The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa Project earlier this month took delivery of Africa’s largest mobile crane.
A smaller “cherry picker” crane was handed over at the same time at a ceremony held near Carnarvon.
The project ordered the cranes via Palfinger Africa in December. The cranes “will be used for the construction and operation of KAT-7, an engineering testbed for the MeerKAT radio telescope and later for the MeerKAT telescope,” the SKA SA Project said in a statement.
The large mobile crane has a lifting capacity of 100 tons/metre, a maximum height of 38m and a reach of 20m.
The SKA project will use the crane to lift the composite fibre dish that is12m in diameter and weighs 4.5 tons.
It will be moved on a custom-made 15m x 4m trailer from the site complex (located 78km outside Carnarvon) to the core site which is approximately 5km from the site complex. The crane will then be used to erect the dish onto the pedestal.
The cherry picker has a lifting capacity of 15 tons/metre, a maximum height of 16m and a reach of 12m. It will be used to transport containers from Cape Town to the site; to assist with the erection of the dish pedestals; the feed legs and the radio front end payload.
Both cranes will be used for ongoing maintenance of the dishes and corrective maintenance on the payload. Both cranes were manufactured in Austria.