The Square Kilometrer Array (SKA) radio telescope installation needed a cost-effective foundation design to accommodate each of thousands of radio antennas. The allowable tilt of the foundations during normal operations was specified to be less than 2,5 arc seconds (0,0007°). The optimized design needed to consider the remote locations of the antennas.
Several concepts were generated and refined until a final preliminary design was selected. The design consists of eight piles, topped with a square annulus ring beam. A four-section cone is fastened to the top of the ring beam and serves as the base for the antenna. The cone sections could be cast at a factory under controlled conditions to achieve better material properties before being transported to the antenna site.
Simera’s design optimization of the chosen antenna foundation has resulted in a significant decrease of steel rebar and concrete when compared to the KAT-7 antenna foundations while maintaining acceptable tilt during normal operating conditions.