Paris, November 12, 2019 – Art & Fact Innovation, a French start-up specializing in the design and manufacture of telecom infrastructure, unveiled its first 3D concrete printed structure on November 7 at Auffargis, in the presence of all its partners*, for telecom operators and local authorities.
The result of 2 years of research and development, Art & Fact Innovation’s solution is based on large-scale 3D concrete printing technology and prestressing technology, for which its partners XtreeE and Freyssinet are specialists respectively. The structure presented is composed of 6 “voussoirs”, 2-metre elements stacked and prestressed with cables, bringing its height to 12 metres. This is a world first, since no printed concrete structure of this height has yet been built.
A technical and technological challenge
3D printing, by depositing successive layers of concrete, makes it possible to design complex shapes and thus offers the “voussoirs” their unique design. The manufacturing time is reduced by a factor of 10, compared to the construction of a conventional metal pylon, since only 4 to 6 days are required to print a 12-metre structure. In addition, 3D printing technology reduces the use of concrete by putting the right amount of material in the right place.
Once printed, the different modules are stacked on top of each other to form the entire structure. The latter is then held by steel cables, introduced into ducts held by an ultra high performance fiber concrete slurry (UHPFB), and stretched to the maximum by cylinders. This technique, called “pre-stressing”, provides structures with increased strength and a service life of more than 50 years. It also facilitates assembly and disassembly. With the support of the Lamoureux & Ricciotti engineering office, specialized in concrete structure engineering, this new generation of structure also meets the most pessimistic seismic and anticyclonic standards (Zone 5).
Innovation at the service of territories and sustainable cities
Beyond the technical prowess, these new types of masts fit perfectly into any type of landscape, whether urban or rural. Born from the observation that it was important to respond to operators in their deployment, while preserving the environmental and visual integrity of cities and villages, Art & Fact Innovation is able to adapt the design of its structures according to the appearance and dimensions of the antennas they will host, the objective being to confuse the support and the telecom equipment installed.
The startup also proposes to customize and green structures or to provide them with lighting solutions, surveillance cameras, wifi, an air quality sensor, a freshness point, etc. An environmental impact study will be carried out before each integration project in order to validate or not the need to green the structure, a step provided by the partner company Jardins de Babylone.
“Our approach is part of a volonté́ to participate in the development of the Smart Cities of tomorrow, which will have to combine the challenges of a sustainable and equitable livable city and offer communication spaces to enable them to be mobile and connected,” said Denis Wehrlé, CEO of Art & Fact Innovation, during the presentation.
These innovative structures – more aesthetic and eco-responsible than traditional telecom pylons – must make it possible to respond to the issues related to the implementation of the France Very High Speed Plan and the deployment of the thousands of pylons required for 5G, while preserving the environmental and visual integrity of the territories.