Robor/Tricom Winner of the SAISC Overall & Tubular Steel Award for 2015

As the chosen fabricator of the back-up structure (BUS) of the antenna for the MeerKAT project, Robor/Tricom submitted a motivation for consideration for the SAISC (South African Institute of Steel Construction) Tubular Steel Award for 2015 and are proud to announce that Tricom Structures won the award.


South Africa was awarded the bulk of the SKA (Square Kilometer Array) telescope project and Robor subsidiary, Tricom Structures, is extremely proud to have been selected as the fabricator of the back-up structure (BUS) of the antenna for the MeerKAT project, which is the precursor to SKA project.

The backup structure weighs around 25 tons and consists of 6 000 different components that have to be perfectly aligned to ensure the structure can accommodate the highly accurate and sensitive reflector panels for MeerKAT. The components that make up the elliptically shaped support structure are either welded or bolted into larger assemblies. Tubular steel was the material of choice for this application as it provides the right characteristics for the demanding specifications. The tubular steel components were manufactured and precision laser cut by Robor, situated at Elandsfontein.


The first 12 months of the project was essentially a prototyping phase with many design revisions along the way. A prototype was delivered in 2014 and to date a total of six units have seen their way to the Carnarvon site. The last of the pre-production models have now been dispatched, and Tricom is expected to deliver more units on a monthly basis with a total of 64 units planned for completion by the end of 2016.

In July 2015 Tricom Structures (Pty) Ltd became part of the Robor Group and is now a 100% subsidiary of the Robor Group. Tricom’s capabilities and services consisting of engineering and design, manufacturing, product development and support, packaging and shipping including warehousing, will provide Robor with additional opportunities within various markets including renewable energy, telecom, powerline and most structural businesses. Tricom also has a dedicated engineering and design team that works to various international design standards. Without doubt, the Tricom acquisition will certainly enhance Robor’s already well established steel products and value adding service offering.


Robor has long been encouraging the use of tubular steel sections in South Africa not only for its aesthetic appeal but also because it can meet the exacting quality demands of world class projects. The fact that the MeerKAT Back-up Structure is being built in South Africa has proven to the world that South Africa does have the technical capabilities to produce steel structures that can compete on the world stage.