DIS-TRAN Steel Blog


Posted by Melissa Hines on Jun 27, 2016 9:07:44 AM


For decades, the utility industry has relied on wood and steel to form the infrastructure that delivers services to customers. While wood and steel have been good choices for many companies, there are new materials emerging that could redefine the industry. Composite materials represent viable alternatives that could shape the future of utility distribution and transmission.

Today, a scientifically engineered material entering the market has the potential to upend wood and steel’s long held dominance within the utility space. Composites represent a new generation of materials and are being hailed as a game-changer for the industry. DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions leads the way in manufacturing composite products that are quickly being adopted for their considerable advantages. Our patent 9546498Ultravex™ composite crossarms showcase why composites are disrupting the utility ecosystem with each deployment.OhC0Oqiest1453762472.jpg

Composites are non-conductive, light, durable and readily installed for recovery efforts from extreme weather events. Their small footprint allows them to be easily transported, making them the most attractive option for use in remote locations with difficult access. Their service life exceeds that of wood counterparts as they are resistant to rot, corrosion, pests and fire, all while offering superior UV protection. The high dielectric strength of composites renders them the safest choice for live-line installations and maintenance, and reduces potential touch and step hazards. Furthermore, composites are proven to be environmentally sustainable since they are made of non-leaching material and contain no soil remediation.

Though the material may seem futuristic, composite transmission poles were first installed in Maui, Hawaii in 1962. These fiber-reinforced structures lasted nearly 45 years, and replaced wood and steel poles that had suffered degradation and corrosion due to the island’s warm, moist and salty air. More recently, the destruction of 60,000 wooden poles by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 revealed the critical problems of aging and overload within the utility infrastructure. As a result, many in the industry are turning to composites as they provide improved reliability during major storm events, leading to reduced power outages and faster service restoration.

Reduced maintenance and associated costs stands out as one of composites’ most attractive features. The surface of composite poles is too slick for woodpeckers and squirrels to grab hold of. This feature decreases expensive, critter-induced outages to virtually zero. Unlike wood, composites do not lose strength as they age, further reducing maintenance. And since they are hollow, copper wiring can be stored inside of poles – and out of sight of potential thieves. 

Several states near the Gulf Coast are in the process of incorporating composites into their utility infrastructure as a way of improving hurricane preparedness and upgrading current services. The Ultravex™ composite crossarm from DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions makes an excellent addition to a utility’s composite expansion. Our full gallery of premium distribution and transmission products can meet any need. Visit us at www.distranoverheadsolutions.com and let us know how we can assist you. Dowload our UltravexTM loading tables and find out which crossarm will work best for your next project.


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD UltravexTM Deadend & Tangent Loading Tables



Tags: utility industry, utilities, crossarms, fiberglass, composites, composite crossarm


Posted by Melissa Hines on Jun 20, 2016 11:30:00 AM

It all started in 1965, when DIS-TRAN began supplying wood distribution crossarms to a group of utilities in the Southeastern US. Then in 2008, we changed the game by expanding our product line to offer wood transmission assemblies for H-Frame structures and their associated hardware. Now we’re back at it again, revolutionizing the market with our new fiberglass Ultravex™ composite crossarm that’s in a league of its own.

Never before has the power utilities industry seen anything as bold and innovative as the Ultravex™. It’s cutting-edge design allows for one 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” sized crossarm to be used for both tangent and deadend applications. Although the UltravexTM is small, it has been engineered to hold large loads. But that’s just the start of what the Ultravex™ can do thanks to its advanced, patent pending technology.

The Ultravex™ is designed so that it’s slightly domed on all four sides. This unique construction along with a circular inner core not only gives the Ultravex™ unmatched strength, but also allows water and debris to drain easily, reducing tracking issues and minimizing contaminant build-up. The product’s small dimensions and creative shape make it adaptable to various situations and loadings, and allows for a reduction in inventories of arms and hardware components necessary for their application.

The Ultravex™ comes with three layers of UV protection to shield it from the punishing sun and extend its lifecycle. An outer veil protects the arm from UV rays and is abrasion resistant. A UV resistant mat situated between the outer veil and the fiberglass-resin mixture also contains UV inhibiting features. If that wasn’t enough, an inner mat surrounds the foam core and provides a third layer of protection. In addition to safeguards against the sun, the fiberglass Ultravex™ is fire resistant, insect proof, and woodpecker proof, making it virtually immune to the nuisances that plague standard wood crossarms.

ultravex-breakout.jpgIn the electrical utilities space there’s nothing more dangerous than downed power lines. There is also nothing more important than restoring power to consumers in a timely manner once the lines are down. This seemingly unavoidable event can result from vehicular collisions, strong storms, or some other interaction with Mother Nature. But the Ultravex™ will not drop the conductor in the event of a failure making this a potentially lifesaving feature. In fact, a failed Ultravex™ composite crossarm is so strong that it can be reloaded, and still have a residual load carrying capability in the 2,000-4,000 lb. range, which is more than what a common 8 foot wood crossarm can bear. Check out our Ultravex™ strength demo.

UltravexTM composite crossarms are REA approved!!! Our arms are available for use on Sytems of USDA RUS Borrowers, Pub 202-1 for item "g" - Fiberglass Tangent Crossarms and item "gj" Fiberglass Deadend Assemblies.

With the introduction of the Ultravex™ composite crossarm, DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions cements its status as the leader in premium overhead products. The Ultravex™ is engineered to be our safest, most durable crossarm ever made. We are proud to offer it along with our line of superior wood crossarms and transmission products. Contact us today to see which of our solutions is right for you! You may download a copy of our Ultravex™ White Paper for more information.


Tags: crossarms, wood crossarm, fiberglass, composites, ultravex

Top 8 Questions we get asked about Composite Crossarms

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Apr 20, 2016 1:38:04 PM

DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions announced early this year a new product.  UltravexTM Composite Crossarms are the newest edition to our overhead product line. Since then we have been asked a number of questions in regards to this new product. Yes, we know it not a new concept, but we know that our patent pending product is engineered differently from others in the market today. So let us dig in and answer those common questions.


Top 8 Composite Crossarm Questions

1. What kind of UV Protection does the UltravexTM Composite Crossarm have?

There are 3 layers of UV protection. An outer veil protects the arms from UV and is abrasion resistant; there is UV resistant fiberglass mat that is between the outer veil and the fiberglass / resin mixture. The fiberglass / resin blend also has UV inhibiting features. Then, there is an inner mat of the same material as the outer that is between the foam core and the fiberglass / resin mixture. See our 3D rendition on our website.

2. What hardware is used for the UltravexTM Composite Crossarm?

Standard hardware that is used on your wood crossarms can be used on the Ultravex. Standard washers and bolts will eliminate the need for different hardware. Additionally, 5/8” hardware can be used for both Dead End and Tangent applications. This not only saves weight but reduces cost.

3. What safety aspects does the UltravexTM have?

Resists combustions, the arm will char on the outside but structurally will hold respected load and also self-extinguish. The shape reduces critical flash over rating, non-conductive, and superior electrical insulation. The arm resisted 367 kV and you can see below that it arced through the air instead of conducting through the arm.


4. Since the arm is slightly domed, are special considerations needed for mounting tangent polymer insulators onto the top of the crossarm?

All four surfaces are slightly convex with a max height of 1/16" at the apex. Computing the angle to the apex indicates a 2 degree slope but since the surface is curved there is no sharp apex. There should be no concern about fit of the attaching hardware. The arm will withstand normal bolt loading without damage and there are tests showing the pins fail before damaging the arm.

5. Is it REA approved?

Our official press release was sent out March 23rd 2016 stating that the Ultravex™ Composite Crossarms are now available for use on Systems of USDA RUS Borrowers, Pub 202-1for items:

  • Item “g” Fiberglass Tangent Crossarms
  • Item “gj” Fiberglass Dead-end Assemblies.

6. How do you attach the End Caps?

The end caps are attached to the end of the crossarms by using an industrial strength adhesive that is sourced by an independent company that specializes in adhesives.

7. What happens if the arm fails in the field?

When an UltravexTM Composite crossarm breaks, it still won’t drop the conductor. In fact, after unloading a broken UltravexTM Composite crossarm, you can load it again and it will have a typical residual load carrying capability in the 2,000-4,000 lb. range, which is more than an 8 ft. wood crossarm is even rated for. Intentionally broken during testing, a failed UltravexTM Composite crossarm is shown below. This is a typical failure mode of our arms, shear, and the residual load will hold more than a new wooden crossarm. The arm still has residual load carrying capability after failure and is still holding 3,000lbs as shown below. We have never been able to pull a pin through the arm in independently verified testing. This means the conductor won’t fall to the ground even if something breaks the arm.


8. Where is the UltravexTM arm manufactured?

All engineering, pultruding, filling, assembly and packaging is in in the USA.  We are very proud to say that our product will not be seen outside the United States unless DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions is shipping them there.

 As the new composite crossarm demand grows, we are sure there will be more questions and want to be able to address each and every one. If you would like to submit a question for response you can click below to email us directly or simply comment on this blog post. 

Email Us Directly

We love to hear feedback from our readers and we look forward to hearing from you.


Tags: crossarms, composites, ultravex, REA, composite crossarm

A New Product Line for a New Year @ DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Jan 19, 2016 9:41:00 AM


The New Year brings New Products to DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions.  We are so excited to tell the world about Ultravex™, our newest product line featuring patented, industry-leading technology that sets it apart from the rest.

Ultravex cross arms are designed like no other fiberglass composite arm on the market today.  They are designed from the Inside – Out instead of the traditional method of selecting an industry standard size and determining capabilities. We looked for the most efficient shape and section for providing a unique solution to this industry’s needs.  The unique design and shape of Ultravex fiberglass composites creates a product with superior strength and BIL ratings for Tangent and Dead-end applications not seen in the market today.

5 Things That Set Ultravex™ Crossarms Apart

  • The Ultravex design allows for one 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” sized crossarm to be used for multiple applications.
  • No special hardware is required for assembling Ultravex to the pole or for the hardware to Ultravex.
  • The design and improved wall thickness eliminates the need for inserts.
  • Inventories can be reduced with Ultravex as this crossarm can be used for tangents and dead-end applications due to extremely high strength ratings.
  • Ultravex crossarms are
    • Fire Resistant
    • Woodpecker Proof
    • Insect Proof
    • UV Protected


We know there are mounds of questions and we look forwad to the communication exchage between us and those interested in knowing more about not only Ultravex™ but about all of our product offerings. Not to mention that there is so much more to come.  2016 shows true potential for you as a customer. You may also want to refer back to our Blog Post 8 Major Markets that use Composites.

New Call-to-action

It's your turn.  What questions do you have for DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions?

Tags: composites, ultravex, new products

8 Major Markets That Use Composites

Posted by Melissa Hines on Aug 10, 2015 2:26:00 PM

A World Full of Composites

One might be surprised to find out that composites have become a part of our everyday lives. So what are composites? Composites are formed when two or more materials with different physical and chemical properties are combined to produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components.

Composite material is widely used because it is light weight, high strength, durable, corrosion resistant, nonconductive, low maintenance and allows for design flexibility. In today's market, structures made of composite have a longer life and a higher strength to weight ratio than those made of traditional material. This versatile material is used in such a variety of applications that the overall composite market has to been divided into the following major segments.

  • Aerospace - The aerospace market is one of the largest and most important of the composites industry. Commercial, military and space craft all make substantial use of composite material both inside and out. Some applications of composite on aircrafts include propellers, primary wing and fuselage structures, floor boards and flight control surfaces.
  • Automotive - Composites are being used to make lighter, safer and more fuel efficient vehicles. Composite material can withstand very intense heat and speed and will not rust or corrode like steel or aluminum. The use of composites in vehicles has given the automobile designers free rein, as these materials can be easily molded into any shape or size.
  • Construction/Infrastructure - Composites are used in various architecture and infrastructure applications. Some of these applications include the repair and replacement of roads, bridges and pilings. Homes and offices also use composite material. Bathroom fixtures, swimming pools and wall panels are just a few of the items around your home that may be made of composite.
  • Defense - The military has long used composites in many applications. Some of these applications include fighter jets, helicopters and watercraft. The strength and durability of composite material is perfect for the demanding performance of these applications.
  • Marine - The marine market is deeply penetrated by the composite industry. Yachts, sailboats and naval ships all use some form of composite material. Composites are very suitable for these applications because they can withstand the harsh marine environment.
  • Mass Transit - Trains, buses and subways make extensive use of composites. Many of the air conditioner enclosures, vehicle body panels and interior parts and components found in these modes of transportation are made of composite material. Composites offer overall weight reductions and improved energy effeciency. 
  • Sports and Recreation - Composites used in sporting goods is almost a given these days. Golf clubs, tennis rackets, hockey sticks, fishing poles, canoes and bicycles all benefit from the light weight and high strength of composites. The use of composite material in recreational activities will continue to increase.
  • Energy/Electrical- Composites are being used to make turbine blades, solar panel frames, pole line hardware, substation equipment, utility poles and crossarms. Since composites are nonconductive, this makes them very suitable for electrical products. Composites can also stand up to severe weather and wide changes in temperature making them ideal for the great outdoors.

Composites are all around us. This material builds bridges that won't rust, turns wind into electric power, improves fuel efficiency in cars, trucks and trains, creates recreational options that make our life enjoyable and so much more.

Are there any products you use on a daily basis that are made of composite material? Do you like the way composites are being used in today's market?

New Call-to-Action


Tags: crossarms, cross arms, electrical, composites, pole line hardware, energy, composite, composite material

Subscribe to Email Updates


see all

Recent Posts