CELLTECH specializes in concealing cell towers and antennas. While people want cell service everywhere, they don’t want to see towers. The company slogan is “We’re everywhere you don’t see us.”
Concealment traditionally has been disguising towers as pine trees or cacti, or hiding antennas behind screens that resemble church steeples or panels that blend in with a building’s architecture in some way. “We’ve done buildings where we’ve matched artistic architectural features, because we want our site to disappear. We don’t want it to stick out,” says CELLTECH President and Chief Executive Officer Esteban DuPont.
Increasingly, municipalities want to see something more aesthetically pleasing, he tells Inside Towers. One recent project he’s excited about is called Birds on Blue. It’s a way of disguising a 65-foot monopole with two carriers attached to it for Crown Castle. CELLTECH worked with two artists, Sandy McDaniel and Ron Picard, to make the site a reality. Crown Castle needed to stay within its current footprint for the site which is located within Caltrans right-of-way (ROW) in San Diego.
“A lot of the component parts had not been done before,” said DuPont, adding “We had to figure out how to make the bird sculptures and attach them.” The site consists of a pole, new stand-off arms, new flanged outriggers, and blue fabric that covers a fiberglass frame with white birds. The structure is designed to withstand 125 mile-per-hour winds. The vinyl fabric and ink contain UV-inhibitors. CELLTECH also used industrial Velcro fasteners that can withstand high heat and extreme cold for easy removal and replacement.
“The artists were out there with us when we were installing the panels, and placed the birds where they wanted,” said DuPont. The project, now installed for some two months, is under warranty for five years, however the company believes it will last longer than that.
“The site is a good example of what concealment can be,” says DuPont, who envisions doing similar projects for municipalities incorporating a city’s logo or motto, for example. While this project took about five years from conception to completion because it had not been done before, DuPont says his company can cut that time way down — to more like 18 months to two years — about the typical time jurisdictions take to approve a new tower.
Because concealment can easily double the price of a cell tower site, his company is urging clients to get CELLTECH involved earlier in the process “so we can design approvable projects that are more cost effective,” he says. That’s because increasingly, “towns really want something creative.”
CELLTECH can design, fabricate and ship concealment structures all over the U.S; it installs in California, where structures also need to meet seismic code. “Our materials are comprised of 15 percent post-industrial waste and meets LEED requirements. Our product is also 5G compliant,” says DuPont.
Anaheim-based CELLTECH was incorporated in 2006 and has 10 full-time employees. DuPont has been in his current position since 2012; Previously, he was with Novacom Concealment Systems, a company he founded in 2008. DuPont started his career in the Engineering/Land Surveying field in 1988 with Psomas & Assoc.
For more information on CELLTECH, go to: http://www.celltechinc.us
By Leslie Stimson
February 16, 2017