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Custom Covers protect Antarctica research station

Industry News, Projects, Tents | June 1, 2008 | By:

Custom Covers, Southampton, England, makes temporary membrane or tensile structures for many cool venues, but one of the company’s recent projects was ice cold: covers for the British Antarctic Survey’s new Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica. “We aim to make covers for absolutely anything,” says Custom Covers chief executive Robert Sanders, “and this project proves it.”

The British Antarctic Survey’s new Halley VI Research Station was one of the coolest projects for Southampton’s Custom Covers. Photos: Custom Covers.

The challenges included finding fabric that would endure 100 mile-per-hour winds, sustain temperatures as low as 56 degrees C, and fit snugly enough to prevent spindrift from icing expensive lab equipment. Fabrication wasn’t easy, either, since the covers had to consist of one piece (since standard seams and joins wouldn’t hold up) and be completed within brutal timeframes to beat the Antarctic winter. Each cover took three weeks to construct from start to finish, used 1,400 square meters of fabric, weighed more than a ton and took 15 people to pack into containers. The company’s routine projects, including marquees, event structures and decorative linings for tents, may seem tame after staff stepped up to this South Pole adventure.

“I would like to thank the Custom Covers team, at short notice turning round and delivering on time the covers for the Halley VI modules,” says Simon Gill, Morrison Construction Ltd., the company that commissioned the work. “The covers fit extremely well and the quality of the build is first class.”

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