tower
cellphone tower. Image source: Cape Town ETC

Wind load is one the most important topics for tower owners, impacting health and safety, CAPEX renewal, build-to-suit, and the tenancy potential for towers.

TowerWing offers a permanent solution to wind loading through their innovative tower shrouding “Streamliner” that cuts wind load on even a heavily loaded tower to less than that of a naked one.

It sounds too good to be true, but with some clever engineering, using some simple aeronautic principles, TowerWing has developed a unique product that could revolutionise how towers are built, operated and leased up. CEO Danie du Toit to speak about the benefits of TowerWing and the next steps for commercialisation.

  • Can you briefly introduce TowerWing and why towercos should be excited by your innovation?

TowerWing™ provides tower operators with a unique opportunity to increase revenue opportunities and return on investment by reducing wind load and structural stress on towers. We provide an innovative solution to overcome wind load restrictions, drag and turbulence. By rotating with the wind, the streamlined design of TowerWing directs wind smoothly around the tower, reducing the pressure exerted by the wind and hence movement of the tower. This, as well as the reduction in turbulence caused by enclosing the antennas, greatly decreases the stress on the structure and its foundations. TowerWing™ improves tower stability and thus network stability, particularly during heavy weather.

  • What is your background? How did you come to develop such a distinct style of tower shroud?

Our success is built on more than 120 years of real-world engineering and design experience covering all aspects of telecommunications, broadcast, and military applications. Our innovative team consists of world–leaders accustomed to designing radical “Out of the box” solutions for overcoming traditional structural Tower design limitations that challenge conventional thinking.

  • What can you share us about your initial trials? Who are you working with and what has been the initial feedback?

We are privileged to be working with one of the leading Mobile Network Operators in Africa on a   Proof-of-Concept project. We appreciate this opportunity to work with them.  We have also had a very positive response from many global MNOs and Towercos to whom we have provided several technical and commercial proposals.

  • Our main audience is towers, but how does TowerWing affect future tower designs?

We are eager to collaborate with Towercos. The main benefit to Towercos is that they are able to offer a solution that includes the TowerWing solution, thereby offering their customers the benefit of increased antenna capacity, smaller foundation, and lighter structure. Here is what one of our Strategic partners, a Tower manufacturer with more than 55 years of experience, has to say:

“We were delighted to be approached by TowerWing to have a closer look at their new TowerWing concept. The company has invested a lot of time and effort in the details with the South African Council of Scientific Research wind tunnels tests and collaboration with experts in the engineering field.  From our own calculations, we found the TowerWing to be a very effective solution in reducing wind load on heavily loaded structures. The TowerWing further creates opportunity for higher revenue in additional advertising solutions. This product could be revolutionary to the telecommunications industry”.

  • How does TowerWing affect the potential maximum loading for towers?

The TowerWing solution requires a radical departure from conventional structural analysis and design thinking. Historically, tower structures were designed based on a requirement for a specified antenna capacity at specific heights on the tower structure. The resulting structure must consider the adverse effects of wind loading on the antennas.

The TowerWing solution is agnostic to this approach since wind loading is eliminated as a restriction and design consideration. With the TowerWing installed, wind loading is less than on a tower with no antennas fitted.  The TowerWing solution facilitates an optimised antenna capacity as the volumetric space inside the TowerWing can be fully utilised for optimal antenna placement, with less emphasis on wind loading limitations. Moreover, the TowerWing solution is modular and scalable and suitable for lattice structures, monopoles, and combination towers.

  • What impact does TowerWing have on access at the top of the tower for maintenance and equipment changes?

Our design team has carefully considered the potential impact on operators and maintenance staff from a Safety and ease of Operations perspective. The TowerWing will enable continued operations and will shield the maintenance crews from environmental conditions (i.e., wind and rain).  The streamliner does not restrict accessibility to the tower and allows technicians to work on the inside of the tower to install or maintain equipment, without restricting movement. The TowerWing structure is strong enough to allow technicians to work on it, creating a safe platform inside.

  • What is the installation process for TowerWing? Does it disrupt the normal operations of the tower?

TowerWing is designed for ease of installation. The modular TowerWing design enables transportation to site without special vehicles and on-site assembly and installation using standard tower access methods. The TowerWing can be installed with no or minimum downtime. Moreover, TowerWing has no influence on radio frequency signals transmitted by antennas.

  • TowerWing changes the aesthetics of the tower in quite a significant way, do you expect impediments to adoption from regulators because of this?

The customisable skin improves tower appearance, while protecting antennas and equipment from the elements. As a responsible organisation we have conducted environmental impact assessments and the first responses have been positive. A secondary revenue stream for Towercos can be realised by selling advertising rights on the skin.

  • What is next for TowerWing? What is your ideal timeline for the next 12-36 months in terms of proof of concept, adoption and scaling?

We are extremely excited about the initial Market response to our ground-breaking technology.

Our focus in the short to medium term will be on strengthening our go-to-market strategy, securing suitable regional roll-out and manufacturing partners, finalising a number of regional pilot projects and exponentially increasing our installed base of TowerWings globally.

Many of the global industry players have confirmed an urgent need. At TowerWing we are poised to support our customers by ensuring complaint tower infrastructure, increased revenue and more efficient utilisation of assets.

From a general society perspective, we are excited to enable more reliable telecoms infrastructure at a time when it is desperately needed.

Making the world a better place, one TowerWing at a time!

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