XTreeE, a France-based specialist in 3D printing concrete and construction, is reportedly working on a new project for a customer in the Caribbean. The project in question—a joint effort by XTreeE, Martinique-based telecoms infrastructure company Art & Fact Innovation and engineering firm Lamoureux & Ricciotti—consists of 3D printing 12-meter-tall telecom towers that blend seamlessly into the environment.
According to Les Echos, XTreeE is currently 3D printing the concrete structures at its facility in Rungis, France using its robotic additive manufacturing system. Eventually, the 12-meter-tall towers will be deployed in Guadeloupe to enable broader access to 5G networks.
Why 3D print the towers instead of using more traditional telecoms infrastructure? In short, to ensure a more aesthetically appealing landscape. That is, XTreeE was enlisted to manufacture the tall structures to avoid dotting the Guadeloupe landscape with unsightly metal communications towers.
As Alain Guillen, general manager of XTreeE, explained, land owners across France are hesitant about implementing 5G infrastructure because of the impact on the landscape. By 3D printing more visually interesting and cohesive towers, the integrity of the countryside and landscape can be preserved.
The 3D printed concrete structures in question are designed to resemble tree trunks and to promote the growth of natural vegetation in order to blend into the natural landscape—or even contribute positively to it. When assembled, the tall 3D printed trunks will hide the intrusive metal telecoms antennas and scaffolding, while still enabling 5G connections.
The project, commissioned by Art & Fact Innovation, will undoubtedly take some time to implement, though we are very curious about the results. What will the 3D printed towers look like when installed? Will the concrete materials impede the 5G connections at all? Will XTreeE 3D print towers for other geographic areas? So many questions!
XTreeE has worked on a number of interesting and innovative projects using its large-scale construction 3D printing technology. Backed by VINCI and Thornton Tomasetti, the 3D printing company was responsible for building a four-meter-tall supportive post for a playground roof in Aix-en-Provence, as well as a concrete storm water collection system, an artificial reef and many other experimental structures.