Steel fabrication expertise in the Antarctic

02 Mar 2017

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

A steel fabricator has lent its bespoke steel fabrication expertise to the Antarctic during the relocation of an important British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research station.

ECS Engineering Services lent its support to BAS during a massive project to relocate Halley VI Research Station 23km to a different part of the Brunt ice shelf.

Rob Butts, production manager at ECS, said: “To withstand the polar environment, we use impact tested S355K2 grade materials, galvanised to 140 microns. In some cases, we have also painted the steelwork."

Halley VI must withstand annual snow fall of 1.2m, winds of up to 90 miles per hour and external temperatures of -56 ºC.

The last four research stations at Halley Bay all eventually became buried in snow and were crushed under their own weight.

Halley’s VI Research Station consists of eight serially-connected, ski-mounted modules. It is designed to be fully re-locatable from its position on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is itself moving westward by up to 400 metres per year.

Recent steelwork ECS has supplied to BAS includes 25 triangular trusses that assemble together to make up a tower, leg extensions for the pods and hinged staircases that can adapt to changing snow levels. In total ECS delivered nearly 25 tonnes of fabricated steelwork in 2016, via a long, arduous sea voyage.