Osmose Utilities Services, Inc. has integrated a software application into its pole inspection service that reduces the number of pole replacements associated with inspection programs. StrengthCalc software adds a new level of precision to pass/fail decisions for in-service wood poles by calculating and reporting percent remaining strength.
Prior to the development of StrengthCalc, pole inspectors were limited to using “rules of thumb” or tables that attempted to estimate the remaining effective circumference of poles with internal decay or surface decay pockets. Utility pole owners accepted pass/fail decisions that were likely to be overly conservative, because these tools use less precise, conservative assumptions that account for fewer variations and locations of decay.
StrengthCalc software provides a more precise evaluation of the impact of decay and mechanical damage, accounting not only for severity but also for location in respect to wires and cables. Inspectors can now focus their attention to detecting and measuring decay while the StrengthCalc mobile software calculates the remaining strength more precisely.
Utilities can now retain in service poles that meet NESC code requirements, but that may have been rejected using previous, less precise methods. This development is particularly important since a significant percentage of poles in service are nearing the end of their expected service lives.
“The capabilities of our mobile application include comprehensive field calculations that account for the many variables that affect pole bending strength,” noted Nelson Bingel, vice president of engineering for Osmose. “StrengthCalc has the potential not only to improve precision, but also to take the subjectivity and guess-work out of pass/fail decisions.”