DIS-TRAN Steel Blog


Posted by Melissa Hines on Jul 18, 2016 10:32:11 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.


 Wood Transmission Catalog

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 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.


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

3 Common Crossarm Preservatives

Posted by Melissa Hines on Jun 22, 2015 11:03:00 AM


Are you treating your wood right?

Wood utility poles and crossarms are common objects seen throughout our communities along the streets and in our yards. These poles and crossarms are used to support and run electrical lines to our homes and businesses - making these products vital to our daily lives. Prolonging the useful life and structural integrity of these items is aided by treating the wood prior to installation.

Wood treatment refers to protecting wood from damage caused by insects, fungi, decay, climate and extreme weather conditions. Treating wood with the right chemical preservatives can extend the useful life and protect it from the harsh environment. Choosing the right wood preservative can save an utility time, frustration and money. The three most common wood treatments include:

  • Pentacholorphenol (Penta)
  • Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA)
  • Creosote.

Pentacholorphenol (Penta) has been a preservative and maintenance staple of the Canadian and American utility industries for more than 60 years. Penta is a broad spectrum biocide and was previously used in herbicides, algaecides, fungicides and disinfectants. Today, the use of Penta in the U.S. and Canada is limited to wood preservation applied by trained-certified pesticide applicators. The production and use of Penta is regulated by the EPA and is an approved preservative in the American Wood Protection Association. (AWPA) Since its introduction in the utility industry, Penta has become the preferred wood preservative for poles and crossarms and is used extensively for treatment of laminated beams since it will neither wet the wood nor effect the glue joints. Penta can be used as a wood preservative for both Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine crossarms.

Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is a water based wood preservative. It is a mix of chromium, copper and arsenic. Recognized for the greenish tint it imparts to wood, CCA has been extremely common for many decades and is used primarly on Southern Yellow Pine poles and crossarms. DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC provides this alternative wood preservation to its customers making up about 5% of the crossarms we supply.

Creosote is one of the oldest of the commercial  preservatives. It is made by distilling coal tar and is often thinned with a light oil such as diesel fuel or mineral spirits. The color of Creosote is usually dark brown to black with an oily appearance and odor. Most wood treated with Creosote is used in marine pilings, utility poles and railroad crossties.


At DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC, we not only manufacture a complete line of Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine crossarms, but we also house our own treatment facility. Our treatment plant is located adjacent to our manufacturing facility in Pineville, LA. DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC have three trained-certified applicators onsite who follow all industry and environmental standards. With these three professionals onsite, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC can treat approximately 1,300 arms with Penta on a single eight hour shift. Having our own onsite treatment plant allows us to have a fast response for storm emergenies. About 95% of the crossarms we manufacture are treated with Penta. 

Using the right chemical preservative for treating wood can greatly increase the life span and save a lot of time and money. Is there a wood preservative treatment you prefer to use? Would you like to see DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC offer an alternative wood treatment?  Leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you.



Check out our Easy to follow Preparation Plan for when storms are threatening you and your customers.Preparation for Storms

Tags: wood crossarms, southern yellow pine, douglas fir, crossarms, penta, wood treatment, chemical preservative, AWPA, CCA, wood preservative

6 Step Guide: How Utilities Can Prepare for Winter Storms

Posted by Brooke Barone on Dec 5, 2013 2:56:00 PM

As unpredictable as the winning lottery numbers, recent weather conditions have seemed to take a turn for the worse this past week. Unlike down south here in Louisiana where we are rocking short sleeves and flip flops in 70 degree weather, people up north are getting their shovels, snow boots and flashlights ready as the hype about winter storms warnings increases.

Certain states like Minnesota, Indianapolis and Colorado are under warning for a massive wintery mix of snow, sleet and ice. According to MPRNews in Minnesota, north  of Two Harbors is buried under 26 inches of snow, with some areas reaching snowfall up to 3 feet. Also the Denver, Co area is experiencing heavy winds and snow, with expected snowfall up to 3 feet, which has also put an Avalanche Watch through many of the northern and central mountains throughout Colorado.

And what’s also pretty surprising, is that just last week North Texas was experiencing springlike weather, and this week they are bracing for a winter storm as temperatures drop in some areas as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just as important as pre-treating bridges and overpasses with deicing materials, preparing for power outages is a must. Utilities throughout the country have been steadily following the weather and are gearing up for storm response.  With piercing winds, heavy ice and snowfall, there’s always the possibility of power lines snapping, wood distribution poles falling or branches and trees falling on power lines.

winter storm  winter storm

Below are a few tips for utilities on how to prepare for a winter storm:

One of the struggles utilities face during storm preparation and response is securing the correct amount of materials needed without overbuying while in panic mode. 1.) By establishing relationships with key vendors who can help the situation, assures they will have plenty of material in inventory to serve them in an emergency situation, allowing the Utility to procure only items required as they determine their needs.

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.

winter storm winter storm

Utilities face even more pressure from their customers and politicians to get electrical service back on line in the quickest amount of time. 2.) Utilities can prepare for a storm by having a Critical Needs List including items such as poles, crossarms, hardware, insulators, conductor, squeeze-ons, splices and transformers, helps to ensure a smooth and timely recovery.

3.) It’s a good idea for utilities to also implement a trigger mechanism based on the path and strength of the storm so they’ll know when to act, which can eliminate potential costly delays for recovery. 4.) Utilities can also be better prepared by standardizing their products as much as possible, and by approving alternate ahead of time so that they don’t lose valuable time once they are engaged.

5.) Ensuring safety is the number one priority.  It’s important that all personnel remain out of harm’s way during the worst moments, and that all safety procedures are followed during the reconstruction process.

6.) Next, utilities need to ensure that strong lines of communication are established between local emergency services and authorities, utility users and their vendors. One critical tactic that utilities should implement is to have a storm response team with members designated to handle each of the key responsibilities. The qualified person should have experience, product knowledge and have established relationships with key contacts or component vendors long before the potential event. 

Whether utilities are preparing for a snow storm, sleet, strong winds or winter ice storms, having a plan beforehand can make all the difference in getting power back up and running, while ensuring the safety of lineman, and also citizens who could be exposed to down power lines.

winter storm tips


Tags: crossarms, storm response, how utilities can prepare for winter storms, winter storm warnings, snow storm preparation, prepare for a storm, preparing for a snow storm, winter storm preparation, how to prepare for a winter storm, down power lines

What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Storm Response

Posted by Brooke Barone on Jun 19, 2013 4:01:00 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

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