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Home Resources Case Studies Horton variable-speed fan drive solves productivity challenges in extreme Canadian weather

Horton variable-speed fan drive solves productivity challenges in extreme Canadian weather


June 25, 2019

SMS Equipment is a supplier of heavy machinery and equipment to the construction, mining, forestry and utility industries.

Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, it has over 30 locations, providing equipment and service coverage to several Canadian provinces and territories. It offers brands recognized for their reliability, performance and productivity, including: Komatsu, Wirtgen, Kleemann, VÖgele, Hamm, Fecon, Terramac, Indeco, Sandvik, etc. SMS Equipment has many excavators in service across Western Canada.

“I was really impressed when Horton sent in an Engineering team, to help us design and build a solution. I was even more impressed by how fast they were able to develop a prototype and final retrofit solution.” — Mark Haywood, SMS Equipment technical support manager

Some of these units operate in harsh conditions, including extremely cold weather during the winter season. It came to SMS Equipment’s attention that some customers were experiencing a number of cold-weather related performance issues with their excavators.

SMS Equipment faced two challenges. The first was to quickly solve the extreme-cold performance issues with existing units in the field and thereby preserve important customer relationships. The second was to prevent similar issues with future excavator sales. The primary customer concerns were cab heat and hydraulic fluid temperatures as they relate to productivity.


Within two weeks of connecting with SMS Equipment on the issue, Horton shipped it a prototype solution, consisting of an LCV 80 variable-speed fan drive and an MS9 fan. Soon after SMS Equipment received the prototype solution, a Horton technical team flew to Edmonton to inspect the excavator and the challenges associated with retrofitting the solution.

With all the information in hand, the Horton team returned to the research and development lab in Roseville, Minnesota to further refine the solution and develop a custom retrofit kit that would be easy for SMS Equipment to install.

Both shop and field tests proved successful. Subsequently, SMS Equipment addressed its customers’ cab heat and hydraulic fluid-related productivity concerns by retrofitting the affected excavators in the field. The modification allowed the engines to retain more heat and thereby provide warmer cab temperatures and warmer hydraulic fluid temperatures. The affected customers reported excellent results.

As a result of the SMS Equipment/Horton collaboration, all new excavators are equipped with the cold-weather package.