Editor's Letter: 2018 New Products Guide

The latest and greatest utility industry products

The latest and greatest utility industry products

Welcome to the July/August edition of Utility Products magazine, which features our annual compilation of exciting new products available to the utility market. We’ve collected more than 30 products across a variety of categories — from accessories to vehicles — for your consideration. Turn to page 4 to start browsing. We hope you find something in those pages to make your work safer and more efficient.

Also featured this month is an informative look at utility energy storage. As author Jayesh Goyal explains on page 20, a recent FERC ruling (Order 841, February 2018) will expand the scope of energy storage beyond frequency regulation and into larger markets, such as ancillary services and wholesale energy and capacity. This will have a ripple effect across the electricity generation and transmission sector, he notes, and intelligent control software will ultimately play a critical role in optimizing performance across mission-critical, multi-use systems.

Our product focus section this month kicks off with a vitally important topic: safety. Did you know that back in the 1930s, in the early days of this country’s modern use of electricity, one out of two linemen died on the job? As author Rich Bevins explains on page 24, the risks of working with electricity were not yet fully understood. Nearly a century later, we’ve come a long way with tools, like voltage detection instruments, that reduce the risk associated with electric linework. In this article, Bevins discusses a proximity voltage indicator that leverages nanotechnology to provide linemen a smart, reliable, and consistent method for testing voltage in non-contact situations.

Do you operate or maintain a digger derrick? If you do, you’ll want to check out Clint Davis’s article on page 28 for a discussion of a commonly overlooked inspection item: the rotation bearing. Digger derricks are subject to uneven wear patterns and excessive deflection owing to the repetitive nature of how they’re operated, performing most of their work in the same general rotation area. Left unresolved, excessive deflection can lead to a host of problems, including permanent deformation or bearing failure. Davis offers step-by-step instructions for measuring the deflection of the boom, as well as helpful tips for ensuring consistent, repeatable results.

A massive, $12 billion highway project in Illinois resulted in a state-of-the-art transportation system that includes myriad smart features like dynamic messaging, closed circuit cameras, automatic tolling, and intelligent lighting. More than a million feet of HDPE conduit and Cable-in-Conduit was used to link the new electronics and power systems — and protect them from the elements. Read more about the award-winning project on page 30.

Horizontal directional drills have seen a rise in popularity, perhaps owing to their versatility across a number of utility sectors, from natural gas pipelines to telecom and fiber installations. On page 32, author Kevin Conry offers guidance for utility contractors tasked with selecting an HDD rig that will see them through the challenges — such as tricky terrain and buried utilities — they will inevitably face in the field. Key considerations are discussed, as well as the importance of having dependable service and support from a trusted equipment dealer.

A tricky gas main and service replacement project in Arizona demonstrated how several different pieces of trenchless equipment were used in harmony to execute a difficult project. Jim Schill explains on page 34 how tight space constraints, dry ground conditions, and the need to minimize disruption to a residential neighborhood contributed to the decision to employ both horizontal boring tools and a compact directional drill to complete the project.

Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy this edition of Utility Products!

– Angela Godwin, Chief Editor

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