Testing of Composite Utility Products

We previously looked at how the pultrusion process manufactures composite cross arms. Though, manufacturing is just the first step in getting these composite transmission structures to our customers. What comes after the product has been created? This post provides an overview of the testing process from the point of view of our composite utility poles.

Our composite utility poles are tested both in-house and at EDM International (EDM) in Fort Collins, more about Colorado.  These test facilities are equipped with a pole holding fixture, loading system, electronic load-deflection measuring sensors, and a computerized data acquisition system.

The testing process is in accordance with the principles outlined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D1036 test procedure. To test a composite utility pole:

  • Place the utility pole in a horizontal cantilever arrangement with the butt-end placed inside a rigid test frame and held in position by 12-inch wide nylon slings.
  • The load cable is then attached approximately two feet from the pole tip using a nylon strap.
  • Next, the load is applied at a constant rate of deformation using a winch. The winch is mounted on a trolley that moves along a track to keep the load perpendicular to the original pole axis.

In addition to full section pole testing, other tests have been conducted to evaluate the pin bearing, washer pulls through, and guy attachment strength.

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