New ASTM protocol now complete and for sale

This marks for the first time an ASTM test method has been designed for composites.

A new ASTM standard that benefits manufacturers of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP)-based products, such as utility poles and crossarms, is now available in PDF and hard copy format for $44. The creation of the standard was made possible by the American Composites Manufacturers Association's (ACMA, Arlington, VA, US) Utility & Communications Structures Council (UCSC). The UCSC is one of ACMA's 12 Composites Growth Initiative (CGI) committees who work to open new markets and expand existing markets for all members of the composites industry supply chain.

This marks the first time there is an ASTM test method that was designed for composites. Previous test methods were designed primarily for wood. The results that come from this test will report on the performance of FRP crossarms.

"These standards being available is critical to companies looking to remain competitive in the utility pole market because it provides the best method for evaluating their materials and products," said Tom Dobbins, president of ACMA. "Our association works hard to collaborate on codes and standards that benefit the industry."

UCSC members of ACMA were proactive in getting this created. Dustin Troutman, director of marketing and product development at Creative Pultrusions, took the lead on UCSC's efforts over the past year to develop the standard.

"The standard promotes continuity between end users, engineers and manufacturers," Troutman said. "The end user and engineers will [now] have a good understanding of how the crossarms are to be tested and how the results should be interpreted for design and specification purposes. Everyone did a terrific job at taking the initial draft and turning it into a working document which was voted on and edited accordingly until all negatives were resolved."

The next step for ACMA and the UCSC is to work with ASTM to create a standard for the other half the transmission equation – utility poles. Some of the partners involved in that effort will be ACMA, Creative Pultrusions, Highland Composites, RS Technologies, Strongwell and Valmont Composite Structures. Troutman will take the lead on this effort as well, and anticipates a document will be complete somewhere between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.