“This project is fascinating! It shows how art and engineering come together to turn a prosaic structure into an exhilarating experience,” says Aarni Heiskanen, a construction expert and member of the BIM Awards jury that selected the winner of the 2020 Tekla Global BIM Awards.
The Russian steel design and manufacturing company Belenergomash won the Best Small Project category with its work on a transmission tower with a unique look and feel. Electricity transmission towers are typically steel lattice structures that look much the same the world over. But there are examples of these towers done differently, such as the one found in the Russian city of Belgorod.
Set on the banks of the Vezelka river, the tower is a striking design comprising the two main elements of Belgorod’s coat of arms: a silver eagle with its wings spread and a yellow lion on its hind legs. It was built as part of a broader project to improve the city's infrastructure for citizens and tourists alike, including reconstructing sections of two 110 kV overhead lines. Standing at 26.3 meters in height, the tower both lights up the city and brings its skyline to life.
Tekla Structures at the core
The tower was designed and manufactured by Belenergomash, a subsidiary of Russian steel giant OMK. Prominent examples of their work include the Lakhta Center skyscraper in St. Petersburg and steel fabrication for five 2018 FIFA World Cup stadiums. The company has also made other transmission towers in interesting designs: one in the shape of a pair of soccer players, and the other in the shape of a skier (for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi).
Belenergomash has some 3600 employees, with almost a third of them working on designing and producing steel constructions. The company has used Tekla Structures for this work since 2008.
“We use Tekla software to design steel structures and concrete foundations. Tekla also helps us to create design schemes for calculations,” says Dmitry Dolzhenkov, a Tekla Support Specialist at Belenergomash.
“We use Tekla Structures for a lot of our work, including steel detailing, drawing parts, creating assembly plans, and exporting DSTV files to our workshop,” he says. “And it’s not just our manufacturing people who use the software; our technologists, planners and salespeople all use the Tekla model in their work. We rely on Tekla at all stages of production. The software also has great interoperability with other programs used by our customers to calculate loads and requirements.”
Accurate design, quick construction
The Belenergomash team worked quickly to get the Belgorod transmission tower done during the first half of 2019 so it could be officially taken into use on August 5th – the city’s annual day of celebration. Design work kicked off in February, the steel was modeled through May and manufactured in June, and the structure was erected in July.
The steel for the tower weighs 33 tons and comprises more than 5800 separate parts. These are joined together through an almost equal number of bolted joints, and the entire structure is installed on a foundation of 91 cubic meters of reinforced concrete. The steel is protected from corrosion through a hot-dip galvanizing technique.
“Due to our trust in the precision of elements produced and assembled in Tekla Structures, our factory did not need to do any assembly testing on the transmission tower parts prior to their delivery to the site,” says Dolzhenkov.
“We exported the IFC Model from Tekla with additional properties, and the on-site team used Trimble Connect to identify assemblies and bolt groups for quick installation,” he says. “Thanks to the accuracy of the model and its parts, the on-site team was able to work quickly to get the structure up and running. There were no additional queries about our assembly plan.”
“Due to our trust in the precision of elements produced and assembled in Tekla Structures, our factory did not need to do any assembly testing on the transmission tower parts prior to their delivery to the site.”
Dmitry Dolzhenkov, a Tekla Support Specialist at Belenergomash
“We enjoy working with the world’s best BIM software for steel structures, especially for unique, complex geometry projects,” says Dolzhenkov. “This was the first time we participated in the Tekla BIM Awards and we are proud of the high marks the jury gave our project.”