DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

WOOD IS A SOLID CHOICE

Posted by Melissa Hines on Jul 18, 2016 11:32:11 AM

A majority of the 54 million crossarms, which sit at the top of 60 million utility poles in the U.S. are made of wood. Wooden crossarms have been around for decades. Most utilities and lineman are very familiar with it and know how to properly use and handle the product.Since 1965, DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions has been the premier supplier of these wood distribution crossarms, pleasing clients with our manufacturing and treating processes. We’re proud to supply the utility industry with our superior products. 

Wood crossarms have a number of benefits, which has made them the most popular choice of the utility industry. Wood is reliable, cost-effective, and has shorter lead times than other materials, which is great for tight construction schedules or emergencies. Wood is also flexible and can be easily modified in the field. DIS-TRAN has pioneered new techniques to make our wood products even more reliable. Our Pentachlorophenol wood treatment solutions are the best in the business and ensure the longevity of your crossarms. Plus, our complete line of Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine distribution crossarms always meet the latest industry specifications – whether ANSI, Edison Electric Institute, USDA-RUS, or your own requirements.Wood_Distribution.jpg

Our commitment to product innovation has helped us maintain our leading position in the crossarm industry. In 2008, we expanded our product line to offer wood transmission assemblies for H-Frame structures, along with the associated hardware. In 2010, DIS-TRAN introduced the DURA-ARM, a crossarm with factory installed galvanized steel end plates that improve the strength of the arm for longitudinal and transverse loading. These plates also eliminate end splits that may develop as the crossarm ages. The result is a longer life expectancy for the crossarm and long-term cost savings for you. Our commitment to innovation is what has allowed us to outshine the competition with products that have shorter lead times, extended life expectancies and greater value.

DIS-TRAN is proud to have been providing wood distribution crossarms to the utility industry for over 50 years, using state of the art machinery and best practice processes. We manufacture all of our materials through our facilities with a focus on safety, quality, and being the best in the industry. As Seth Godin said, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Our customers continue to love and trust our tested and true wood product line, and we continue to construct and innovate our wood crossarms. If you’re interested in learning more about DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions, visit us online at distranoverheadsolutions.com.

 

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Tags: wood transmission assemblies, crossarms, transmission, penta, wood crossarm

DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions: A History of Innovation, Expansion and Commitment to the Environment

Posted by Melissa Hines on Jul 6, 2016 11:44:33 AM

America’s strength comes from its connectivity, and the utility industry has grown consistently to keep America connected. Stringent environmental regulations on the industry vary by local, state, and federal jurisdictions, and can make delivering high quality products that are also compliant a challenge. DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions has met that challenge and has been satisfying the overhead needs of the U.S. utility industry since 1965 with our environmentally friendly line of distribution crossarms, ground wire molding, wood transmission arms and assemblies, and the new Ultravex™ composite crossarm.

As the U.S. telecommunications industry began to connect cities and states across the country, the need for safe, sound, and environmentally conscious products to support those utilities arose. Over the past 50 years, the needs of the industry and the environmental requirements levied on it have changed, and through DIS-TRAN’s expansion across the U.S. and new product development, we’ve stayed ahead of these challenges since our humble beginnings.

Joe T. Robison founded DIS-TRAN in 1965 in Alexandria, LA. He first began his business ventures out of the trunk of his car. Working is his father’s hardware store while growing up, Mr. Robison learned the basic principles of building and operating a successful business: Honesty, Integrity, Product Knowledge and Quality Service. Instilling these principles into his company’s culture, his business has expanded into a group of world class companies serving the electric utility and electrical contractor industries.

In the early years, DIS-TRAN’s product line included Douglas fir distribution crossarms. DIS-TRAN supplied these crossarms to local utilities in Louisiana and throughout the southeast. In 1980, DIS-TRAN moved to its’ current location in Pineville, LA and began offering Southern Yellow Pine distribution crossarms.  DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions expanded to a second location in Vancouver, WA in 2006. This new location allowed us to expand our reach into the Pacific Northwest. With a two-coast production facility model, DIS-TRAN is able to deliver with quick lead times and greater efficiency.  Untitled_design_10.jpg

In 2008, we expanded our product offering once again to better serve our customers. We began manufacturing wood transmission products, including x-braces, vee and knee braces, tension braces and double arm assemblies. DIS-TRAN introduced the new patent pending Ultravex™ composite crossarm in early 2016.  This new product has revolutionized the market with its cutting edge design.

With our commitment to the environment, new product development, and expansion across the U.S., DIS-TRAN is the company dedicated to responsibly and innovatively supporting America’s utility growth. DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions’ vision is focused on always serving the high voltage industry by continuously providing for their most important needs. We enjoy relationships today that were established in 1965 and every year thereafter. It is our mission to continue to build on this great history as we move towards the future. Our commitment to excellence has allowed us to grow into a premier manufacturing company serving the utility industry’s overhead needs. Follow DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay informed about all the ways our company is innovating in an environmentally conscious way.

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Tags: utility industry, wood transmission assemblies, crossarms, wood crossarm, composite, composite crossarm

What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Storm Response

Posted by Brooke Barone on Jun 19, 2013 5:01:00 PM

Within the past two decades, studies have shown that utilities have significantly improved their storm response performance while cutting the duration of storm outages and increasing the rate in which power is being restored.  

As with most things, storm response has improved through experience.  For example, past storms can be very useful in improving a utility’s logistics.  In the case of crossarms, truckloads are often divided among different service locations.  It is important to have a good idea of the usage at each location to properly divide truckloads.  With properly divided trucks, all crews can be kept supplied with the proper amount of crossarms, rather than having a portion of the repair crews supplied with more than they need, while other crews wait on a truck that may not arrive until the next day.

While utilities are constantly improving techniques and processes for quick recovery, many are quick to criticize the restoration efforts.  Customers should remember that every situation is different, and it’s difficult to follow one set of rules. It is, however, crucial for utilities to have constant communication with their customers and communities, because let’s face it- we are addicted to electricity…and social media.

Customers without electricity should also remember that utility companies have a set priority to restoring electricity:

1. Emergency services:  hospitals, fire stations, police, and first aid

2. Circuits serving the largest area of customers

3. Individual homes and businesses

According to a study conducted in 2003 by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), four things stand out about the progress of utility storm response:

  • The rate at which utilities are able to restore power to customers following a major storm event has improved.
  • The average number of days required to complete restoration efforts has decreased.
  • While the number of restoration workers deployed has decreased, the number of customers restored per worker has increased.
  • Recent storms do not appear to have been any more or less severe, based on equipment damage. 
In a more recent study by EEI, completed in January 2013, they suggested two main solutions to combating and mitigating storm damage and outages: system hardening and resiliency measures.

System Hardening, as defined by EEI, is physical changes to the utility’s infrastructure to make it less susceptible to storm damage, with the hardening improving durability and stability of transmission and distribution infrastructure, allowing the system to withstand the impacts of severe weather events with minimal damage. 

Resiliency, defined by EEI, refers to the ability of utilities to recover quickly from damage to any of its facilities’ components or to any of the external systems, not necessarily preventing damage, but enabling electric facilities to continue operating despite damage.

Wood Transmission Assembly

EEI Hardening Measures:

  • Undergrounding- eliminate poles and bury distribution lines underground to shield them from severe weather events.
  • Higher Design and Construction Standards- elevate substations and other vulnerable facilities that are susceptible to flooding, and hardening measures for pole designs to withstand high winds and mitigate widespread outages.
  • Smart Grid- although this technology is still being developed, it would allow the system to detect outages and remotely reroute electricity to undamaged circuits and feeders.
  • Microgrid- still in study phase, but this idea is that it functions as an isolatable distribution network, usually connected to one or more distributed generation sources that connect s and disconnects from the main grid in times of widespread outages.
  • Advanced Technology- various mapping technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Automated Mapping Facilities Management (AM/FM).

EEI Resiliency Measures:

  • Shared or Contract Labor Force- secure enough crew members in preparation for major weather events in advance.
  • Standby Equipment- such as strategic alliances or material consignment, equipped trucks, GPS devices and also secure enough fuel for service trucks.
  • Restoration Materials- adequate backup restoration supplies such as poles, wires, transformers and other components that are easily obtained through contracts with suppliers.
  • Enhanced Communication, Planning & Coordination- make sure to have pre-staging areas and staging areas set up in advance, also have a single point of contact who communicates updates and information to customers, communities and crew members.
  • Advanced Technologies- Outage Management Systems are used to detect and report reliability issues, also infrared scanning for surface and airborne damage assessment. 
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Tags: wood transmission assemblies, substations, utilities, crossarms, storm response, Eddison Electric Institute, smart grid

More than just Standard Steel Poles...

Posted by Brooke Barone on Sep 20, 2012 10:07:00 AM

Aerial view of our plant in Pineville, LAIt’s always hard when you’re first starting out and trying to establish yourself and your company, but with perseverance and an appetite for success, growth is inevitable.

In the beginning, DIS-TRAN only manufactured standard shape steel structures; however, we were always in need of steel poles. We established a great relationship with a company here in Louisiana who we purchased our steel poles from until a larger company came in and bought them out and shut their plant down. This forced us to reach out to other companies across the country.

Right around this time, in the late 90’s, cell phones were rapidly catching on and cellular towers were going up everywhere. Contractors were purchasing tons of steel pole capacities, so it became very hard for us to get service. One of the problems that we ran into was that we would ship the structural steel out to a site, but then have to wait a month or so for the steel poles to arrive. We all know how that story ended-with unhappy customers.

So, in 1995, DIS-TRAN decided to open up its own steel pole shop and dabble into the market. With only 12 employees in the beginning, it was a huge learning curve, but as the industry grew and became more advanced, so did DIS-TRAN.

DIS-TRAN Steel Pole and DIS-TRAN Steel Fabrication were two separate companies at first, but after we realized we were doubling our internal workload, we decided to merge the two in 2010 to become what is now DIS-TRAN Steel, LLC. In 2006, DIS-TRAN Steel Pole and DIS-TRAN Steel Fab had 149 employees total, and now, six years later, DIS-TRAN Steel has more than doubled that number to 321.

Over the years, we’ve realized that there are some misconceptions about the capabilities of DIS-TRAN Steel since we initially started off just manufacturing steel structures. But we can also design, detail, fabricate and deliver tapered tubular steel structures for the utility industry. 

Our engineering and detailing capabilities allow DIS-TRAN Steel to pursue and be involved in highly technical design projects. With 18 in-house detailers and 10 engineers, including 4 Licensed Professional Engineers (P.E.), we can design any steel structure for the utility industry, whereas some of our competitors require shop-ready drawings.

Whether they are pre-engineered poles, engineered transmission poles or taper tubular substation structures, DIS-TRAN Steel can fabricate it. As one of our guys says, we can design steel structures with as little information as a stick figure on a napkin to fully-detailed drawings because of our in-house expertise and resources.

The investment we have made in our employees goes hand-in-hand with the investment that we have made at our plant, with 4 expansions in 16 years. Customers are always surprised when they tour our plant in Pineville, LA because of how large and advanced it really is. It’s not just this little fabrication shop tucked away in the swamps.

Our state-of-the-art facility is just as large as any other steel fabricating facility in the U.S., sitting on about 60 acres with 300,000 square feet under roof manufacturing space. Some of our most prized possessions at our plant include a fully automated 2500 ton, 60 foot Press Brake with a one-of-a-kind automation software package that our plant operators actually helped design. We also have in-house high definition plasma cutters, robotic welding systems, CNC controlled seam welders and CNC punches for standard shapes.

Something that also surprises many is that we can also supply wood transmission arm assemblies and distribution crossarms through our sister company DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC. DIS-TRAN Wood Products has two fabricating facilities, one in Pineville and the other in Vancouver, WA.

Throughout the years, DIS-TRAN has made the investment to meet the demands of the growing industry, and has made sure to keep up as the elite supplier, consistently providing the highest quality products.

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Tags: steel structures, utility industry, wood transmission assemblies, DIS-TRAN Steel, tapered tubular steel poles, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, wood distribution poles, pre-engineered poles, transmission poles, standard shape steel structures

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