Using Analytics to Assess and Extend the Life of Steel Assets

Steel transmission and distribution towers and poles were once thought to be permanent structures free from maintenance and reliability concerns. History has revealed that steel towers and poles do degrade over time due to corrosion activity at the groundline, and the below-grade to above-grade transitional zone. This degradation leads to weakening to the point where structures can no longer support their intended design load. Such deterioration, if unaddressed, may eventually lead to structure failure.

Osmose has assessed thousands of steel structures over the last decade, with an average age of 54 years. Our assessments have also revealed that steel structure condition can start to noticeably degrade at approximately 40 years, with corrosion impacting strength at an accelerating rate beyond that point.

Unfortunately, a program of age-based, wholesale structure replacement is not viable due to an unattainable replacement budget and lack of available construction resources, nor is it necessary. Using basic system information, data analytics, and sophisticated financial modeling techniques, strategies can be developed to reduce system risk and better manage and extend the life of steel structures.

Using Osmolytics™, structure owners can obtain valuable predictive modeling results designed to aid in the decision-making process. Osmolytics can recommend the right program, for the right investment, to provide the best financial and plant outcome over multiple years. This predictive analytics solution leverages environmental databases (location, soil taxonomy, precipitation, and original galvanization or coating) and the data from over 125,000 Osmose steel structure inspections to derive the expected corrosion impact and groundline reject rates for your transmission plant.

 

 

The process includes the development of a comprehensive business case for a targeted life extension program, with four basic steps:

  • Secure basic customer structure data prioritized by circuit
  • Use historical climate and soil environmental databases, with Osmolytics modeling capabilities, to optimize circuit prioritization based on estimated corrosion impacts
  • Develop circuit-by-circuit, weighted and prioritized operational plan for more detailed circuit assessment and life extension
  • Complete detailed financial forecast based on current vs. recommended program

To begin creating your utility’s financial and predictive models and develop a program customized to your steel infrastructure, email steel@osmose.com.