How EMAT-MRUT Offers the Actionable Data You Need for an Effective Steel Pole Corrosion Mitigation System

January 11, 2022

At a Glance:

  • Direct embedded steel poles often experience below grade corrosion that is impossible to detect without thorough nondestructive testing. 
  • Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer-Medium Range Ultrasonic Testing (EMAT-MRUT) offers actionable data, so that asset owners have a comprehensive understanding of their steel poles’ structural integrity. 
  • With EMAT-MRUT as part of your asset management program, you will save your assets from further corrosive issues, mitigating catastrophic failure.

Corrosion damage on a pipe outside

In order for a utility to offer reliable power, maintaining grid resiliency must be top of mind. A critical element to enhancing grid resiliency is regular inspection of steel poles and lattice towers. Direct embedded steel poles can experience below grade corrosion that isn’t evident from above grade. Left unchecked, this corrosion can deteriorate the structural integrity of the pole, causing structural failures during even mild weather events.

An asset management partnership with Exo allows utility and asset owners to keep their steel poles and lattice towers performing optimally, ensuring assets reach their full lifecycle.

Structural Inspection with Exo

Structural Inspections for Corrosion Damage

Routine structural inspections of these assets can mitigate corrosion damage that occurs due to environmental conditions and/or failed coatings. Proactive inspection and repair can save these assets, prevent structural failure, and extend the life of your transmission line. Steel poles can often be restored to their original design capacity and reach their full lifecycle if proper measures are taken. 

Historically, steel poles have been inspected by excavating around the pole 12-18 inches below grade. However, a comprehensive understanding of the pole can be difficult or impossible if this is the only step taken. The health of the pole can only be detected at the depth in which the ground around it was excavated.

At Exo, we implement several forms of nondestructive testing to get accurate, actionable, thorough data on the state of the entire steel structure. One way we do this is by implementing EMAT-MRUT (Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer-Medium Range Ultrasonic Testing). This is a technology that comes to us from pipeline inspection. It emits a soundwave into the steel and records the echoes. These echoes occur when there are discontinuities in the steel, and these discontinuities are recorded. This pinpoints where flaws are located and gives technicians the actionable data needed to determine remediations.

Many nondestructive testing methods offer several benefits to steel assets, but having the right information for your specific structure is key to determining next steps. The specific advantages of MRUT include:

  • Zero excavation around the pole
  • A comprehensive evaluation of the pole from top to bottom
  • A thorough 360-degree inspection 
  • Pinpointing the exact locations of corrosion, so nothing is missed when making remediation plans
  • Faster than excavation, saving the asset owner time and money

Certified Corrosion Assessment, Repair, and Replacement

Corrosion assessments must be performed first to develop an optimal restoration solution. Exo‘s corrosion assessments are performed by experts with specific knowledge of the poles and towers they inspect and are part of a robust asset management program

After the assessment, the owner must understand the level of corrosion severity, the impact these issues have on the asset’s structural integrity, and proper next steps to save or replace the asset and avoid future catastrophes. Cost-effective remediation is essential to long-term reliable performance and returning the pole or tower to its original design capacity.

Utility owners often think they need to replace a structure altogether if the corrosion has reached a certain point in severity. Many times, Exo can extend the life of an asset so that total replacement isn’t necessary. If remediation is the determined best practice, Exo can design, fabricate, and install structures around steel poles to keep them standing, allowing the power to continue to run through the line while repairs are being made. We will help prevent failures and unplanned outages, which saves the asset owner money and from liability issues. 

The Future of Your Assets

By identifying corrosion issues early, allowing mitigation measures to be taken before failures, you limit liability risks to your reputation and to the public. When you work with Exo, you will have the tools you need to remediate corrosion issues that will also be able to extend the life of your assets and prevent them from damaging other assets and equipment. Without a comprehensive asset management program, components and asset damage can be overlooked.

Our turnkey solutions will ensure your steel assets last for their full intended lifecycle, keeping your transmission lines running and your reputation favorable, all while maintaining grid resiliency.

Get Started with Exo

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Our team would love to talk to you, so we can learn about your lighting company’s goals and primary areas of concern. Contact us today, and we’ll help you take the first step in creating a comprehensive lighting asset management program. Give us a call at 281-259-7000.
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