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Setting the Foundation for the Construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope

Tiffany Scuglik

This past summer, some members of our Industrial Division started a new project for Ingersoll Machine Tools. Ingersoll Machine Tools manufactures large machinery and equipment for the government and precise machinery for businesses across the world. Our crews began constructing a new Telescope Bay and MES IV Bay expansion at their Rockford, IL facility. The MES IV bay will be home to a new Gantry machine that will be used to produce a variety of parts for both the defense and aerospace industry, while the Telescope Bay will be used to construct the Giant Magellan Telescope!

With an aggressive schedule to meet, our crews had to have a solid, effective plan right away. In order for both the large telescope to be constructed, along with a solid foundation for the Gantry machine, each bay had its own mass concrete foundation that needed to be poured. The mass foundation for the telescope was over 800 yards of concrete and was circular in shape!  The MES-IV foundation was even larger, consisting of approximately 1400 yards of concrete! In the MES-IV foundation the team had to set (26) steel frames which held over (750) spiral pipe “cans” that would be used later to grout in anchors used in supporting the Gantry machine beds and tables. They also had to set about 280 LF of trenches.


These mass pours took place in July, so the teams ran into the challenge of a hot summer. To overcome the hot summer days, the concrete crew began pumping concrete from Point Ready Mix with (2) concrete pumps from ACE Pumping at 3:00 am and averaged 95 yds. per hour. The crew of 14 had paced and bull floated 759 yards of concrete by ­­­11 am. Along with the concrete placed, 33 tons of rebar was placed by Harris Rebar for support in the foundation. To form the telescope mass foundation, Symons forms and specialty ties were used to create the circular formation of the foundation. Thanks to cooler weather and another early morning start we again were able to keep the concrete temps below the required 82 degrees pouring temperature through the entire pour.


Since the Ingersoll site is next to a neighborhood there was a lot of coordination by the owner to make sure the city and neighbors were informed about the early morning operations.  Most importantly, both of these critical operations were done without any safety issues. Our team had multiple flaggers directing traffic due to the constant in and out of concrete trucks and to ensure the crews stayed aware.

The team recently finished the structural steel and IMP panels and is currently working on pouring slab on grade.  The project is currently on schedule to be complete in February of 2022. Check out our project list to see the progress!

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July 17, 2024