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Reference Number NIA_NPG_001
Title Vonaq Utility Pole Strength Measurement
Status Completed
Energy Categories OTHER POWER and STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES(Electricity transmission and distribution) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Northern Powergrid
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source ENA Smarter Networks
Start Date 01 April 2015
End Date 01 October 2016
Duration 18 months
Total Grant Value £267,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region Yorkshire & Humberside
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Northern Powergrid (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , Scottish and Southern Energy plc (0.001%)
Project Contact , SP Energy Networks (0.001%)
Web Site
Objectives The objectives of the project are: * Determine the usability, improved pole test process and cost saving of the initial device in an operational environment;* Define the different types of pole top equipment that will tend to be found on distribution wooden poles;* Develop the algorithm to improve results;* Determine the usability, improved pole test process and cost saving of the second version of the device in an operational environment; and* Determine whether the product can pick out rotten poles. For this project to be considered a success it will determine whether it is possible to objectively determine the condition of a wooden pole and consistently test for it.
Abstract Presently utility poles are tested for their condition, and thus safety, using subjective techniques such as hitting the pole with a hammer and listening for changes in sound to indicate decay. This system has its limits: firstly that it is not a reliable method test for quantifying the condition of the pole that is buried; and secondly that it is a subjective method and relies on the persons completing the tests own experience. This is not ideal and can create a great deal of unnecessary waste and cost due to poles being incorrectly identified as weak and being removed too early in their life. Attempts have been made in the past to develop a solution that can assess the condition of a full pole, including what lies below the ground, however available solutions either require a high skill level and/or do not provide reliable results. This can result in healthy poles being replaced unnecessarily. It is estimated that of the approx. 20,000 poles that are replaced annually in GB, 4800 are replaced unnecessarily. The project method is to perform a technical field trial of a system for testing the condition of wood poles in an objective manner rather than the current subjective assessment described in the problem section that’s carried out by all DNOs. The project will look to trial the device on each DNOs network to understand the different parameters caused by pole attached equipment and ground type and then to use the gathered data to refine the product. The technique itself is an objective diagnostic test that is performed on a pole, by an operator requiring a low skill level. The system comprises a small hardware probe that is strapped to the pole by the operator and that communicates with an Android smartphone that is used to control the device. The user enters some basic measurements of the pole such as its circumference, the pole configuration (switches, transformers, stays etc. ) into the App running on the Smartphone. The user then stimulates the pole by hitting it with a hammer. The pole mounted probe analyses the frequency response, passes this into the patented algorithm and displays the Ultimate Breaking Strength of the pole (according to the standard EN 14229 2010) on the User Interface of the phone along with a Pass or Fail indication.Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 17/12/18