Advanced Engineering 2018

Powertrusion Creates Composite Utility Poles with Help from Reichhold

16 July 2004

Powertrusion has designed a pultruded FRC utility pole for use as a power distribution pole.

The pole's design and an innovative structure enable it to continuously distribute stress evenly over its entire structure providing greater strength, consistency and safety compared to wood distribution poles. Its composite construction overcomes problems presented in wood, steel and concrete poles such as decomposition, weight, conductivity, breakage and environmental problems. Powertrusion also manufactures and markets pultruded FRC utility cross arms and lighting poles.

The company has worked closely over the years with electrical engineers and experienced linemen to design pultruded poles superior to wooden products. Wooden poles typically exhibit a test performance coefficient of variation (COV) of 20% whereas pultruded composite poles have a historical COV of less than five percent (5%).

FRC poles, at one-third the weight of wooden poles, have advantages during both installation and throughout their service life. A 35’ - 40’ Class 4 pultruded pole can be carried by four people where a similar wooden pole might weigh over 1,000 pounds.

One challenge for Powertrusion was to design poles with sufficient strength to support attachments in excess of 1,000 pounds. A series of Powertrusion tests proved it is possible.

Working with Reichhold, Powertrusion looked for the right resins to fit the utility pole application. The first resin used was a flexible isophthalic pultrusion resin. The pole design was changed and Powertrusion switched to a low-profile, isophthalic-based resin. Today, Powertrusion employs Reichhold’s Dion Xtreme 31040 urethane hybrid resin for its composite utility poles.

With Reichhold as a technology partner, Powertrusion has been able to span a range of three pole classes with a single pole design. Design changes and the higher performance Dion Xtreme resin have allowed Powertrusion to expand its product classifications by building longer poles with required strength and stiffness.

Powertrusion's automated manufacturing process allows each pole to be serialized with tracking numbers. This allows the company and its customers to track each pole to a particular batch and date of production.

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