The Sherp vehicle
Photo by: Creamer Media's Simone Liedtke
Particularly well-suited to adverse weather and remote ground conditions, the Sherp heavy-duty vehicle provides an efficient mode of transport when access to remote areas is required, either for exploration or for humanitarian or search and rescue needs.
Manufacturer DCD Protected Mobility, which specialises in detection and systems, partnered with off-road capability manufacturer Sherp in bringing the Sherp vehicle to the African continent and to promote its use.
Currently mostly used for humanitarian and search and rescue requirements, DCD GM Cornelius Grundling tells Engineering News the vehicle provides an efficient mode of transport across any sort of terrain, and that it can be modified according to a customer’s requirements.
While not yet used in any mining applications, Sherp international sales team member Gennadiy Romaniuk says it can be adapted for exploration, for example, or even the search and rescue needs of opencast mines.
“The Sherp is able to take people to remote areas, and is fuel efficient which provides a cost saving. It’s fuel consumption is about five liters per one working hour, which is a huge cost saving when compared to that of a helicopter,” he explains.
A helicopter, in comparison, will need larger amounts of fuel; it will have an added rental fee and may not always be of use in adverse weather conditions, such as strong and severe winds. The Sherp, on the other hand, is fully amphibious and can travel up to 6 km/h in water, and up to 40 km/h on land.
The Sherp, Romaniuk adds, can also be adapted for medical purposes, and can be used in flooded areas, in snow and in remote regions.
The United Nations (UN), meanwhile, recently welcomed another 20 Sherp vehicles to its fleet across Africa, says Grundling, who notes that the UN deploys these vehicles for its World Food Programme operations.
The UN is currently using the Sherp vehicle across South Sudan, Uganda, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, besides others.
The cost of the Sherp vehicle is, however, dependent on special modifications and features that may be required according to end-users needs.
Grundling says DCD is, therefore, aware that not all countries may be able to afford to buy such a vehicle; therefore, the company has made available a financing model, with the company to work with local partners to provide financing, should there be a requirement for it.
The Sherp vehicle is able to predict actions and circumstances that could affect manoeuvrability through the early detection indications of, for example, impediments to battlefield mobility.
Key to this, the company says, is the development of predict-to-prevent linkages to detect impediments and identify alternative mobility corridors needed to avoid or overcome impediments that cannot be prevented or avoided.
The Sherp vehicle has “outstanding” strategic and off-road mobility, with a high payload to accommodate most applications. It is also reliable, and easy to operate and maintain, the companies say.
The vehicle’s parts are made from Docol steel, which is resistant to deformation owing to its high yield strength (1 000 MPa). All parts of the mechanism have a zinc coating, which extends the Sherp’s service life by 30 years.
The exterior coating is done by Raptor, using its polyurethane paint. This type of coating has soundproof and water repellent properties. The Raptor professional paint protects against mechanical damage, corrosion, mold and chemical exposure.
The heart of the Sherp, which can be provided in either the PRO XT or Ark model, is the high technology Doosan engine, sourced from Korea. Doosan Infracore Engine Business Group manufactures eco-friendly, highly efficient and optimum performance engines, aiming to add value to the customer and the environment
The transmission is equipped with a Renault manual gearbox, which has shown “its best qualities” in terms of reliability, smooth shifting and gear ratios.
The heart of the Sherp is the engine produced by Japanese company Kubota, which has specialised in the manufacturing of high-tech diesel engines for 120 years.