If you are responsible for specifying smart multi-function poles within your company or government organisation, here are answers to six questions which give you an insight into important aspects you may not have considered.
- How easy is it to add accessories in the future?
Councils and Project Managers can plan for what they need today but needs can change in the future. Councils will benefit if they ensure the smart multi-function poles they specify are future-proofed. That is, accessories and technology that may not be available yet, can be added to existing poles in the future.
The ability to attach additional accessories and functionality in the future largely depends on whether the poles you specify incorporate a track or other similar system.
Accessory tracks allow for installation of accessories on a pole either at the time of installation or at a later date with relative ease. A track system enables installation of multiple accessories, on multiple sides of the pole and at multiple heights.
Multipole’s unique track system allows the movement of accessories along the full length of the accessory track. Multipole can supply a comprehensive range of track mounting kits and arms that can be customised for just about any device, even outdoor clocks.
The track system is especially beneficial when fitting accessories like a banner raising system which enables installation and replacement of banners without the use of access equipment, even if there are other accessories already installed.
Some pole designs include bolts along the accessory tracks which inhibit free movement of accessories along the full length of the track. This may prevent the use of a banner raising system. Separate tracks are available to add to these types of poles to enable the installation of additional accessories which require this capability like a banner raising system.
There are poles available where accessories are added to the pole via “stackable” modules. To add functionality at a later date to these poles, a qualified electrician or similar is required to pull the pole apart in order to install the new accessories. This can be a very expensive and involved process.
The stackable system does not enable the installation of a banner raising system whereby banners can be lowered to an accessible level for replacement because it does not run on a track system which allows the banner to slide along the full length of the pole.
- Are all multi-function poles frangible?
Some poles are frangible and some may not be. It depends on what the pole is made of and how it is installed.
Multi-function poles available from Multipole have been proven to be frangible. This was confirmed through tests undertaken on the Multipole 300 Series poles by Northrop Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd based in Sydney, Australia. The test results confirmed that the Multipole 300 Series complies with Lighting Roads and Public Spaces Appendix B as an impact absorbing frangible pole. The test calculations are based on the scenario given in the Vic Roads Specification for the supply of “Frangible Street Lighting Poles”.
Steel poles or aluminium poles with a steel core are not frangible. It is important to note if the poles you are specifying are required to be frangible because of their proximity to the road. In these situations, you need to ensure the pole you specify is frangible.
- Are all multi-function poles waterproof?
Multi-function poles need to be rated to IP65 as they house expensive high tech equipment.
There are a couple of areas on a pole which can make it vulnerable to water ingress. This includes the transition from base to mast and the hatch usually contained on the base which gives access to internal electronics.
The transition on all Multipole poles are designed to disperse moisture or condensation running down the pole to the outside of the pole or cladding. This ensures that moisture is kept away from internal electronics.
The style of access hatch can also affect the waterproof rating. Multipole offers sliding hatches which provide superior waterproof properties but also mean the hatch is kept securely fixed to the pole and does not go missing.
The complete range of poles from Multipole are designed to be IP65 compliant to withstand ingress by low-pressure water from any direction. It is recommended that all internally mounted high-tech equipment be IP68 rated for double protection.
- Is a special coating required to prevent rust and corrosion from developing at the base of the pole?
Best practice for all aluminium poles is to coat the base and feet above ground level with Dulux Durebild STE. Barium Chromate should be applied if dissimilar metals are co-joined, for example, aluminium pole with a steel core. This helps to minimise corrosion of the metals due to exposure to the elements.
Steel poles which have been galvanised need to have this coating checked regularly as it can get removed over time if there is vegetation around the base of the pole. The coating is gradually removed by grass trimming equipment like a whipper snipper which leaves the steel exposed to the elements and is then susceptible to rust and corrosion. This coating should be checked regularly to ensure this does not occur.
There is no requirement to regularly check aluminium poles with a clear anodised finish as the finish is not compromised even if it is in an area regularly trimmed with a whipper snipper.
- Which finish is easier to maintain and looks best in the longer term?
Based on industry experience, a clear anodised finish for marine-grade aluminium is the most durable and is recommended for heavy-duty environments. Clear anodising provides protection from extreme weather conditions (including coastal) and also damage like graffiti. With a clear anodised finish, graffiti can be removed using solvent thinners (non-alkaline) ensuring the pole will look its best for its lifetime.
Other finish options available include colour anodising and powder coating in a wide range of colours if you require a particular colour but the clear anodised finish is the easiest to maintain.
- Which is more environmentally sustainable? Aluminium or steel?
Aluminium boasts half the carbon footprint of steel delivering environmental sustainability benefits. Aluminium is 100% recyclable and the recycling process requires 5% of the energy used to create new aluminium, making recycling aluminium highly efficient. Remarkably 75% of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today.
Marine-grade structural aluminium (6000 Series alloys) has the equivalent strength of mild steel but will last up to four times longer with minimal to no maintenance requirements. These benefits are especially evident in a marine or coastal setting. Municipalities and local governments have a lot to gain from switching to aluminium smart light poles as they only have to pay for them once in 100 years whereas a steel pole has only a twenty-five year life cycle.
A third of the weight of steel, aluminium poles are less expensive to transport and also install. Faster installation times using half the labour delivers substantial savings on installation costs for a project.
In addition to being more environmentally sustainable, aluminium boasts superior visual appeal with smooth, sharp lines. It is no surprise that it is the preferred material for architects.
Multipole, Australian owned and operated, offers locally sourced and manufactured marine-grade structural aluminium multi-function poles. Multipole is also certified to ISO 14001:2015 for Environmental Management Systems ensuring the complete manufacturing process complies with ISO 14001 requirements.