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.
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.