FRP Transmission Innovations (TI) has introduced C-channel shaped composite profiles for use as crossarms and braces for H-frame structures. Pultruded by TI’s strategic alliance partner, Creative Pultrusion, the products replace heavy wood timbers and steel beams. Two C-channels are joined back-to-back on either side of a pole to form a crossarm assembly. Grant Lockhart, managing director, notes that the products are comparable in price to wood and less expensive than steel. Creative Pultrusions also produces Powertrusion 8-inch and 10-inch distribution poles and crossarms, working with more than 25 utility companies.

Geotek produces composite crossarms under the brand name PUPI, which was launched in 1990. Pultruded PUPI crossarms, deadend assemblies and braces are used by electrical utilities around the world, according to Dean Casad, vice president of sales and marketing for Geotek, Stewartville, Minn. Three levels of weathering protection are used for the lightweight, high-strength products. Casad feels that the biggest roadblock to the widespread use of composites in utility applications is previous experience with inferior fiberglass products that may have been negative, often due to blooming.

Glasforms is a leading global supplier of pultruded composite rods for guy strain insulators and similar products that are lighter and more durable than conventional porcelain and glass insulators, reports Peter Pfaff, who heads the company. A key advantage of the FRP products is their superior ballistic resistance, he says, noting that more than a million porcelain and glass insulators are destroyed every year in the U.S. by people taking pot shots at them. The FRP versions do not fail catastrophically. About 75 percent of the insulators in use today incorporate FRP rods, notes Pfaff.

Says Elliott of RS Technologies: “The adoption of composites is still in its early stages in the utility industry—less than one percent. Our goal is to have these poles become a standard option alongside wood poles and structures. Because of their light weight, long life, high strength, non-conductivity and environmentally benign nature, composites can solve a lot of problems for utility companies that traditional materials don’t handle very well. We believe that once the utilities crunch the numbers, they will start moving composites into more and more standard installations.”