Safe transport containers for SCHOTT telescope mirror substrate

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is building the world's largest optical telescope in the Chilean Atacama Desert. Its Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is scheduled to go into operation in 2027. Made of ZERODUR® glass ceramic, SCHOTT mirror substrate will give a unique view of the stars. TECOSIM assisted in designing the special containers required to transport the substrate to Chile from Mainz in Germany.


SCHOTT is casting the mirror substrate in different sizes at its Mainz headquarters before shipping it to a location near Paris. There, a specialised company grinds and polishes the glass surfaces to an accuracy of 15 nanometres. The substrate is then forwarded to Chile by ship and heavy haulage carrier. Consequently, the required transport containers needed to be designed for an extensive range of potential load impacts at sea and on the road.


TECOSIM assisted with the transport container design, helping to ensure sturdy, secure transport for the mirror substrates. The TECOSIM experts calculated and simulated different potential imposed loads, such as those experienced during shipping and road transport. Sudden swaying motions during crane handling or potential earthquakes were also included in calculations. FE calculations enabled the company to recommend efficient solutions in the selection of container materials.

Client benefit

TECOSIM assisted SCHOTT in the challenging task of developing containers for safe transport of the mirror substrates. The engineers achieved outstanding stability in the structure that they developed for specific static, dynamic and thermal loads. This ensures extremely safe transport.

Get more informations about the project in our Reference report under >Downloads<.



Bettina Schmidt
Director Corporate Communications

Tel.: +49 6142 12000 40

Bahnhofsplatz 3
65428 Rüsselsheim