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Prevents Ground Rot in Timber Fence Posts
Prevents Ground Rot in Timber Utility Poles
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To safeguard against this, in 2017, Lehighton Light and Power began using Polesaver barrier sleeves which are designed to prevent wooden poles from ground-line rot. When applied to the wooden pole, the Polesaver dual layer barrier sleeve forms an airtight and watertight seal - elements that are necessary for decay to occur. With the ground-line section of the pole isolated from the causes of decay, the wooden pole will maintain 100% of its strength over the duration of its service life.
Lonny Armbruster, Lehighton Light and Power’s Superintendent, said he was excited to have been made aware of a solution to prevent ground-line decay from a company based in the United Kingdom. He said that Polesaver has been manufacturing products that have been safeguarding in-ground posts and poles from decay, since 1994.
“The technology has a proven in-service track record with more than 8 million barrier sleeves sold worldwide over 25 years and this, coupled with extensive independent test data from prominent European and USA testing establishments, made the decision to invest in Polesaver very easy” said Mr Armbruster. “Polesaver is a tried and test product with an excellent reputation.
The sleeves are sent to us directly from the United Kingdom and our people apply them quickly and easily to the new poles in our pole yard. The Polesaver protected poles are then transported to site and erected.”
Richard George, Polesaver’s CEO, said he was pleased that Lehighton Light and Power were now an established customer of Polesaver UK and he looked forward to supplying the barrier sleeves for many years to come.
In response to the problems caused by ground rot in timber fence posts, gate posts and utility poles Postsaver and Polesaver ground line barrier sleeves were developed and put into production 25 years ago.
Since then millions of Postsaver and Polesaver ground line barrier sleeves have been sold globally which have dramatically extended the lifespan of fence posts, gate posts and utility poles thus reducing the requirement for trees to be felled.
25 years of field use and extensive independent testing since 1994 have confirmed that Postsaver and Polesaver are the only proven solution to preventing ground rot.
COSE participated in this expo organized by the New Vision Group in order to introduce the concept to Uganda’s agricultural sector and other interested groups like the financial institutions.
This expo was to demonstrate how Post saver ground line sleeves are proven to protect the vulnerable part of the fence posts from ground rot and termites attack to the farming community in Uganda from 16th-18th March, 2018.
The expo that attracted thousands of participants was very instrumental in educating the Ugandan public how Post Saver is the new way to enhance productivity of the materials used on the farmer like building poles and related accessories durable and cost effective. The learners and show goers were able to get firsthand information about Post Saver.
The benefits of Post Saver are enormous and agricultural sector players shall find it a worthwhile and real time investment seen from the interest at the expo.
The new technology involves putting sleeves at the top and bottom of the posts.
Post saver can be applied on posts when fencing animal farms, Putting up poultry houses, stand posts that hold passion fruits, tomatoes while growing.
Application of the sleeve.
· Put the sleeve on the post
· Heat it with gas and a blow torch to make sleeve water and air tight on the pole.
· Then you can put your post in the ground.
· Make sure the sleeve is 5cm above the ground.
The Expo in its second year running was as a result of the high turn up in the first edition in 2017 in Kampala organized by the NVG and its partners both local and international. To gain and showcase its products COSE was able to introduce the concept of Post Saver in Uganda.
The participants were introduced to the concept of Post Saver, use of gas and installation of the poles. COSE’s chief executive officer, Mr. Simon Sekiwunga, participated in the Expo and Over 160 companies exhibited from Uganda and 15 were from Netherlands.
The traditional method of distributing electricity is via overhead cables, supported at a safe height on insulators affixed to a support pole or structure. This method of power transmission is relatively low in cost, flexible and easy to install. When faults occur, it is easy to visually inspect the line and find the fault, be it a broken cable or pole. On the downside, this system is vulnerable to damage from bad weather, falling trees and cable theft. Where wooden poles are used to support the overhead line, the effects of ground decay and termite attack can limit pole life to 25 years, in the harsh ground conditions that are typical on the African continent.
Alternative pole materials are available which have a range of benefits and drawbacks. Concrete poles are generally more expensive and heavier than wooden poles, making them difficult to handle and use, especially on sites where access is difficult, such as outlying, hilly or swampy areas. Concrete poles are also prone to failure as a result of corrosion of the reinforcing bars and, also, concrete “cancer” which can occur over time, typically limiting life to around 35 years. Composite poles overcome many of these problems; they are low in weight and offer consistent high strength.
On the downside, they are generally more expensive than wooden poles; they can suffer from failure due to Osmosis at the in-ground section, resulting in a loss of strength and also exhibit poor fire resistance when exposed to bush fires. Composite poles along with steel and concrete have relatively poor environmental credentials. These alternative materials are also subject to market variations in the price of oil and steel as we have seen in the recent drop in price for composite and concrete poles in many of the countries we supply to. Arguably, these lower prices are not sustainable in the long term because oil and steel prices will inevitably rise at some point. The hydrocarbon used to produce a wooden pole is relatively much lower than alternative materials so variations in oil prices have a much lower impact on costs going forwards.
Laying cables underground addresses the vulnerabilities of the overhead power lines, albeit at generally higher cost and with the vulnerability of damage from excavation. Also, we are told it can be more difficult to find faults in the event of a cable failure. This method is a realistic option in urban areas but the costs of installing this type of power distribution in rural areas is generally prohibitive, especially where ground conditions make excavation difficult or where woodland, excavated farmland, roads, rivers or uneven ground make access and excavation difficult.
In many of the countries we work in, wood is still the material choice for utility poles. It is a readily available, low cost, natural material that literally “grows on trees” and that also has excellent environmental credentials.
In most countries, the pole supply industry is long established, bringing substantial employment to rural areas in forestry, tree harvesting, timber transportation, conversion and preservative treating.
On the downside, wooden poles are generally perceived to have a shorter life than alternative materials and to be “low tech and old fashioned” as there have been no new developments in this technology for at least 50 years. As a result of this, some utilities feel wooden poles have “had their day” and that they should be looking at modern “high tech” engineered alternatives.
We believe that with some small changes and improvements, wood can continue to be the material of choice for utility poles. In the following section, we set out the benefits of using ground line barrier sleeves in achieving this objective.
The purpose of the Expo was to introduce the concept of Post Saver in the Ugandan agricultural sector and to the players and inform the public the advantages of using this technology. The lead team was from COSE Electrical Services Ltd., Kampala.
As I boarded the O.A bus from Bolgatanga to Accra, I gave a sigh of relief from the mighty harmattan which had wrestled me throughout my entire stay during the Christmas holidays. Little did I know that the grass along both sides of the road had had their own share of pain from the devastating twin brother (fire) of the harmattan. As flood washes away structures elsewhere in the capital, fire swoops the entire grassland in the Savanna belt of Ghana.What a pity!!!
Throughout the journey, the electrical engineer in me could not help but take into account the effects of these fires to the electrical poles erected in the grassland or similar conditions. Putting cost to the replacement of these poles and the loss of electricity supply made me cringe inside. For a moment, I was excited that this problem was outside the boundaries of ECG and my company was insured. Then I had an electrical epiphany, I remembered that this phenomenon of pole burning is not limited to NEDCo (Distribution Company for Northern Ghana) because several of ECG’s districts have poles planted in bushfire prone areas.
After taking my shower when I arrived in Accra, I started to think through as to what solution could be suitable in addressing this pole burning phenomenon with the least cost. As an R&D Engineer, the only convincing answer that came to mind was the use of steel poles which ECG is already employing. However, the cost of replacing all wooden poles in bush fire prone areas is unconceivable. Mind you the cost of steel poles is almost twice as much as the wooden poles. “How economical is changing all wooden poles that are likely to burn due to intermittent bush fires with steel ones? There must be a way out,” I thought to myself.
Upon resumption of work, I had discussions with my boss nicknamed Dr. Ferroresonnance (I pray he does not read this article), he made me aware of a proposed solution to the pole burning phenomenon with the use of a fire protection fabric. “Fabric!!!” I exclaimed unbelievably and in a state of shock. “What type of fabric can save a pole from bush fire?” I queried. I was giving a brochure and manual about the product to help my ignorance and engage my curiosity.
A pilot project was proposed for 5 ECG regions with a total of 2000 poles considered. The fire protection fabric was wrapped around the base of the pole up to about 6feet.
My visit to the pilot project site revealed that 50% of the project sites had experienced bush fires after the fire protection fabric was installed. To my surprise, not a single pole with the fire protection fabric got burnt. The evidence became clear when it was observed that other poles without the fabric within the same vicinity were burnt. (There are pictures attached to this article that verifies my claim). Still not convinced, I decided to gather a number of the dry grass/weeds under one pole protected by the fabric and then set it on fire. This happened at a cleared piece of land in a village next to Otuam, the hometown of the former president of Ghana, the late J.E.A. Mills.
The farmers and my entire team at the site watched the demonstration in awe as the fire had no effect on the pole under investigation. After five minutes under that intense flame, we quenched the fire after a successful demonstration. The fabric itself had not damaged only the sooth from the fire, that had settled on the surface but it was washed away by water. I remembered that famous quote from the Good Book “for lack of knowledge my people perish”.
As a child finding solutions to problems has been my passion and this drove me to pursue an engineering career. I felt fulfilled when feedback from all the districts which the pilot exercise was carried out was extremely positive. The project is expected to be rolled over to all poles under ECG jurisdiction. Finally, an economical solution has been found for the burning poles, Oh pole protection fabric, thou art a Pole Saver. My job as a researcher still continues……….
Kingsford J.A. Atanga (AEE) - Research and Development Division -ECG
Original article can be found here
Wood Preservative provides no protection against core rot
Air or insect borne brown rot fungal spores enter the unprotected core of the pole through cracks that bypass the outer preservative treated sapwood shell of the pole.
Moisture from the soil travels up the core from the ground ensuring high moisture content in the core of the pole just above ground level.
This allows the spores to germinate and attack the un protected core wood and destroy the core of the pole.
Typically accounts for around 60 to 70% of pole failures.
Core rot can occur at any time in the poles life and can cause early pole failures.
Applying a a composite sleeve seals the surface of the pole and lowers the entry point for moisture
This "drops" the moisture profile typically ensuring that the moisture content in the upper part of the sleeve is too low for core rot to occur
Whilst ground rot attacking the outer part of the pole is well understood by the vast majority of utilities the causes of core rot are often not so well understood. We are regularly asked what causes core rot and if Polesaver will be effective against this problem.
Core or brown rot typically accounts for around 60% of pole failures and occurs within the core or central part of the pole. Wood preservatives do not prevent this form of pole rot and this is why.
The outer part of a pole is made up of sapwood, the living part of the tree when it was felled. The sapwood is permeable to liquids making it receptive to treatment with wood preservatives.The wood preservative provides protection from soil borne soft rot attack.
By contrast the heartwood is made up of relatively "closed" cells and is relatively impermeable to liquids making it commercially very difficult to treat with wood preservatives..
This leaves the inner core of the pole relatively unprotected from wood decay and rot.
Above ground the pole is exposed to natural airflow, weathering and sunlight. Over time this results in drying and shrinkage of the wood which causes the pole to crack vertically.Often these cracks will run right through in to the unprotected core of the pole as shown in the photograph above.
The majority of wood decaying organisms are fungi that exist in the upper soil level and attack fallen organic matter such as wood and leaves. As part of there reproductive process some of these wood decaying fungi emit millions of microscopic spores that are carried on the wind.It is these spores that literally get blown in to the above ground cracks in utility poles and straight in to the unprotected core.
For wood decay to occur a moisture content greater than 25% is necessary. On a normal pole the moisture content of the core close to ground level will be relatively high and typically well above the 25% threshold at which decay can start to occur as shown in red in the diagram above. This high moisture content occurs because water moves in to and up the pole from the ground. This effect is known as "wicking" and occurs because of the difference in water vapour pressure between the in ground and above sections of the pole. In practical terms this means that the moisture content of the inner part of the pole 5 to 10 cm above ground level will typically range from 50 to 150% or more. This combined with elevated temperatures, unprotected wood and oxygen create ideal conditions for the brown rot spores to germinate and form wood decaying fungi that slowly but surely eat down in to the core of the pole rendering the pole defective.
Unlike ground rot or soft rot, brown or core rot can occur at any time in a poles life and is relatively unaffected by the type of wood preservative that is used. Core rot is a major cause of failure in poles treated with Creosote, C.C.A. and Pentachlorophenol
The use of a Polesaver sleeve provides a simple but effective means of dramatically reducing the likelihood of core rot and this is how.
The sleeve produces a watertight seal on the surface of the pole and this lowers the entry point for moisture from the soil. This has the effect of "dropping" the moisture profile in the pole by 60cm or so as shown in red in the diagram above. In practice this means the moisture content in the upper part of the sleeved section and above ground section is held at a low level. This is typically below that at which decaying organisms can thrive thus ensuring that brown rot spores that enter the pole via cracks and splits are unable to germinate and attack the core of the pole.
Postsaver Europe Ltd,
Unit 11, The Hawthorns,
Hawthorne Lane, Staunton,
Gloucestershire, GL19 3NY, UK
By Telephone: +44 (0)1452 849322
We supply Polesaver sleeves worldwide in small or large quantities, as well as having a
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and is a trademark of Polesaver Europe.
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