Editor's Letter

Welcome to the March 2019 edition of Utility Products, which includes our annual Readers Choice Award selections. Topics include: tools and supplies; mobile technology; test and measurement; vehicles and accessories; and computers and software.

Welcome to the March edition of Utility Products. This month, we’re proud to present our annual Readers’ Choice Award articles. These five pieces represent our most read articles from the past year and are reprinted here to not only celebrate their relevance and popularity but also to give you an opportunity to enjoy them in case you missed them the first time around.

Claiming the top spot is Scott Bittler’s article “How to Adjust Torque Values When Using Torque Adapters.” This article made its debut in our April 2018 edition and outlines why understanding fastener torque and the corresponding values is important when working on aerial devices and digger derricks. As Bittler explains, a torque wrench adapter can help mechanics access hard-to-reach fasteners that require periodic torque checks — but only if used correctly. He offers some useful tips and formulas for applying the correct torque adjustments. Turn to page 4 to read more.

Next, on page 6, is Jo Satili’s article from October 2018 about how rugged mobile devices are transforming the utility industry. In “Keeping the Lights On,” Satili outlines how utility workers, under greater pressure than ever to meet company goals, are benefitting from purpose-built mobile technology that stands up to the rigors of field work. As a result, Satili notes that rugged handheld devices are no longer merely nice-to-have gadgets but a critical investment that workers need to adapt to new job expectations.

From our June 2018 edition, Patrick Lohman’s “Ready, Set, Flight” discusses how drone technology is delivering new efficiencies and intelligence to the historically manual (and dangerous) process of analyzing and inspecting distribution assets. For example, deploying drones equipped with multispectral sensors can help identify vegetation encroaching on power line equipment in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of manual inspection. Turn to page 8 for the full article.

It’s not unusual for a utility truck to idle all day long in order to power job site equipment like compressors and pumps. But the implementation of T4F engine regulations is prompting truck owners and operators to find ways to reduce truck engine idle time in order to decrease downtime, save on fuel costs, and spend less on vehicle maintenance. In September 2018’s “Idle Hours” on page 14, Travis Purgett explains the downside of excessive idling and how all-in-one work vehicles may offer a solution.

The last (but not least!) Reader’s Choice Award goes to Dan Payerle Barrera’s article “Installation Test and Documentation,” which explores how network testing procedures — such as those used for low-voltage and fiber optic communications cabling — can be applied to closed-circuit television installations to provide a level of protection to integrators and installers. Read the full article on page 18.

In addition to our Readers’ Choice Award selections, we are excited to bring you three brand new product focus articles this month. On page 22, author Ed Hine explains how drones are bringing safety, data and cost value to the utility industry. On page 24, Jason Barber outlines five ways in which software can help support better operations management for utility contractors. And finally, turn to page 26, where Lori Sullivan presents a case study about how Newkirk Electric leveraged fleet data to increase operational efficiency and accuracy in its fleet management programs.

As always, we’ve compiled a selection of the newest utility products on the market in our New Products Showcase, starting on page 28.

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

– Angela Godwin, Chief Editor

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