Welcome to the June edition of Utility Products. In our feature article on page 4, Stacie Songer explains how Appalachian Power trialed dormant-stem herbicide treatment to manage vegetation in its rugged, mountainous border area between southeastern Kentucky and West Virginia. An extended treatment season, excellent brush control and less complaints are just a few of the benefits Appalachian Power was able to realize.
Continuing with the theme of vegetation management in our next feature, Bill Schafer talks about a range of compact tools for clearing rights-of-way, including compact mechanical tree trimmers, mulching heads for skid steers, and mulching heads for excavators. Turn to page 8 to learn how these versatile machines can make quick work of rights-of-way cleanup.
Our feature article on page 10 delves into drones. Chris Rittler explains how these modern marvels are enabling companies to quickly and efficiently conduct in-depth asset inspections in order to identify risks and deploy needed crew members to address potentially dangerous situations before incidents occur. Drones can even act as first responders to assess a situation before emergency response crews arrive.
Last month, we introduced you to The Salty Lineman. In this issue, he shares a touching and personal story with a very serious message about safety. Turn to page 13 to read more.
Kicking off our Product Focus selections, Lee Bedingfield explains on page 14 how dwindling underground real estate for fiber optic cables is driving forward-thinking engineers and installers to consider various options for future-proofing new construction.
While there is a growing demand for skilled trade work, there is a diminishing supply of skilled workers to do it. It’s a troubling trend that’s poised to become a major crisis in the coming years. On page 16, Mark Klein introduces us to a new partnership that is designed to generate excitement and awareness of the importance of the skilled trades on a national level.
According to eCompliance, every year 75 to 80 workers die from fatal injuries in the electric utilities industry. Sadly, many of these incidents could have been prevented with a stronger safety culture. In the article on page 18, Nima Chadha outlines how companies can increase participation in safety in order to improve safety performance.
Smart meters, sensors, controllers and applications are not only becoming easier to purchase and integrate into substations and microgrids, they’re also increasingly sourced from many different suppliers. As Duncan Greatwood explains, this growing complexity of interconnected devices across various networks creates a security challenge. On page 20, he explains how it can be addressed.
Putting the right data into workers’ hands can mean more productivity and faster restoration times, but if workers are holding a mobile device, then they can’t use their hands to do their jobs. Matt Firlik poses a new approach: voice-operated wearable computers. Turn to page 22 to learn how these nifty devices can give frontline workers all the advantages of mobile devices while eliminating any threats to situational awareness.
As always, we’ve collected dozens of new products for your viewing pleasure. Turn to page 24 to check them out.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Utility Products. Thanks for reading!
– Angela Godwin, Chief Editor