In Partnership with Cellnex – One year celebrations

Here at Delmec, we understand that synergy shapes success, so we’re pleased to share in our partner Cellnex Ireland’s celebrations as they toast one year since their acquisition of Cignal. It’s one more exciting milestone for a business that first began with the purchase of 300 towers from Coillte Ireland.

Cellnex, the parent company, is now Europe’s leading independent operator of wireless telecommunications infrastructure, with a total portfolio of over 60,000 sites. In Ireland, their work helps to support mobile, fixed wireless broadband communications and broadcast services.

Delmec has long been a trusted partner of Cellnex: we’ve worked on the Cignal portfolio since 2015, supplying a wide range of services over the years, including maintenance, rectification and optimisation. One of our most rewarding tasks has been creating additional capacity on existing structures while minimising the impact on existing tenants.

Streetworks Solutions

Our work with Cellnex involves drawing on our engineering heritage too. In partnership with Cellnex, Delmec designs, manufactures and installs a range of exclusive streetworks structures for its growing portfolio. Through the efforts of our talented teams, we’ve supplied 152 structures in the past 18 months, ranging from 66m high capacity towers to 12m street works solutions. Bringing these specialist projects from concept to reality involves the close collaboration of our companies, our colleagues and our diverse engineering team.

Like all our partners, from towercos to network operators, Cellnex trusts us to provide creative solutions to their toughest challenges. Our streetworks programme is a careful choreography of structural, electrical, radio and transmission disciplines. Cellnex’s requirements are first translated into a three-dimensional design. The structure and its discreet root foundation are then subjected to a finite element analysis by our engineering team before being committed to steel by our craftsmen and women. Meanwhile, our skilled active works team design a fully integrated radio equipment solution combining AC& DC power, optical fibre and wireless backhaul and a force ventilated radio enclosure. The beauty in this solution is in how little of it is visible to the general public as it’s packaged in the smallest form factor feasible.

The solution’s active and passive elements are assembled and tested in our factory, allowing our on-site team to carry out the final install quickly and effectively, with minimal disruption to the general public. The result is a simple, neat addition to the streetscape, with every nut, bolt and cable helping to improve our national telecommunications network

A Busy Year, More To Come!

Cellnex’s first year in Ireland has been a busy one, but there is much more to come: they’ve got plans to invest an additional €60m to build up to 600 new sites by 2026. Delmec will continue to be a key partner to this ground-breaking company, helping them fulfil their mission of supporting the increased high-speed wireless broadband in rural areas and helping mobile phone operators address coverage blackspots. We’re working together to connect communities, from 2015 to 2020, and for many years ahead.


TowerXchange Forum on Drones & Digital Twins

Delmec proudly sponsored the latest TowerXchange Data Collection & Utilisation Working Group forum, focusing on ‘The Application of Drones and Digital Twins’. The popular event, which took place on the 17th September, brought together leading stakeholders from around the world to drive enhanced data strategy within the global tower industry. 

Participants gathered to examine the potential of drones and digital twins, discussing their projected evolutions and asking ‘what promise do they hold, what limitations still exist and are towerco data sets ready to get the most out of them?’

Key Findings

A number of key findings were highlighted by the TowerXchange team, who found that the use of drones in the TowerCo industry is inevitable. While the technology’s capabilities are still being reviewed, those companies already using drones found the data to be good, if not better than that obtained through conventional techniques.

Damien Kelly – Delmec’s Head of Engineering and Innovation – spoke at the event, sharing his expertise and experience with the audience. He emphasised the importance of data in crafting client solutions, particularly with regard to Capex reduction and more efficient overall portfolio management. Drone technology offers many benefits in the collection of data and may also pay for itself in the long run. “Predictive maintenance is a clear advantage of using drones,” Damien said. “This can also act as a strong metric to calculate the ROI of using this technology.”

He cautioned that drone technology isn’t yet the answer to all TowerCo challenges, though. “Using drones in favour of current processes needs to be thoroughly thought out due to the vastly different capabilities when compared to the standard approach,” he noted, pointing out that regulation is a major limitation cited by TowerCos when it comes to using drones on their sites.

Analysing more important than Visualising

For the most part, analysing is more important than visualising; by themselves, drone images offer very little, but the ability to index, search and interpret the data is potentially game-changing. Suppliers offer varying capabilities in this regard – some are involved in simple data capture, others develop platforms to support their drones’ usage, and some even add a layer of artificial intelligence.

It’s important to choose carefully when selecting suppliers, as companies have different strengths. While the technology is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, tower owners strongly advocate for standardisation and open formats to enable wider choice and enhanced flexibility in the supply chain. It was also noted that Building Information Modelling standards are likely to become the norm in the tower infrastructure space.

For many towercos, the platforms’ immaturity and the challenge of their integration are key barriers to the introduction of digital twin technology. Most companies are currently keeping digital twin data separate from other data pools, but integration is important going forward and inevitably, operations will need to adjust their workflow to adapt to this. Complete, reliable and well-organised baseline data will be vital in fulfilling the potential offered by this technology.

Additionally, some companies cite uncertain ROI as giving them pause for thought, even as the industry has identified a number of clear use cases. This concern will likely fade as more use cases emerge. One such example is monetising the data that was initially collected for internal purposes: other operations, including those outside of the industry, may be willing to contribute to the technology’s cost in return for access to the information obtained by drones.

Smart Solutions

Delmec’s renowned infrastructure management skills enable clients to optimise value from their tower assets, and as a result the team are actively involved in utilising cutting-edge technology to bolster this key service. We will continue to explore the application of drone and digital twin technologies within our field, engaging with leading technology experts around the world to create smart solutions to our clients’ toughest challenges.