Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
SSEN Future Networks Team
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Innovation Funding Incentive
Comms & IT
EA Technology currently offers the PURL instrument to allow condition assessment of wooden poles and while the instrument performs this function well it is slow and complex to use and only makes use of a single measurement technique to make the assessment. Other instruments are currently available, however, these also base the estimate of pole strength on a single measured parameter; a few instruments use two (for example moisture content and fibre strength). A further major disadvantage with many of these instruments is that they physically damage the pole in order to make the measurement, therefore requiring ongoing maintenance e.g. annual Boron treatment.
PURL2 will make use of four measured parameters to increase measurement accuracy and reduce uncertainty. The techniques used for all measurements will have no more effect on the surface of the pole than standard climbing spikes so minimising ongoing maintenance requirements. All measurements will also be time and location stamped which, when combined with wired and wireless connectivity, will allow integration into field and office based asset management systems.
The new PURL will combine the existing ultrasonic attenuation measurement technique with measurements of ultrasonic time of flight, water content and surface hardness to provide a more accurate and reliable assessment over a wider range of degradation types and environmental conditions. More advanced coupling techniques would be used to speed up and simplify the measurement process compared to the current instrument.