DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

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

Posted by Melissa Hines on Jul 6, 2016 10:44:33 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

DIS-TRAN Steel Cuts Metal, Not Corners

Posted by DIS-TRAN Steel on Jul 1, 2016 3:00:07 PM

America the GREAT

In celebration of the upcoming July 4th festivities, we thought it appropriate to share why we think it is so important to support and sustain our GREAT Country. HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA...

Manufacturing companies must often make decisions between cutting corners and doing the right thing when it comes to their customers, country, and the environment. As an industry built around a finite resource, the steel industry relies on sustainability efforts and companies that put the environment first in their decision-making. Through smart recycling programs, and companies taking advantage of the environmental benefit of domestic-made products, the steel industry will continue to prosper for generations to come. DIS-TRAN Steel is proud to be a leading champion of sustainability efforts for the steel industry. As a U.S.-based steel manufacturing company, DIS-TRAN Steel can provide domestic-only material to their customers.

As the earth’s renewable resources diminish, manufacturers, consumers, and the power industry as a whole are grappling with how to continue growing while using a finite resource. Recycling is a clear solution, and steel scrap recycling efforts are strong across the globe. 60% less energy, according to some estimates, is used when recycling scrap steel than manufacturing the metal from scratch. Further, recycling preserves a finite resource since steel can be recycled and reused indefinitely. Recycling not only benefits steel consumers and manufacturers, it also benefits the environment. Recycling may cut greenhouse gas emissions by 300-500 million tons (according to the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries), and uses 40% less water (according to the Canadian National Institute of Health, 2012). DIS-TRAN Steel is proud to put recycling at the front of our efforts, and over 95% of the raw materials for our steel structures is generated from recycled domestic scrap metal.

Manufacturing done RIGHT

The 1983 Buy America Act supports the purchase of American-made products, which stimulates our economy, and also has a positive environmental impact by reducing the necessary travel required to ship materials. The Act applies to mass-transit-related procurements, and it establishes a preference for domestically produced materials for projects supported by federal funds. DIS-TRAN Steel, as an American-born and –bred company, can supply products that comply with the Buy America Act. Customers can request Buy America for federally-funded projects, Department of Transportation projects, and end-user requirements. DIS-TRAN Steel and the Buy America Act are ensuring an environmentally friendly future for the steel industry.

Manufacturing and the environment are often seen as enemies, but with strong recycling efforts and a focus on minimizing the distance products must travel, we can preserve our resources for the future. Whether you’re working on a federally-funded project, a Department of Transportation Project, or your end-user requires it, the Buy America Act allows you to put U.S.-built products at the top of your consideration list. DIS-TRAN Steel can easily satisfy the Buy America Act requirements to bring home-spun products to your U.S. project. Follow DIS-TRAN Steel on Facebook and LinkedInto stay informed about all the ways our company is protecting the U.S. environment for current and future generations.

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Tags: manufacturing, Buy America Act

The Billionaire’s Guide On DIS-TRAN Steel’s Alliance Partners That Will Get You Rich.

Posted by DIS-TRAN Steel on Jun 27, 2016 8:55:32 AM

Okay, maybe not RICH but Powerlinx[1] recently conducted a study and the results concluded that approximately 66 percent of senior level executives believe that the main benefit of business alliances are increased revenue. I would include the benefit of reduced overall cost of doing business. The study conducted by Powerlinx also revealed that “strategic partnerships are increasingly becoming a vital element of businesses’ corporate growth strategies with executives setting aside 20 percent of their assets or more to developing and maintaining partnerships.” DIS-TRAN Steel offers Value Added Services for its Alliance Partners. We believe in clearly communicating with you during each step of the project and are dedicated to delivering top quality solutions and service. Communication is a vital part of managing production space schedules, project management, and shipping details for all of our customers.  Since DIS-TRAN Steel believes in the importance of communication, each of our Alliance Partners are assigned a personal “go-to” Alliance Coordinator whose main job will be to provide a seamless operation and allow you to relax and feel confident that the job will be completed. 

Alliance.jpg

John Beshears, an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business school says that "When you see an alliance over here, and a solo firm over there, there's a good reason for that. That's because the alliance is probably particularly good for the investment projects it is pursuing, and the solo firm is probably particularly good for its projects."[3] Beshears is a firm believer that alliances are more efficient than solo firms. He goes on to add that "What that suggests to me is that the members of an alliance were able to learn something from their past experience and contribute that to achieve a better outcome.”[4] When choosing to partner with DIS-TRAN, let there be no doubt that you will receive the best possible delivery date, as well as the highest quality product and experience. Alliance Coordinators are committed to working around the clock each day in order to promptly answer emails and phone calls. Being loyal and committed to the relationship we built is essential for Alliance Coordinators. We are here for you and we are on your side.[5]

When becoming an Alliance Partner, you will experience many benefits: 

  • Ability to lock in production space ahead of time
  • Improved lead times
  • Real time scheduling and product tracking
  • Alliance Coordinator acting as your customer advocate
  • Potential for economies of scale
  • Lower TCO (total cost of ownership)

Make the decision today to take advantage of the capabilities provided by partnering with DIS-TRAN Steel. Our plant capacity is suitable for any size project needed, large or small. Schedules can also be expedited for small or medium projects if necessary when lead times are critical.[6] Have you decided what you want out of your partnership? Take a look at the DIS-TRAN website to learn more about manufacturing processes and their distinctive project capabilities.

[1]https://www.powerlinx.com/blog/strategic-partnerships-benefits/

[2] http://distransteel.com/alliance-partnerships/

[3] http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/when-do-alliances-make-sense

[4]http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/when-do-alliances-make-sense

[5] http://distransteel.com/alliance-partnerships/

[6] http://distransteel.com/manufacturing/

 

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Tags: alliance partner, benefits of alliance partnerships

DISCOLORATION: THE MARKS OF SUPERIOR QUALITY

Posted by DIS-TRAN Steel on Jun 15, 2016 8:30:00 AM

For hundreds of years steel has served as the physical backbone of civilization. Landmark structures all over the world including Paris’s famed Eiffel Tower, San Francisco's stunning Golden Gate Bridge, and Dubai’s towering Burj Khalifa (currently the tallest building in the world), all count steel as a fundamental material used in their construction.

Prized for its versatility and strength, design professionals rely on the indispensable alloy to bring creative compositions to life. But even seasoned builders are sometimes perplexed by a discoloration phenomenon that occurs in steel after workers galvanize it. The surprising fact is this -- the very same chemical properties that give steel its renowned durability also yields its unaesthetic blemishes.

Although seemingly unbreakable, steel has an Achilles’ heel in its susceptibility to corrosion. Harsh elements can weaken the alloy, and strip it of its strength. Builders coat steel to protect it from corrosive conditions, but often mistake normal discoloration for deterioration. While rust and other decay must be safeguarded against, there’s nothing to fear in the dark blotches and spotting that appear atop of steel surfaces. In fact, they should be welcomed as a positive sign that, chemically, everything is proceeding according to plan.  Check our “A Two-Part Recipe for Understanding Galvanized Coating Appearances.”

Galvanized steel structures for Utility IndustryDIS-TRAN Steel produces premium substation and transmission steel structures designed to be durable and environmentally-friendly. The superior chemistry of DIS-TRAN products lends itself to inherent discoloration, a mark of top-of-the-line quality. At the molecular level:

“The coloration variations on the steel are due to variances in the steel chemistry, primarily the silicon content of the steel. Hot dip galvanizing involves a chemical reaction between the steel atoms and the zinc atoms during the dipping process. The base steel chemistry sets the course for the final color and appearance of the coating.”  – PAT SMITH, DIS-TRAN Steel.

Your steel fabricator can offer the use of silicon controlled steel, while it is not easy to source silicon controlled steel in standard shapes, it can easily be sourced (at additional cost) for tapered tubular structures.

Silicon – naturally occurring element commonly found in steel; silicon is particularly reactive in molten zinc metal

Silicon-killed steel – steel treated with silicon as an oxidizing agent in order to reduce the oxygen content to such a level that no reaction occurs between carbon and oxygen during solidification. 
(as referenced https://www.galvanizeit.org/inspection-course/course/glossary#s)

To minimize these inherent variations, other methods to help mitigate the differences include light sweep blasting after galvanizing to even out the zinc patina oxidations. Or, chemical dulling is another method employed to provide a more uniform final zinc patina. Costs, climate, and manpower are all factors to consider when deciding which of these optional cosmetic measures works best for a specific construction project.

While it may be considered unsightly, discoloration is a natural and normal oxidation process that occurs through the galvanized steel process due to the chemical compounds found within the steel. DIS-TRAN’s first-class products are inherently prone to these color variations that serve as proof of superior quality. The topical imperfections are purely superficial, and the experts at DIS-TRAN have scores of knowledge to help reduce their visibility. If the appearance of these blemishes are of concern to your project, our professionals are happy to help you find an aesthetically pleasing solution. Give us a call today!

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Tags: steel structures, galvanized steel

2015 ETS Structure Conference - Broken Down DIS-TRAN Style

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Nov 16, 2015 2:30:00 PM

Did you take good notes during your sessions at the 2015 Electrical Transmission and Substation Structure Conference. Don't worry, we've got your backs.

Buzz Words from ETS Structure Conference

These are a few of the buzz words remembered by the DIS-TRAN Steel Engineers during the industries most electrifying conference.  While so many of the worlds finest engineers from manufactures, contractors, epc, and utilities from around the world gathered to Talk the Talk, there may have been a few that were not able to participate.  Doesn't make you any less finer in our minds. 

Here we hope to briefly describe some of the sessions that our engineers found most interesting and some of their key take aways.  How often do you get to read the notes of other engineers.  Pretty exciting!

Structural Analysis 1 - Mike Miller, P.E., M.ASCE
Presentations based on the most common engineered structure, tubular steel poles and testing these structures.

  1. It's benefitial to see results of full scale tests, especially when confirmating the designs are adequate.
  2. The prefered is not always the best. Options must be reviewed.
  3. There is simplicity in Slip Joints AND they work.  
  4. Using a non-traditional structure configuration can be a more efficient solution.

Special Design Considerations - Marlon Vogt, P.E., M.ASCE
We are not always only looking at the functionability of a structure but sometimes it's aesthetic value can be a huge issue.  In these  papers a worldwide view on structure aesthetics was discussed.

  1. BOLD (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design) has changed the transmission line needs to be more appealing.
  2. Using the induction heat bending process for bending tapered tubular sections.
  3. The more visual transmission lines are becoming the more emphesis is pused on aesthetics.
  4. Engineers play a key role in the NEPA team providing technical support.
  5. Utilities are researching alternative materials for transmission design and applications.

Structural Analysis 2 - Robert Nickerson, P.E., F.SEI, M.ASCE
Learn how lattice tower analysis is still relevant, the challenges and the eccentric connections of these towers.

  1. The use of graphical analysis can be done with a CAD software along with full scale diagrams can be created.
  2. Two-Deminsional CAD tools have no automatic feature for evaluating eccentricities.  The actual behavior of the structure can can differ from the theoretical model.

Construction Challenges - Dana Crissey, P.E., M.ASCE
Following teams that were faced with challenges and overcame them by thinking innovatively to get their projects done.

  1. Starting from complete scratch involves creating standard/best practices and designs (foundation and structural) from the ground up.
  2. River crossing foundations can be complicated due to the land around the river where the soft adn highly variable soils can decrease accessibility.
  3. Safety can be a challenge and has led to added specifications in the design phase which  incorporate fall protection requirements.

Rerating and Upgrading - Tim Cashman, P.E., M.ASCE
Making the decision of fixing and tearing down lines to rebuild is the questions these papers discuss.  Hightlights from three upgrade projects to overcome congestion.

  1. Increased load requirements calls for improving the existing systems and decisions must be made on how to most effectively accomplish this.
  2. Major considerations are: old vs new codes, life expectancy of the existing structures and should you reinvorce or rebuild.

In conclusion, the theme this year seemed to be focused around Challenges and Solutions.  Of course, that is what Engineering is all about.  Over the last three years, since the last ETS Structure Conference an engineers dream and dread are based on solving problems.  When you think of Creativity we tend to think of Artists, Graphic Designers, Marketers but these Engineers have Creativity mastered the art of engineering.  Whether the challenge was Cost, Time, Design, Right of Way, Aesthetically pleasing to the eye or Environmental they were all addressed by using best practices and thinking outside the box, CREATIVELY.

How have you used what you learned at the ETS Conference during your day to day activities?  What take aways did you have? We would love to hear your point of view.

 Dive Deeper Into the Transmission World

Tags: Engineering, design

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