The product development project for the new field transmission tower of Fingrid Oyj, the Finnish electricity transmission system operator, has been awarded the Fennia Prize 2012 in industrial design. The new field tower model was developed in co-operation with design agency Muotohiomo. The award-winning tower is a double-circuit structure for 400 kV and 110 kV transmission lines.
Fennia Prize is an international design competition for companies. Its objective is to support the production of high-quality products and services and to promote industrial competitiveness and international expansion. The international competition is organized by Design Forum Finland and insurance company Fennia. Design Forum Finland is a design promotion organization in charge of the practical implementation of the competition and for the exhibition related to the prize.
The jury commended Fingrid for the use of design in an innovative and open-minded manner as part of an indispensable infrastructure. The design language of the field tower is minimalist and timeless. The end product has a direct impact on the quality of the environment. The construction and design principles of the tower are freely available to be applied and utilized by other electricity transmission companies.
The idea for the design of the field tower came from feedback received from landowners. Fingrid wanted to find a tower model that causes a minimum of hindrance to work carried out in the vicinity of transmission line towers.
“The challenge was to accomplish an as unobtrusive tower model as possible, while at the same time one that would be inexpensive to manufacture in series. We wanted to find a new perspective to traditional transmission line design, which is why we turned to Muotohiomo,” says Fingrid’s Executive Vice President Kari Kuusela in commenting on the project.
“Fingrid’s assignment was a very interesting design task, since the new field tower must fulfill stringent safety and structural requirements, and at the same time provide a meaningful whole in terms of agriculture and landscape architecture,” says Pekka Toivanen, managing director of Muotohiomo.
Fingrid has used industrial designers for the design of unique landscape towers even before. This time, the objective was to find a solution for an everyday situation: a tower model to be used in cultivated fields in normal power line construction, enabling work to be carried out close to the tower.
“The acceptability of transmission lines as part of the landscape and listening to stakeholders have always been important issues to us. Now the award-winning field tower model is obtaining a ‘little brother’, as we are currently studying a similar solution for 110 kV transmission lines,” Kari Kuusela says.
The field tower was presented to landowners for the first time at the Farmari exhibition in Pori last year by means of brochures, photographs and a scale model. The new tower model differs from the ordinary tower in that the new tower has no guys, or support wires. In this way, agricultural machinery can be operated more easily right next to the tower.
The height of the tower is in the same range as that of a conventional 400 kV tower, where the upper crossarm is at a height of 31 to 35 m. Protective structures surrounding the legs of the new tower prevent potential collisions with the legs. In this way, soil can be worked quite close to the tower. Since the new towers have no guys, weeding problems in the surroundings are also significantly reduced.
The foundations of the tower are composed of two prefabricated concrete sections joined together. Each part weighs 3 tons. The four-legged tower is anchored to the ground using foundations of 24 tons. Separate concreting work is not required, as the entire foundation is built from prefabricated sections.
The field towers will primarily be used in the construction of new transmission lines in field areas. They can also be erected on existing lines in conjunction with the replacement of a line or some its towers. The field towers will be used for the first time on the transmission line between Nurmijärvi, Hyvinkää and Hikiä in Southern Finland. A model tower will be erected near the Hyvinkää housing fair area in early 2013.
The field tower is presented in the Fennia Prize 2012 exhibition at the Valssaamo section of Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki from 8 June to 19 August 2012.