British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will embark on one of the last remaining polar challenges faced by mankind next year, with a little help from a Shropshire company.
The 68-year-old is to brave temperatures of minus 50C when he heads a team hoping to cross Antarctica during a southern winter for the first time.
And at night, while they sleep in a 40 ft caboose, separating the famed explorer from the bone-chilling temperatures will be a cover made by Sutton Maddock-based Seymour Manufacturing.
The company’s chairman, Brian Seymour, said: “When Sir Ranulph first asked if we could help to protect him and his team, we knew this meant taking our Tempro product, and the SMI team, well out of our comfort zone.
“We are always keen to take on a challenge though, and we agreed to make a first cover and put it through initial testing in Sweden earlier this year.
“We were testing in temperatures of minus 40, yet inside the covers the temperature recorded after just 10 minutes of heating every five hours was plus 10 degrees, a temperature difference of 50 degrees.”
After the testing, Seymour was commissioned to build covers from the material to cover two cabooses –one 40ft for living quarters, the other 20ft for scientific equipment – and two for the tractor units that have been specially converted by Cannock-based Finning.
The two covers for the tractors will be rolled up and stored on the roof for quick deployment in stormy conditions.
Mr Seymour added: “We are honoured to be able to assist Sir Ranulph and his team in his latest, and most difficult, challenge to date.”
The expedition team is due to leave London in early December 2012 and will begin the six-month crossing in March 2013. They are not due to return to the UK until early 2014 because of weather conditions.