The component modules of RStandard utility poles nest inside one another to save space during storage and shipping.
The component modules of RStandard utility poles nest inside one another to save space during storage and shipping.

Resin Systems Inc (RS), based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, claims its RStandard utility poles are the highest strength-to-weight ratio poles on the market, withstanding weather conditions where where conventional utility poles have failed.

Polyurethane raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience LLC are part of the formulation for RS’ proprietary polyurethane composite, from which the poles are formed.

The poles are formed from RS’ proprietary filament winding process which places fibreglass on the axial surface of the pole with 0° winds. Typically, most winding processes compose angles of 7-8°. As with traditional filament winding, the process is automated and the fibres are precisely placed onto a mandrel. With the glass and polyurethane resin strategically placed, a pole wall thickness is no more than 12 mm.

“After much research and development, our polyurethane composite utility poles have been commercially available for over a year now,” says Richard Holloway, executive vice president and chief technology officer, RS. “Through our modular design, we can build virtually any pole up to 165 feet."

"From early development to high-volume production, Bayer MaterialScience LLC has been a key supplier for us, and a major contributor to the commercial success of our innovative utility pole,” he adds.

According to Bayer, many of the utility poles in the USA are more than 60 years old, erected in the post-World War II building boom. At that time, and even as recently as the late 1990s, the majority of utility poles were constructed from wood, concrete and steel. Wood poles are susceptible to rotting and destructive pests like woodpeckers and termites, whereas concrete and steel are affected by corrosion.

In addition to being a more eco-friendly alternative to wood, the polyurethane composite utility poles are expected to last as long as 125 years in most climates, and are engineered for a minimum of 65 years in the most challenging climates.

“The lightweight properties of our polyurethane composite combined with our filament winding process results in poles that are one-tenth the weight of concrete, one-quarter the weight of steel and one-half the weight of wood, which is another significant advantage,” says Holloway.

With the polyurethane composite, costs associated with transportation, installation and storage are also reduced. The poles are tapered and hollow and can therefore be nested into compact bundles, saving space in transit and leaving more room for more poles to be transported to the job site. The RStandard poles can also be drilled in the field, meaning that crews can make modifications during installation, such as drilling in holes for climbing steps. The surface of the composite poles is resistant to staples and easily cleaned of graffiti.

RStandard composite poles can be used as transmission and distribution poles to carry electric grids and as communication structures for various uses including wireless networks and microwave communications systems.