Custom Truck One Source carries a wide range of dielectric tools used to safely repair the electrical grid that our customers are busily maintaining.
These tools are constructed largely out of fiberglass (though some older tools were made of treated wood). It’s lightweight and strong, but most importantly, the material can withstand high-voltage working conditions and is rigorously tested to meet OSHA and ASTM safety standards. The integrity of these sticks, which have an insulating value of 100kV per foot dry, and 75kV per foot wet, keeps lineworkers alive.
That’s also the reason that many of these tools are very long, with some of them extending more than 20 feet. Linemen must observe a minimum approach distance (MAD), or the closest a qualified worker can come within an energized area, otherwise, workers must adhere to additional safety measures.
Here’s a look at some of the different types of dielectric sticks Custom Truck offers for maximum safety and strength:
Universal Hot Sticks
These fixed-length, adjustable, extendable, or sectional tools give linemen that MAD they need to work safely from electrical injury. On at least one end of most of these sticks is a classic spline-pattern head, which can attach to one of the many tools that lineworkers use for line maintenance. Custom Truck carries hot sticks by several manufacturers for sale, as well as sizes for any job, from about four to 50 feet.
Shotgun sticks extend to a specific length, anywhere from four to 25 feet, and collapse for storage. At the end of the tool is a hook that makes a sound like a shotgun being cocked when it opens and closes. That hook will grasp the eyes crew of a clamp or tool, such as a wire brush, that a lineworker uses to maintain a conductor. These sticks are extremely versatile, and utility professionals use them for several different tasks.
Utility professionals use several different types of link sticks, which provide a de-energized connection between two areas. Hoist links attach another object to a hoist. The eye-to-eye isolating link stick is intended to be used as an in-line insulator, in conjunction with strap hoists, tensioning equipment, or similar tools. Spiral link sticks, which are often attached at the end of a hot stick during use, are for work areas with tight quarters. Roller link sticks are used to spread and hold conductors apart for mid-span clearances. Strain link sticks work together with blocks and hoists as a supplement to tools like wire tongs and other insulated transmission tools.
Switch sticks have a “hook” or “finger” fixed at the end of the fiberglass that is used to open and close switches, pull fuses, and manipulate disconnects from a safe working distance. These run the gamut of sizes, starting at four feet.
Wire-holding sticks directly grip energized lines so that linemen can move the conductors in different positions. The tool’s rotating head, able to be set in a multitude of positions, is controlled by the user with a knob that tightens like a nut. Wire holders typically start at six feet and the longest reach is about 12’.