The 'bus' is a 20-metre long, 39 tonne mobile operating theatre built in Rotorua. It cost $5.2 million and was privately funded. The ‘bus’ carries $1 million worth of video communications equipment.

Truck Specifications

The Prime Mover is a 2001 Freightliner Argosy 110” hi top sleeper cab. It’s powered by a 500 hsp Cummins signature series, coupled to an 18 speed road ranger box. It has one steering axle and two drive axles with full interlock systems, running saf axles and suspension. The tare weight is 9,840kg, with a ladened weight of 19,900 kg on the tractor unit.

One of the major modifications to the unit, aside from the customised styling, is a 60 kva generator that runs off the PTO (power take off). It is capable of running the surgery should there be an external power failure, and is a significant feat of engineering. If power is lost, an onboard UPS provides energy while the truck automatically starts, ensuring a seamless transfer.

A small screen above the driver’s head provides the view for the 5 cameras on the trailer unit for assisting with reversing manoeuvres.

The trailer unit was built from scratch in Rotoura by Mills Tui. It has a tare weight of 22,350kg and ladened weight of 28,400kg. This gives a total tare weight of 32,190kg and ladened weight of 38,240kg for the truck and trailer.

The trailer unit is 2.5m wide and 4.2m in height, and when deployed it extends to 5m in width. Four hydraulic rams level the unit, and another four extend the sides out to their fully opened position.

The total length of the Mobile Surgical Unit is 20m, which requires an over length permit to travel on New Zealand roads. To enable the unit to navigate tight corners and park with precision the bus is equipped with steering axles at the rear. The tri-axle set can turn 30 degrees to assist steering at low speeds. The system is locked while travelling on the road, and is operated via a joystick mounted beside the gear lever in the truck cab.