Neumayer Station III, Antarctica
The OBO MKS cable tray in use under the harshest conditions
Neumayer-Station III, the first research station in the Antarctic, is a building for a combination of research, operation and living on a platform above the snow surface, connected to a garage built in the snow. The new station was commissioned on 20th February 2009 and replaces the dismantled Neumayer-Station II, of which only the steel pipe structures remain, deeply embedded in the ice.
On Neumayer-Station III, a total of 100 containers are housed within a protective shell, offering living accommodation, kitchen, a conference room and hospital, as well as various laboratories, a radio room, sanitary rooms, a power centre and multiple fuel tanks. The garage beneath the station houses a snow melting unit, workshops, storage rooms and a waste container, also offering space for piste bashers and motorised sleds. The edge of the ice shelf, at which the supply ships dock, is about 16 kilometres away.
The construction of the Neumayer-Station III fulfils the scientific and logistical requirements for long-term research operation in the Antarctic. The state-of-the-art station is intended to allow a continuation of the long-term measurements of the scientific observatories, along with new research projects.
A key feature of the new station is that it can compensate for the problems caused by the rising snow and ice level using hydraulic lifting equipment, without having to leave components behind in the snow. The total load of around 2,300 t is distributed over 16 foundation plates. After the entire station has been lifted, each individual ram is raised hydraulically, filled/supported with snow and then the entire garage area filled with snow. This method prevents the Neumayer Station III from sinking into the snow over time. This means that it will not suffer the fate of other Antarctic stations, such as that of the Neumayer Station II, which, due to the additional snow during 17 years of operation, was sunk 14 metres into the ice and was then dismantled.
During the construction of the Neumayer Station III, the OBO MKS cable tray was used in varying widths with a comprehensive range of accessories. Due to its high material thickness, the MKS cable tray is extremely robust and, at the same time, can offer an excellent load carrying capacity. Only hot-dip galvanised versions were used, to offer the best possible corrosion protection.