Why Storm Hardened Electrical Grids Call for Composite Fiberglass Crossarms

With the recent destructive storms and wildfires across the nation, it’s now more important than ever to make sure that your utility systems and infrastructures are hardened against the worst conditions. In the following article, we’re going to explain what it means to harden a system, common methods for system hardening and how simply choosing a stronger, composite fiberglass crossarm like the UltravexR can result in a more resilient system overall.

What does storm hardening mean?

Harvey. Katrina. Sandy. These names and more are synonymous with hurricanes, super storms and cyclones that cause massive destruction year-round. On land, recent mudslides and wildfires in California and Tennessee have demonstrated that it’s not only coastal areas that need to be prepared, but inland areas as well.

In too many areas across the country, transmission and distribution lines are especially vulnerable–and things are only getting worse. The Department of Energy reports that the number of outages resulting from extreme weather is expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and other extreme events. In 2012, the U.S. experienced 11 weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion in damages. At the time, it was the second worst year for weather disasters on record, second only to 2011. Across the nation in 2017, destructive weather patterns proved to be even more disastrous and fatal.

The overall hardening of the electrical grid starts with the right material components. That’s why it is getting more important every year for utility companies to harden their systems and infrastructure against extreme weather, making sure that electrical grids can withstand the conditions to reduce the occurence of outages. When utilities need the strongest materials, they look to DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions for products like the UltravexR composite fiberglass crossarm.

Current Methods of Storm Hardening

As the level of damage from destructive storms and weather patterns intensifies, many regions are attempting new methods to strengthen electrical grids. Through research and cooperation across the utilities industry, the latest storm-hardening technology and methodology is being implemented across the country to enhance grid reliability.

Intelligent network redesign

Where there is a high energy demand but high risk of power grid failure, smart grids with intelligent switches and distributed energy resources like battery energy storage, microgrids and solar paneling better protect hospitals and government buildings and large employers in vulnerable communities.

Implementing storm-hardening programs

Areas along the east coast that are vulnerable to hurricanes have implemented five-year hardening programs that include station flood and storm-surge mitigation, more robust line design standards and the use of composite fiberglass crossarms to support overhead lines. These programs will strengthen power delivery to emergency facilities such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations and emergency communications systems that are critical in times of emergency.

Strengthening overhead line components

At local, state and national levels many comprehensive hardening programs are improving the design of overhead line components by upgrading material standards and practices for better wind and fire resistance. That’s why DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions’ composite fiberglass crossarm, the UltravexR, guarantees a 10 year warranty, and has the resiliency to maintain a residual load carrying capability ranging from 2,000 pounds to as heavy as 4,000 pounds.

Composite Fiberglass Crossarms Result in More Resilient Systems

Like other storm-hardening technologies and hardening methods, the UltravexR composite fiberglass crossarm hardens an electrical system by introducing an engineered solution to extreme weather that threatens utilities.

At DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions we didn’t underestimate the impacts of heat waves, ice storms, and hurricanes on grid operations. That’s why we designed the UltravexR composite fiberglass crossarm with impressive strength to protect and support your electrical transmission structures before and after the most extreme weather circumstances.

UltravexR has a slight dome design on all four sides for better shedding of water and debris. Surrounding the circular inner core, three layers of UV protection shield the crossarm from the sun while the fiberglass surface is resistant to fire, insects and woodpeckers. Because UltravexR is engineered for both tangent and dead-end applications, the crossarm is designed for quicker, improved ability to respond to severe storm damage without error.


For more information about the UltravexR Crossarm and how DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions can support your utility needs, fill out the form on our contact page.

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