HMT selected to support British Antarctic Rothera Wharf Steelwork Project

Geposted von Drummond Laurie am

Steel Wharf Construction – hole cutting on site in the worlds most hostile site environment.: being part of the £100M upgrade to Britains Antarctic Reseach Station with 4000 tonnes of equipment and materials being shipped 11,000km to site.

HoleMaker Technology are proud to play a vital role in this ambitious project. This is the most challenging steel drilling project ever and we have designed, custom built and successfully tested a system capable of handling the job.


With the sub-zero temperature challenges and much of the work being in the tideline (wave splash hazards) , then conventional magnet drills could not be used. A system using switched permanent magnets and a compact hydraulic motor with a remote engine driven power source was developed and tested, capable of cutting holes up to 105mm diameter and 60mm deep on flat and curved surfaces as standard.

(Part of the 1000T steel structure was trial erected near Southampton, where HMT carried out the hole drilling tests) 

As part of the current ongoing major upgrade of British Antarctic Survey capabilities the wharf at Rothera Research Station in the Antarctic will undergo complete replacement and enlargement over the next 2 years to accommodate the new research vessel RSS Sir Richard Attenborough.

The entire wharf frame work is built of UK made and fabricated structural steel and will need thousands of holes of up to 105mm diameter drilled on site. The design is exceptionally complex with multiple layers of tubular piles providing adjustment for tide conditions. 

The main contractors BAM have just completed construction of a trial module and our machines performed exceptionally well, satisfying every requirement.

Picture demonstrating innovative 'swing away' feature that allows one magnet to retain safe clamping to a 405mm tube pile, and the second magnet to release and swing away the drilling unit to inspect the hole and tooling. 

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