US based company Geostrut have been leading the way in innovative tower structure technology. By building tower structures from carbon fiber as opposed to traditional steel structure they can lower the material weight by up to 90%. Other major benefits from a carbon fiber structure are less environmental impact, longer lasting and faster installation/construction costs.
Geostrut carbon fiber tower structure.
The manufacturing of Geostrut carbon fiber towers makes use of recyclable materials. Steel fabrication is a high energy process, where as the production process for carbon fiber is relatively energy efficient. No harmful solvents or chemicals are used in the process either making these towers very environmentally friendly.
Carbon fiber does not rust and corrode like a steel structure does. This makes the towers lower maintenance and longer lasting. Not only is this helpful to the environment but saves tower operators in maintenance costs too. Geostrut are claiming a 50 year lifespan for the carbon fiber towers compared to 20 years for a steel structure, especially nearby marine environments.
As carbon fiber is around 90% lighter than steel it requires lighter installation equipment, less heavy lifting cranes, less foundations to support the tower which all leads to lower installation costs, and faster time for construction. It is estimated that carbon fiber tower structures can be 20% – 30% faster to construct compared to traditional steel structured towers. Delivery costs are also substantially less. Delivery costs from the US to Africa are around $250 – $300 USD per tower with the ability to fit 18 monopole towers in a single 40ft container.
Geostrut was founded eight years ago and this is the third generation of their carbon fiber towers. The design and technology has been refined over the past 4 years and according to their CEO Craig Barker, they are now ready to take on the market and compete head to head with steel towers on price.
Carbon fiber has great tensile and compressive strength inherent in it’s material properties, as well as being very light giving it an excellent strength to weight ratio. It is used in all manner of industries, most notably automotive and recently in aviation, with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner making great use of composite materials and carbon fiber. The problem with implementing carbon fiber materials for towers was that it does not have good strength against bending and has a low impact resistance. Geostrut developed a lattice fiber inner structure with a carbon fiber skin. This required less raw material, reducing costs and also gives the structure the necessary bending strength to satisfy the wind loads subjected to telecom tower structures.
Other advantages that can be found from the use of carbon fiber towers would be specific for emerging markets such as Africa and India. Often building standards are not as high in emerging markets meaning heavy steel towers placed on a buildings rooftop is not always possible. The additional loads from the tower structure can be hazardous. Carbon Fiber towers by being lighter enables them to be erected in such locations.
Wireless Communications Infrastructure Monitoring
With the heavy investment being made to put up tower sites it is important that the tower infrastructure is maintained, secure and has maximal uptime. By implementing AKCP’s remote cell tower monitoring solution for telecom towers you can control access to sites, shelters and cabinets, integrate access control together with video surveillance and ensure that all systems are operating efficiently with power monitoring. Fuel for backup generators can be monitored for usage, theft and compared against fuel delivery billings. Environmental conditions with the shelter can be monitored and controlled. Temperature sensitive equipment is protected by AKCP temperature and humidity sensors, linked to sensor controlled relays to control HVAC systems.
With AKCess Pro Server, the innovative central monitoring software from AKCP all remote tower sites, wireless communications infrastructure systems, security, video surveillance and access control can be administered from centralized location for multiple sites on a regional, national or even international basis.