracked snowmobiles. It also designs and manufactures trailers for passenger cars of categories O1, O2 and O3, including trailers for transporting special equipment such as snowmobiles.
In addition to off-road essentials such as a 40 litre reserve fuel tank and a 5.4 tonne electric winch with a 10 tonne booster, the Plastun is equipped with additional equipment that puts it on a par with a modern vehicle in terms of comfort. The all-terrain vehicle has a rear view camera, and there's also an all-round camera with thermal imager, remote control and computer. There is heated seats, steering wheel, mirrors and even windows, as well as an autonomous heater in the cabin and engine compartment. Plus extra insulation. There is a table for the rear seat passengers - there is a place to put a laptop or place your hunting trophies. Folding rear seats allow you to organise a 1.8x1.6m sleeping space in the rear of the cabin.
The company's products are patented in-house developments. Aluminium alloy components are manufac-tured at four plants according to drawings prepared in the design bureau. These are small enterprises specialising in metalworking of non-ferrous metals with an average of one hundred to two hundred employees. Some of them take over the production of rollers, others make body parts and body components.
The Plastuns are being tested at different ranges. One of the all-terrain vehicles has been permanently stationed at the NAMI proving ground for more than a year, and now three more vehicles have joined it. "All twenty all-terrain vehicles that we produced last year were either exhibition or testing samples," the company's general director clarifies.
During the four months of 2023, 20 snowmobiles of various configurations were produced. The company expects to develop at this pace until the end of the year, and next season - to increase production.
YOU ARE CALLED TIMMYR
Plastun is a multi-tasking machine. But mainly, of course, the all-terrain vehicle is designed for corporate tasks. Given the relatively high cost of this equipment - from 8 million roubles depending on the configuration - oil and gas companies are among the potential buyers. Public services, such as the Ministry of Emergency Situations, may also be interested in it.
There is particular interest in the machine due to the ongoing development of the Arctic. The car was originally designed for use in cold regions. It has successfully withstood tests in a climatic chamber at temperatures of -40 and -50 degrees centigrade.
Tourists, hunters and fishermen will probably also like the tracked machine of high cross-country ability - for them this machine with its safety margin will be just right. Let's not forget that tracked vehicles on composite rubber tracks have the ability to drive on public roads. "We put the machine on plates and issue a passport of a self-propelled vehicle - it can move on the roads not only on a trailer," says Yerik Sagymbaev.
Baikal, Kamchatka, Taimyr - in these regions "Plastuns" will be very useful. After all, tracked all-terrain vehicles are not only passable, but also environmentally friendly. The tracked Plastun can go where neither man nor wheeled vehicle can pass. The fact is that the ground pressure of a caterpillar is three times lower than that of a 90kg man: 0.098kg/cm2 versus 0.352kg/cm2. So Plastun will not damage the topsoil even in extremely vulnerable permafrost conditions. And credit goes to the lightweight and strong aluminium too!