What We See: Steel Pole Weld Inspection

Every asset manager or maintenance director knows that proactive inspections are the key to ensuring your daily operations can proceed without interruption. 

Even so, traditional inspection methods may not be detailed enough to identify certain weld defects. And while they may be small in size, these cracks are far from minor. 

Left unchecked, these flaws can turn into major problems that significantly affect the overall health of your assets and lead to failures, devastating damage, and costly unplanned outages. 

By using drone technology for detailed structural and weld inspections, we’re able to capture photos like this one and help owners better manage their mission critical assets.    

Here’s everything you need to know about what this image reveals. 

What We See

In this photo we see what has become a fairly common issue in the Electric Transmission space…cracked welds… 

During the manufacturing process of steel transmission poles, there is a significant amount of cutting, cold forming, and manual welding taking place. If these processes are not completed according to a very specific standard, the risk of future weld defects rises dramatically.

In particular, a phenomenon called “Post Galvanizing Toe Cracking” shows up on multi-sided tubular components that have been formed, welded, and galvanized.   

While manufacturers are supposed to check all CJP welds after they’ve been galvanized, we find that the NDT inspection of those welds is performed by a technician that lacks experience or in some cases, the inspection checkpoint is skipped all together. This troubling fact reinforces the need for more robust quality assurance practices for steel transmission poles.  

When these weld defects escape the manufacturing facility, cyclic loading such as wind induced vibration can make certain structural members and their fracture critical welds susceptible to fatigue.  Even the simple process of tightening bolts at the vang to bracket connection seen in this image can overstress welds and cause them to propagate into more serious issues.

Fixing this issue is no small task and it could lead to a significant financial cost for your company. To repair this component, an outage would be required to de-energize the line, significant aerial equipment brought onto the right of way, and expensive weld repair teams mobilized to repair the welds.  With a proactive approach and more thorough inspections, this issue may have been avoided.

Trust the Exo Inc. Difference

The asset management philosophy of Exo Inc. is unparalleled in its approach to proactively care for your assets

Our field service and repair services offer more than just picking up the pieces after disaster, each of our professionals is trained to anticipate problems before they arise and care for your assets accordingly. 

We will work to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality services at a cost that works for your needs. Our trusted technicians are uniquely equipped to help you protect the long-term value of your assets, complete quality inspections, and save you money holistically. 

The skilled professionals at Exo Inc, are trained in our unique practices to evaluate and maintain your assets with precision and care. 

With a variety of services such as Ex-Tend lifecycle management, field service and repair, and plant maintenance, Exo Inc. is uniquely prepared to serve your company’s needs, whatever they may be.

Stop problems like the ones in this photo before they occur by calling today to talk with the Exo Inc. experts about how drone technology could help improve your asset management program. 

Phone us at 281- 259-7000 or contact us online for a free consultation to see how Exo Inc. can protect your assets.

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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