Hill & Smith has been granted a patent for a utility pole system that allows for easy temperature inspection of fiberglass reinforced plastic utility poles. The system includes a pole with a fire retardant sleeve assembly and at least one temperature sensor positioned beneath the sleeve assembly to measure the temperature of the pole body. GlobalData’s report on Hill & Smith gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Hill & Smith, cold-formed steel was a key innovation area identified from patents. Hill & Smith's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Temperature inspection system for fiberglass utility poles

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Hill & Smith Holdings Plc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11686418B2) describes a utility pole system designed to enhance fire safety. The system includes a pole body with a fire retardant sleeve assembly that covers a portion of the pole body. The sleeve assembly consists of an outer shell and an inner insulation layer that is in contact with the surface of the pole body.

One of the key features of this utility pole system is the inclusion of at least one temperature sensor positioned beneath the sleeve assembly. These sensors are configured to measure the temperature experienced at the surface of the pole body underlying the sleeve assembly. This allows for real-time monitoring of the pole's temperature, which can help detect potential fire hazards and prevent accidents.

The sleeve assembly also includes openings that expose the portion of the pole body where the temperature sensors are positioned. These openings are covered by cover plates, providing protection to the sensors while allowing them to accurately measure the temperature.

The outer shell of the sleeve assembly is made of a fiberglass material, while the inner insulation layer is composed of an intumescent material. The inner insulation layer is either fixed to the inner surface of the outer shell using a fire-resistant adhesive or resin, or it is laminated to the outer shell. This construction ensures that the pole body is well-insulated and protected from fire hazards.

The utility pole system can be manufactured with a pair of separable half sections that, when connected together, form a hollow cylinder. These half sections have a U-shaped cross-section and can be secured using a locking mechanism. This design allows for easy installation of the sleeve assembly on the pole body.

Additionally, the pole body can extend upward from beneath the ground surface when installed in the ground. The sleeve assembly is arranged on the pole body below the ground surface, providing fire protection to the portion of the pole that is most vulnerable to fire hazards.

Other features of the utility pole system include a fire-resistant coating on the outer surface of the outer shell, an ultraviolet protective coating, and the use of a fiber-reinforced plastic for the pole body.

Overall, this patented utility pole system offers enhanced fire safety by incorporating temperature sensors, fire retardant materials, and protective coatings. It provides a reliable and efficient solution for preventing and detecting fire hazards in utility poles.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.