The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) operates Halley VI, the first fully re-locatable research station in the world. The state-of-the-art facility is segmented into eight modules raised on hydraulic legs. These legs can be individually raised to overcome the accumulation of snow, preventing the station from being buried. The legs are all fitted with giant skis, so the team can tow each module using a bulldozer, enabling Halley VI to be relocated as required. Snow levels rise by over 1 metre every year and the sun does not rise above the horizon for 105 days during winter. Temperatures drop to -56C and the site can be buffeted by winds in excess of 100 mph. BAS required spreader plates to support each leg of Halley VI, to help prevent the station from sinking into the snow.
Outriggerpads rose to the challenge of supporting Halley VI by creating a bespoke spreader plate, specifically designed for the research station. Manufactured from UHMW polyethylene, the material does not splinter and has a very high resistance to vertical pressure, meaning the pads adapt to the contours of uneven terrain while still retaining their shape. The material is also completely waterproof which significantly extends the products’ working lives compared to spreader plates made of wood or metal.
The 1200mm x1000mm x40mm pads weigh only 46kg each, making them easy to manually position, yet have a 30,000kg load-bearing capacity. Each one is stamped with a unique ID number, making them easy to reference and locate for the BAS team. The light weight also makes them easy to transport whenever Halley VI is relocated.