Pole position for outrigger pads6 August 2015 by Daniel Searle
Specialised outrigger pads, similar to those manufactured for mobile cranes, are being used in the Antarctic to prevent a research facility from sinking into the snow.
The Halley VI Research Station, used by researchers for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), is the first research station in the world that can be fully relocated, with the facility segmented into eight modules raised on hydraulic legs. These can be individually raised to avoid an accumulation of snow and to prevent the station from becoming buried, and the legs are fitted with skis to enable the modules to be towed.
UK-based company Outriggerpads produced bespoke 1,200mm x 1,000mm x 40mm pads to support the station. The pads each weigh 46kg, making them suitable for manual positioning, and have a load-bearing capacity of 30,000kg.
The pads are produced from UHMW polyethylene, a waterproof material that is resistant to splintering and offers a very high resistance to vertical pressure, making the pads suitable to uneven terrain, says the company.
Outriggerpads manufactures pads with vertical load bearing capacities from 5-350t, suitable for cranes, powered access and mobile plant.