A Drone’s-Eye View

  Our representative John Hatch recently visited the Orlando AWEA Windpower Exhibition on May 19-20. The show attracted industry experts from all across the world to showcase new innovations in alternative and renewable energy. John visited several notable booths including those of Reed & Reed, Southern States, G&W and Cianbro engineering groups. John reported that from booth to booth the buzz was all about drones. “The hot topic of the show was definitely the use of drones.  These can be used as a preventative maintenance tool as well as scouting out new possible locations.  They will soon be commonplace within the industry,” said John. When it comes to labor-intensive site surveying, improvements in drone technology are allowing energy companies to save time and money. Drones can be used to observe tough to reach areas on wind turbines and identify wayward heat signatures from failing solar panels. They’re able to inspect power lines, oil and gas piping and survey project space for endangered wildlife. In this video drones survey 165 turbines on an offshore farm, reducing inspection time by 70%   Typically drones are thought of as military weaponry or government spy toys, but drone technology offers utility companies a very real alternative to dangerous inspections and maintenance.  Drones can survey difficult terrain, signal signs of mechanical defects and provide for early warning initiatives.  Operating costs are relatively low and drones demonstrate far superior inspection speeds than many traditional methods.  Utility companies best be ready to adapt to a new era of drone oversight and take full advantage of this budding...

OSHA Compliance: Fall Arrest Solutions

The Challenge For many years the electricity transmission industry has been, with certain provisos, exempt from OSHA height safety requirements.  This changed on April 1st this year when OSHA implemented 29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(iv)(C)(2) and (3) and 29 CFR 1926.954(b)(3)(iii)(B) and (C).  In essence, the new requirements are: Everyone working more that 4ft above the ground on poles, towers or similar structures must be protected from falling. Fall arrest anchors must be capable of withstanding a 5000lbs force or twice the expected fall arrest force if using an engineered system. Maximum free fall distance is 6ft. Maximum fall arrest force is 1800 lb/ft The Good News OSHA has decided that until May 31, 2015, no citations will be issued under 29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(iv)(C)(2) or (3) or 29 CFR 1926.954(b)(3)(iii)(B) or (C) to employers complying with the fall protection requirements in the version of 29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(v) that was in effect on April 11, 2014. The new OSHA requirements apply equally to new and existing structures.  Newly designed structures are easy to address with built-in anchors and brackets. However, it is the myriad of existing towers / structures that pose a heightened challenge to lineman and their employers. They should consider more versatile OSHA ready vendors when selecting safety equipment. Some theorists cite the Pareto Principal which indicates 80% of the climbs will be on 20% of the structures.  For us, this means two categories: (1). 20% = frequently climbed structures.  (2). 80% = infrequently climbed structures.    For frequently climbed and new structures Consider an ergonomic system that is fast to install and offers lineman a near to free climbing experience – Video  This demonstrates our permanent, wire rope based system (RRi...

SAG10: A Powerful Tool

SAG10, the industry standard for sag-tension calculation software, is now more powerful than ever.  With improved user interface, algorithmic logic, and several new features, SAG10 v. 4.0 is likely the strongest choice for the job. But don’t take our word: Southwire’s Applications Engineer, Drew Pearson, answers the important questions. 1. What types of calculations and considerations are most important to customers and how does SAG10  meet these demands to the fullest? Drew: SAG10 software features a proven method for calculating sag and tension, the Alcoa Graphical Method. 2. Why choose SAG10 against other competing software? Drew: SAG10 software has over 1,500 conductors, including a full database of stress-strain charts (valued at $7.5M). We also plan on adding Southwire Certified stress-strain charts in the next update. Also, the UI in SAG10 software makes it easier to use. 3. How has user interface improved? Drew: The Conductor Selection screen uses a dropdown instead of radiobuttons for Conductor Type. Also, adding tension and sag limits into the load tables has been made easier with reformatted columns. 4. Are there new calculations and variables available? Drew: Calculations have been optimized with proper rounding and conversions. Stress-strain chart selection is now done with a logic algorithm. 5. Is SAG10 consistent with specific transmission/distribution innovations? Drew: SAG10 software is consistently updated to conform with standards and updated with new conductor data and types. 6. Are there any special features that would surprise a customer? Drew: -You can now export PLS-CADD WIR files at the click of a button, both singly and in batch. -The Edit Loading Table screen allows for °C/°F unit selection. -Ruling span sag-tension reports include both °C and °F units...