New pole inspection technology to enhance work practices

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Essential Energy is introducing new pole inspection technology to improve work practices, productivity, and employee health and safety.

The staged roll-out of the hand-held automated wood inspection drill will begin in July 2018, following a successful field trial of the new equipment across seven environmental zones.

General Manager Network Services, Luke Jenner, said Essential Energy was always on the lookout for new innovations and technology to improve work practices for its employees.

“Our extensive field trial of the drills late last year found that the improved ergonomics meant that they were easier to handle for our asset inspectors than current equipment and resulted in less injuries,” Mr Jenner said.

“The new drills automatically drill through the diameter of the pole whilst measuring the resistance to drilling. This information is stored electronically and analysed to provide an extremely accurate picture of pole condition.

“The inspection procedure itself is also less invasive and minimises damage to the pole structure as there is significant reduction in the need to drill larger inspection holes in all poles.”

The new drill is estimated to deliver Essential Energy annual cost savings of $1.3 million and provide improved asset condition data through more accurate pole density measurements.

“A critical component of the technology is the improved measure of remaining pole timber compared with current methodology, enabling better pole defect identification,” Mr Jenner

It is also anticipated that new equipment will contribute to asset inspectors being able to complete more pole inspections per day. 

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