ASKA (Australian Square Kilometre Array)
RJE | 2011
Project description: ASKA is basically stage 1 of a potential “super radio telescope” funded by over 20 countries and larger and more sophisticated than ever before attempted. Stage 1 being built in the WA outback and if successful will trigger a massive project to link up arrays all over the world to feed data back to this WA site for interpretation or what is called “correlation”. This type of radio telescope has a large threat, that is RFI or radio frequency interference. This RFI can corrupt the data collected from the arrays and severely affect the performance of the telescope, rendering it almost useless if not completely eliminated. The sophisticated electronic equipment housed inside the building needs to process un-contaminated data from the arrays outside the building for it to work successfully.
Scope: Bowhill were engaged to build and clad 12 base frames and 12 roof frames each measuring 4.5m x 15m in plan. Total project tonnage was in excess of 100t.
Innovative Methodologies: Boweng together with our client developed a successful RFI welding procedure which was, of course, paramount to the success of this whole project. Boweng’s procedure allowed the 3mm mild steel “skin to be almost perfectly joined as required. Every mm of the kms of RFI weld in the total project required NATA testing to the strict project requirements set by CSIRO.
Technical Challenges: Maintaining the quality of the RFI Welding over km’s of welding required absolute care and attention to detail. Weld cleanliness and gap distance were critical to the success of each and every weld. The Boweng staff were well aware of the importance of their role in this large and important project and the project outcome is a testament to their commitment and skill.