A strong research & development policy

From the invention of prestressed concrete by Eugène Freyssinet in 1928 to connected prestressing in 2020, Freyssinet has never stopped innovating.

Our development work, in collaboration with numerous external partners, is based on two major axes:

  • an active research and development policy, which has produced numerous technological advances and is still making its mark in the world of civil engineering today,
  • our ability to design innovative solutions, adapted to the needs of our customers and the constraints of the projects.

Today, our innovation strategy reflects our ambition: to provide solutions that meet our customers’ needs, and which are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

In the top 50 patent applicants

Soletanche Freyssinet, our parent company, has recently entered the top 50 patent applicants. Between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, 32 patent applications were filed with the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) by the group’s six companies, including 14 patents filed by Freyssinet.

  • 350
    Engineers and technicians dedicated to engineering & technical development
  • 3
    Laboratories and test centers
  • 300
    Active patents worldwide

Innovation is in our DNA. Our companies regularly develop new techniques to meet the needs of our customers. These developments are sometimes accompanied by major innovations that prefigure the construction methods of tomorrow. This is the case of the new 3D concrete printing service inaugurated in Dubai in 2019 by Concreative, a Freyssinet subsidiary.

Jean-Philippe RICARD -  
CEO, Freyssinet

Our main research areas


Pushing the limits of materials

For example, our work on UHPFRC (Ultra-High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete), which is more durable and about three times stronger than ordinary concrete; and the increased performance of our cable-stay systems with 2160 MPa strands compared with an average of 1860 MPa at present, make it possible to create ever lighter and stronger structures.

Developing new processes

Particularly in our repair activities, to increase productivity. For example, mastering the formulation of UHPFRC and developing specific equipment to apply on site using a spray technique now makes it possible to use high performance concrete on major structures without the need for formwork.



Protecting structures

The protection of steel against corrosion (by sea salt, pollution, infiltration, etc.) is a subject of permanent research: for example, the upgraded protection of our stay cable anchorages and prestressing cables, the improvement of the quality of the ducts, the formulation of injection grouts with a low water content, etc.

Repairing and extending the life of existing structures

The ageing of structures is generating a growing need for renovation, and innovation is playing a new role in this field: various techniques for repairing and protecting concrete, wood and steel, treatment of reinforcement bars, development of high-density carbon fiber fabrics and associated fast-setting resins compatible with the constraints of rapid return to traffic, new processes for lifting or replacing structural elements, etc.

Increasing the life span of new structures

Our prestressing and cable-stay systems are now designed for a life span of 100-120 years, depending on the environment. We are also seeking to extend the life of our bearing devices with new low friction and low wear sliding materials that can support ever higher loads, and to facilitate their maintenance. We are also working on two-in-one solutions integrating structural reinforcement and cathodic protection.



Freyssinet is acutely aware of the responsibility that the construction industry has to reduce its carbon emissions as part of the global effort to avoid the predicted climate crisis.
We adopted the Sustainable Technology tagline more than a decade ago and we continue to consider that our key technologies inherently benefit the planet by reducing materials, concrete and steel in particular, increasing efficiency and avoiding costly reconstruction.
We are working to quantify and reduce our impact on embodied CO2 and strongly favour environmentally friendly solutions that reduce material use or wastage and increase sustainability of site implementation and logistics.
Examples of this focus are our recent development of non-cementitious geopolymer grouts and our long-term vision for 3D printed high performance concrete.


Digital transformation

Facilitating interactions with our customers

With for example simpler and more complete access to our offers and solutions, including BIM models or a TFC reinforcement calculator, as can be seen on this website.

Digitizing our construction solutions

An emblematic example is our “Connected PT” technology, which allows us to record in real time the entire prestressing process, with respect to cable forces and strand extensions. We plan to extend these controls and recordings to grouting, which is a key quality factor in prestressing technology today.

Digitizing our sites

In particular their management and productivity monitoring.

Providing remote monitoring of the maintenance of structures

Thanks to virtual reality, carrying out non-intrusive examinations, using drones…

Cable-stayed structures: the latest advances in our flagship technology

Life span of the structure: adapting our anchors to steel strands at 2160 MPa when the current standard is 1860 MPa, improving the efficiency of dampers, inventing new anti-vibration solutions.
Safety in cold areas: integrating de-icing systems into the stays to prevent snow and ice from accumulating at heights and to prevent dangerous ice falls on the deck (in Canada, Northern Europe, Russia, etc.).
Protection against fire, explosions, vandalism: protecting the stays, for example in case of a vehicle fire on the deck.
Aesthetics: offering LED lighting solutions to make cable-stayed bridges more spectacular.
Recycling (when replacing the stays): imagining industrial solutions to separate the steel cables from their ducts to recycle or reuse the steel.

Innovative solutions for our customers

Innovations in the field

Innovation is not only born in the research laboratories, but also in the field. Each project is a unique challenge, with its own constraints (safety, climate, geology, schedule, access, etc.), which we meet with our resources:

  • our strong engineering capacity at all levels of the organization: in our subsidiaries, within our Technical Department or our industrial unit (Freyssinet Products Company),
  • our culture, which promotes imagination and risk-taking, and which pushes our teams to think laterally and use their ingenuity,
  • our customer-centered approach: designing specific and relevant solutions to meet our clients’ needs.

Transposing the benefits of a product into a new field

Initially developed to increase the durability and resistance of suspension bridges, Cohestrand® cable, which is strong and durable, has been selected by architects and project owners for some stadium cable roofs, such as the Commonwealth stadium roof in India (photo opposite), Minsk stadium in Belarus or the BC Place stadium in Vancouver (for the back stays).


Commonwealth stadium roof - India

Imagining new applications

In the United Kingdom, the cable-stay technology used in bridges was used for the first time to reinforce a North Sea oil platform in the harshest of marine climates. The modular design and high durability cables were used to stiffen the platform under wave loading to increase the steel fatigue life and bring improved comfort for the ‘residents’. Prefabrication of the 200 strand / 5,000 tonne capacity cables was a world first and was the key technology to avoid early decommissioning.

Transferring a technology to a new market

In France, our teams had the idea of proposing the prestressing technique, usually used in large structures, for the renovation of balconies and railings of buildings. This initiative has enabled Freyssinet France to become a major player on this niche.
Similarly, collaboration with Soletanche Bachy, another company of the group, has led us to extend the use of prestressing to the field of diaphragm walls. This is a recent and promising innovation, which will bring material optimization together with productivity and durability improvements.

The various innovation processes at work at Freyssinet feed off each other and enrich our expertise incrementally, for the benefit of our clients worldwide. We have built digital knowledge-sharing platforms that are fed by a thousand engineers in the field, in our design offices or on construction sites. Our innovation dynamic is based on a true culture of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and experience.

Major Projects Director of Freyssinet

Innovation portfolio

Discover our latest major innovations through different case studies
Innovation portfolio