Join Critter Guard’s president and owner, John Sims, as he discusses the ongoing problem of animal mitigation and how Critter Guard takes a different approach when dealing with proactive wildlife control.
Within Critter Guard, we use the word "proactive” because waiting for a squirrel to strike or a bird to strike can be catastrophic. So, proactive means controlling a situation before it has occurred, rather than just reacting to what happened. We also talk about the fact that our products are a barrier or a blockade. We're not just a cover, we basically stop the animal from going where it wants to go. The difference in our products is we block the access to that asset rather than cover the device.
Follow along in this webinar to learn more about our animal mitigation solutions at Critter Guard!
- [John] All right. Well, thank you for that introduction. I appreciate it and I appreciate everybody taking some time to listen about grandmother's advice. If any of you grew up with a grandmother like mine, she preached this quite a bit, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
And so, as it relates to animal mitigation, which tends to be a ongoing problem no matter where you are in the world, that's what this presentation is about. So, we'll start with an old friend. Again, I'm showing my age here a little bit but, when I was a young whippersnapper, Alfred E.
Neuman was always around and the attitude is kind of what we're dealing with here, as it relates to animal outages, and that is, "What, me worry?" "I'm not worried about squirrels, we don't have squirrels," how many times have you heard that in your own organization?
It's like, "Ah, it's not a big deal. Don't worry about it." Well, when it happens it's definitely something to worry about. It's scary, expensive, can be catastrophic. And so, the point being is that we know and have known for a long time that... and we'll deal specifically here with squirrels and birds because they're number one and two statistically in terms of animal outages.
There are others, obviously, raccoons, possums, snakes, you name it. But in terms of statistics, squirrels are by far number one. And it tends to be true around the world. It's certainly true in the northeast of the United States, the East Coast, the Midwest, Ohio, Indiana, so on, places like that, Kentucky.
They're everywhere. But there are squirrels, literally, in every state. And there are squirrels, as far as I can tell, I've been in 50 different countries, there are squirrels around the world. They might not call them squirrels but they're something that looks just like that. So, Critter Guard has a 20-year track record with major utilities around the world, applying our products in a fairly unique way.
So, we're going to talk a little bit about why they're a little different, why our approach is different, why it works, and then we'll finish up with just a little summary. So, as Randy pointed out, just a little background on me, I bought this company in 2016. I've been involved in Global Industrial engineering, sales, process industry, energy sectors for the better part of 30 years now.
And if you'd have told me 10 years ago that I'd be involved with keeping squirrels off power lines, I'd told you you were nuts. But turns out it's a pretty active business. We do a lot of work around the world, and excited to do that. So, a little more about the company.
We're privately-held. The company started in 2001, in Columbia, Missouri. It actually got started by actually people I knew at the time. And the issue wasn't for utilities, it was really for homeowners. If any of you have ever seen a squirrel cross a power line, get on a roof, a private individual's roof with cedar-shake shingles, they chew and gnaw on the shingles and literally had done tremendous damage to this particular roof, which happened to be the relation to one of the individuals I knew.
And he came up with the idea that it's like, "Well, what if we created some spinners and rollers?" And that's really how Line Guard and then Pole Guard got started. So, since that time, we serve all these various markets. Mostly utilities, both power as well as communication, but water and sewer districts, contractors, architectural firms, pest-control firms, private homeowners, commercial business owners, you name it.
We ship around the world, we've got customers on six continents. And so, part of what I want to do, as we go through, is focus on some definitions as it relates to distinctions within animal mitigation. Within Critter Guard, we use the word "proactive," that's all part of that ounce of prevention, trying to be ahead of the game.
Because waiting for a squirrel to strike or a bird to strike can be catastrophic. So, proactive means controlling a situation before it's occurred, rather than just reacting to what happened. We also talk about the fact that our products are a barrier or a blockade. We're not just a cover, we basically stop the animal from going where he wants to go.
And then the definition of, "Well, what is a guard?" Well, there's lots of guards on the market offered and sold by lots of different companies. And so, that guard is how do you protect that underlying equipment? In our case, our guard is actually not protecting the underlying equipment, it's blocking the access to it.
So, a lot of these may be very familiar to most of you in the audience. You see everything from the ubiquitous bushing guards, down there on the right, to various forms and creations based on the size, the voltage, the clearance is necessary for any of the underlying equipment.
But in all cases every one of these guards is custom-engineered and custom-molded for that specific size. Critter Guard takes a different approach. So, when you specify those guards, you have a lot of questions.
Which one do you need to use? Where do I need to put it? Will it even fit? Because now you've got phase-to-phase clearances to deal with, you've got air gaps and insulation resistance and all of those technical issues. Maintaining it can be problematic because your guys have to get up there, remove the guard for thermography or any other sort of asset maintenance, especially if it's pole-mounted equipment.
And then, secondly, is, like, "Well, okay, is it even the right guard? Am I just creating another problem by putting this guard on?" Sometimes a fix here creates another problem downstream. So, we see all those kinds of challenges with putting up animal mitigation systems. But with Critter Guard, we're different.
Distinctly different, we say. And the difference is we block the access to that asset rather than cover the device. So, and the reason we take that approach is we tried to look for what's consistent or what's common with how a guard needs to work.
And the answer is, regardless of voltage, regardless of current, regardless of use, capacities, all of those things, they're all connected by a conductor. It may be a single-phase conductor, it may be three-phase, it may be a triplex, any number of different configurations, but there's always a conductor that, basically, acts like a highway for the squirrel or critter, as we would say, to get to wherever they want to go.
Now, they're attracted to that asset because of maybe it's humming or it's buzzing or maybe there's some heat being generated or maybe it's just on the way to some place else they want to go, but because they're naturally curious critters, they're going to stop and check things out.
Even if you've got a cover or a guard over a device, the animal will still stop and check out that cover. They may chew on it. Squirrels are interesting, I didn't know this years ago, but squirrels tend to be...or not tend, they are related to beavers.
Kind of an interesting little fun fact. Beavers are those animals with the long teeth that you've seen in cartoons and other issues but their teeth will grow, a squirrel's teeth will grow, up to 9 inches a year if they don't continually gnaw them down.
So, they're not actually chewing or eating to eat necessarily, they're chewing and working on wire, working on insulation, a piece of aluminum, a piece of flashing, whatever it might be, they're doing that not to eat it but to keep their teeth gnawed down. If they don't do that, they'll actually end up looking like a prehistoric animal.
And so, that's kind of a...I wish I could get a picture of one. I've seen one but I didn't capture it at the time, so, it's a pretty weird thing. So, the conductor is a highway, the overhead conductor. But also there's another highway, and that's the power pole. The power pole allows the critter access from the ground up to the overhead conductor...to, again, why do they want to go up there?
Well, first of all, there's no other predators up there. So, if they're on the ground, they're at risk. It might be a dog, it might be a cat, it might be a fox, it might be a raccoon. Anything else that could take the squirrel. But once they go up on the overhead conductor, they're safe. And so, going up and getting across the overhead structure is one of the first things they always do.
And the question is how do you get there? Well, they might go up another building but, if there's power poles around...and we've learned it doesn't matter whether it's a wood pole, a steel pole, a concrete pole, they'll go right up, like, nobody's business.
And so, getting access to that overhead highway is what they want to do. So, our products act like an overhead fence by blocking that highway. You've all got fences around your substations but do you have a fence overhead? That's tough to do, unless you're doing it with Critter Guard.
So, Line Guard is a near universal solution for overhead asset protection. In other words, we don't care whether it's 110-volt line to your house or if it's a 38-kV line into a substation or out of a substation or anywhere in between.
We've got some customers that actually apply it on transmission lines, at least that we know of, up to 77 kV. And the reason they can do that is because this is not an insulator, it's not applied or used like an insulator.
So, there's no difference to the line and the conduction in the line, whether it's got a series of rollers on it or not, because it doesn't affect the electrical flow, the insulation resistance, or any of that because you've already got established air gaps and you're not any closer by putting Line Guard on it. So, Line Guard's a fairly universal solution for overhead assets.
And as we say, it can be a little bit confusing because we call it "Line Guard," so, the name would imply that it's guarding the line, but, in fact, it guards the assets on the line. Because again, it blocks the highway. So, the design is one that actually...it's kind of like the game show, I don't know how many people see this, especially outside the U.S., but there's a fairly popular show that comes on, it's called "American Ninja Warrior."
And they have these contestants that have to jump onto barrels or tubs that are out in the water. And, as soon as they jump onto it, the barrel spins. So, it makes it hard to keep your balance. That's precisely what Line Guard as a system does. The system doesn't move by default, it doesn't spin by default, it mostly sits there.
But when an animal engages it and comes down the line, and I've got a short video here that we'll look at to show you what it does, once he does that, it makes him unstable. And it's very difficult, if he's hanging upside down, to be able to go forward.
He's pretty much got to go backwards the way he came. So, as opposed to covering a device, it actually blocks them from even making any forward progress. And so, they just, ultimately, give up and go back the way they came and look for another approach.
So, and then, because this is what's great about crawling animals, it doesn't really seem to matter whether it's a squirrel, a snake, a rat, you know, a chipmunk, even monkeys, even sloths, very slow-moving creatures, but they're about the size of a raccoon, they have those massive sharp claws and they move extremely slowly.
So, we've had good success protecting them because, in some countries where they will cross phases and, obviously, kill themselves, or at least desperately hurt them, they also knock out the equipment.
And so, there are sometimes environmental regulations that will come into effect, just like we have in the U.S. with birds, if you are responsible for killing a bird, especially a protected species, nobody wants that regulatory nightmare. So, I have a link here, due to the vagaries of presentations I'm not going to play it from here, I've got it loaded, and we'll go here.
Randy, can everybody see that?
- [Randy] Yes, it's fine, John.
- Okay, very good.
- Oh, wait, no. Click on the link.
- No, I pulled up a different screen. So, oh, I probably need to go...hang on a second. I probably need to go back to the screen to say what share is it...
- Yes, go back to stop sharing your screen and then share a new one.
- Here we go, we'll share this screen. How's that?
- Okay, very good. So, yeah, it's sometimes that link in the presentation doesn't work. Now, in the materials that you'll receive, you'll be able to go directly to the YouTube site. So, what you see here is this is a customer's overhead service access line, service entrance line. It actually, by side, it's pretty hard to tell but it looks like a triplex line.
And that animal, we call it a squirrel but, if you look at the tail, it actually looks more like a big rat. Six of one half does the other, as far as the system is concerned. You see the animal come down the line like a highway. He reaches the wheel but it spins him upside down, his own weight and the lack of friction on that wheel turns the animal upside down and he can't figure out what to do.
So, if they're really ambitious, they'll go back as this one does. And you'll see him come back here and he's going to try again. So, they keep working at it sometimes, and that's the reason there are five individual rollers there. There's not one long roller because, while this line looks fairly taut, most overhead lines, especially utility lines, will have a droop.
And there you see him try to jump, and it's all she wrote. So, once that happens and they try to jump over that wheel and land on one of the other rollers, once they hit the ground, you pretty much see them, they go somewhere else. There's like, "We're not going back there." So, that's just something to keep in mind how that works.
And we'll go back to the presentation. Everybody see that okay again?
- Okay. So, again, as we mentioned, you can use Line Guard on just about any... ...downlines, doesn't really matter. Doesn't matter whether it conducts electricity or not. It might be a guy-wire, we have them installed on a number of places with guy-wires because the guy-wire is an excellent access point for squirrels to overhead lines.
The ideal point is to install it anywhere on the line. You don't have to put it where it's going to be in your way, you can put it anywhere on the line between where a critter would come on the line, like, for instance, a pole or another building downstream, and the device you want to protect.
Maybe it's pole-mounted equipment or maybe it's a substation. If it's a substation, you definitely want to have the Line Guard installed outside the vertical line of sight of your fence, your physical fence. So that, when an animal drops off, like you just saw in the video, they drop off outside the fence, not inside the fence.
We have a number of different options. Most of these, to my knowledge, are installed de-energized but we have some customers with no choice where they're like, "No, we have to put it up hot," and in some cases they just use gloves, appropriately-rated gloves. In other cases they'll have their own clamps.
We also supply an optional hotline clamp using a hot stick. So, that works well. Again, the opening for the rollers by default is 1 inch. That covers the bulk of most overhead conductors at this voltage level. But there are triplex bundles and things like that that could be substantially larger than 1 inch in total diameter.
And to accommodate that, these rollers are made so they can be cut back in the field to whatever size you want, up to about a 3-inch cable bundle. So, the key requirement is make sure that each roller spins freely and independently of the others when you install it.
Okay. A second major product for Critter Guard is what we call Pole Guard. As I mentioned before, the power pole is also a highway for the animals to get up to the overhead assets, and Pole Guard blocks the highway. It uses a similar concept, we're using physical rigid plates that surround the pole, but then the same rollers that you saw in Line Guard.
So, those plates act like a blockade as the animal comes up from the ground to the overhead asset. Or to the top of the pole, maybe it's a crossarm or, you know, or a transformer, what have you, might be at the top of the pole, the plates make a physical blockade and it forces the animal to the outside of the plates.
It actually has holes throughout the plate that are designed to sort of fool the animal, to make them go to the outside. They can see through it. And so, they're like, "Oh, okay. Well, I'll just go around this." And as they try to go around it, the rollers are attached on the outside perimeter of these plates. And again, they're coming at it from upside down and they have to reach up over the spinning roller and try to grab it.
And because it spins and it's a very hard surface, they can't get their claws in it and they fall off or give up. So, that's one of the major issues with Pole Guard is that there's no way to jump it. There are other pole wraps and things like that on the market, we've seen animals go right over it. They get a running start and they act like it's not even there. But with Pole Guard, you can't go over it.
Because, once you jump out, well, you can't jump around it. So, that's one of the major advantages of Pole Guard. Again, I'm going to do this a little bit differently. We'll go up and share another screen. This is not nearly as good a video. And I've not fortunate enough to have a video of Pole Guard on a power pole, but you can see it works just as well on a tree.
As long as the tree or the pole is less than 12 inches in diameter, it'll work. So, you can see the squirrel going all around it, 360 degrees, trying everything he can to access up to the top of that tree, which happens to be a pecan tree, so, he's going for the fruit, but he can't do it. And after several attempts, he just gives up and goes back on the fence and says, "I'm going to go somewhere else."
So, that's really...I mean, it's a quite simple concept but it works like a dream. So, here's some examples of both Pole Guard and Line Guard. This particular one happens to be a water utility.
So, it shows a wooden pole, they had huge problems with this site for a number of years, tried a number of different things. You can see, on their guy-wires, they've got the traditional guy guards installed, but they said the squirrels were going right over them. Once they put up Line Guard on those lines...and it's interesting because that shows Line Guard in a less than horizontal mode, so, it shows you can install Line Guard, obviously, horizontal, which is the primary use of it, but it also will work on a guy-wire like this.
And you see Pole Guard on the wooden pole. Once they put this up, the animal outage is stopped. We also have iterations of Pole Guard. Customizations, if you will. You see on the left, there's a steel power pole. It's the exact same system but uses a different mounting system around the pole.
Same mounting system as would be used by utilities for mounting street signs or stop lights on steel poles. So, it's a tension banding system. And it's quite strong, it'll hold, you know, way more weight than the Pole Guard is designed to repel.
Also, you see on the right a fairly customized version with a fairly large riser conduit next to it. And the standoff was such that there was no way to make this work without making this customization. But again, once we did it, the animal stopped. We've also done customized projects for people.
In this case, with concrete poles, the example you see there was for a mining company with sort of a modified pole that was square or rectangular on two opposing sides and round on the other two opposing sides. But we had enough plate to be able to modify that, that worked fine.
And again, that job was for monkeys and that stopped the monkeys. In the case where the pole is smaller than 12 inches, we have what we call a gap filler. It's just a very simple piece of flexible conduit but it's an 1.5 in diameter and wraps around the pole...
- Sorry, John, somebody had their microphone turned on, I've muted it.
- Okay, very good. So, yeah, we can support poles down to about 9 inches in diameter, up to 12 inches in diameter. And again, there's no required mounting height.
Since most power poles taper as they rise, it's usually pretty easy to find an acceptable mounting height where the clearance or spacing between the pole and the pole guard plates is quite small. Obviously, if it was too large, it wouldn't be of any use, the end will go right between it.
So, that covers the crawling animals. And so, now, what about birds? How do we stop those? Well, this is a reasonably new product for Critter Guard, we've been offering this now for a couple of years, had some good success with it. We call it BirdBloc. And the reason we like it is it's actually very similar in concept to our strategy with Line Guard and Pole Guard.
It doesn't get in anybody's way. It's not a guard, it doesn't cover a device, it doesn't cover up a bushing on a transformer, it doesn't cover up, you know, a switch. It, basically, keeps the birds away from wherever that situation is. Most often it's in a substation over the top of a transformer pad or a bus bar or something like that.
And they'll create a nest and they'll make eggs. And, as they make eggs, then that attracts other animals. So, it's not a mechanical solution, it's a scent-based solution. So, when you get it out of the box, you're like, "Oh, okay. I know what this is."
So, that means, when you get it, you want to put it up right away, this is not something that you buy and put in inventory and wait till the next time your maintenance crew says, "Let's go address the bird issue." No, it's got to be put up as soon as you get it. So, it takes a little bit of planning. The advantage of this product is it's not like a fogger or any other typical mechanical diverter. Because of the smell, the smell has been engineered and the formulation has been engineered to last up to four months, we actually have two different formulations, one is really strong for initial installations, and it chases them out, and then the second one is a follow-up that will last up to four months long.
And the idea being that, if the birds in a couple of weeks decide, "Hey, let's go back and try again," they're going to smell this and not like it and move on. So, we've had good success with it with a number of different bird species. Pigeons, crows.
I will say that smaller birds tend to be a little more problematic because smaller birds don't breathe as much air at one time as a large bird, for instance, if it's a hawk or an eagle or an owl. We've had good success with Osprey Eagles, especially on the East Coast where they're hunters, and they'll perch on top of a tower, maybe even a transmission tower, and then, of course, they start building a nest.
And now you do have problems because, once they've built the nest, you can't get rid of them. By law. So, the challenge is, "How do I create an area where they don't want to build the nest?" And that's what BirdBloc does. It's not pleasant for humans. In other words, when you open the box, you're going to smell it.
But it won't harm you. And it doesn't harm the environment and it doesn't harm the bird. All the ingredients are EPA-registered, so, it's completely safe. We say it's basically like a vapor barrier but it's not a "Star Wars" energy field. The birds will fly through it, they just don't like hanging out once they smell it.
So, if they perch on a particular area and this material is deployed in that area in the right concentration, the birds will get a whiff of it and, over the course of sometimes one day up to three or four days, most of those birds will leave. There might be one or two hangers on but, over time, they'll leave because it, basically, gives them a headache is the best way we know how to describe it.
And so, there is a timed release on the odor. It will withstand rain and snow and freezing weather. But the idea of the timed release is that, again, plan your deployment but set it up such that you're accommodating the nesting season.
If you can keep them from nesting and building nests and hatching eggs during that season...which in North America is primarily the late winter early spring up through this time of year. And so, by this time of year, they've all hatched the nest and gone elsewhere and, you know, it's kind of hard to figure out what they're going to do.
But the other advantage of this, much like our Pole Guard and Line Guard products, once you put it up, you don't have to take it down, you don't have to maintain it, there's no work involved, you just leave it there and it chases the birds away. There are some prerequisites to deploying it, and number one of those is clean the area down, remove all the nests.
If a bird has nested in a place before, like last year, it's fairly well known they will come back because that scent of home, even in the old nest, is very strong. So, they want to keep coming back to where they were before. So, you have to remove those, you have to clean it down, maybe even disinfect it because you don't want their odor from the previous season to be there when you deploy BirdBloc.
You can use it in a lot of different areas. Substations is very popular. But overhead lines or bushings or anything over a bussbar you can just hang it...it lubes, there's no mechanical fixture required, you literally drape it with some yarn over the structure.
In the case of a substation, the physical structure, the i-beams, you can just drape it around those things and hang them close enough together so that the smell permeates that whole area. But it could go on crossarms, on poles, any place where a bird or multiple birds would perch and do damage.
A bird perching and leaving is not necessarily a problem, given wingspans and phase clearances, air gaps on your installations. So, you'll have to analyze that, whether that's a useful place to put it or not. But another popular place you see with depots and warehouses, we've got them in airport hangars and other maintenance depots.
Where there's a high bay ceiling, where the doors routinely open, the birds fly in and roost in the upper rafters and joists, but then they crap on everything down below. And it's a horrific nuisance, as well as a potential technical problem if that equipment down below is powered equipment because the acid from the bird droppings is lethal. It's not good.
We also got a number of power-generation stations that use it, again, because of the critical nature of that station and where the birds could cause damage, that's where it's been deployed. So, there's a couple examples here. On the left is one of those power-generation stations. This was a nuclear station.
A big, huge bunker. That was a 500 kV transformer, gas-filled, you know, phase conductors at the top. And the birds were all over it. And the linemen used their hot sticks and reached up and hung it around structural members up there, got them pretty close together, no birds since.
So, that's been fantastic. Another example on the right, and this is a pretty good example. I can't show the detail because it's already been cleared up but you see sort of the typical bushing guard around the phase connectors in the substation. Because of the proximity and size of those guards, they created an overlap.
So, one circle, if you will, would overlap the adjacent phase. That created a perfect area right behind it for a bird to build a nest. That went undetected for probably a year until that bird had eggs. And that attracted a coon that got into the substation fence.
That coon created a near miss. And so, it destroyed the coon, almost destroyed the substation, but they survived it. And then they put this up. You see the lineman hanging, again, using a hot stick, the bags. These just look like pouches, it's a granulated material.
In this case, we decided to group them together, that made a stronger sense in one location. Because the substation was powered and they couldn't shut it down for several weeks until planned shutdown time. And so, because they had this installation planned, we said, "Well, let's double up on it or triple up on it."
So, we put more bags of the product in one location, because we recommend to have these bags 3 to 5 feet apart. Based on the close working and safety practices of that particular substation, they couldn't get closer than 8 feet. And so, we doubled them up and tripled them up and hung more bags in one location, then went 8 feet away and hung more bags.
And I physically went back and visited the substation about a year later and they said, "That's been great, we haven't seen a bird since." And that's interesting because this particular location was right next to a wildlife preserve. So, they always had birds and waterfowl from the wildlife preserve, and now they're gone. So, they're a very happy customer.
So, again, to summarize, that's kind of the way Critter Guard goes about the ounce of prevention. It's not expensive to do it if you do it before you have an attack. But if you have an attack and you've already had an outage, well, you know what the damage is, it's not fun.
So, our point is you know it's coming, it doesn't really matter where you live. Sooner or later you're going to have an animal outage. So, what we do is we block the highway. We don't just cover the asset, we block the way of getting to the asset. And there's not a lot of engineering required. You don't have to figure out, "Is this going to work on that line?"
The answer is, "No, it'll probably work on that line." I mean, if you have a question, by all means, give us a shout and we'll help you out. And it can be put up hot. Obviously, with Pole Guard, there's no issue there, that can always be installed anytime. And key point, once they're installed, you don't have to go back.
You don't have to take them down, you don't have to fix them, you don't have to replace them. They're there. We have customers that have initial installations from more than 20 years ago, they're still in place and still working fine. No maintenance required. So, it's a very simple but very different type of animal mitigation approach. And we encourage you to come get some more information.
So, again, Randy, I appreciate that. That's it.
- Okay, great. Good presentation, as always. Thanks very much, John. The first question, this is from...okay, "What is the purpose of having a red-colored ball on the overhead lines? Is there a kilovolt restriction?"
- Well, generally, those are sold by another supplier but, generally, those are for one of two purposes. One is aircraft detection. So, the aircraft coming in to a landing strip, in many cases, especially out in rural areas, if you see those big orange or yellow balls on the line, look the opposite way and you'll probably find a short landing strip, you know, a private operator or something like that.
The other reason is for low-flying birds, such as turkeys, wild turkeys, or even geese, that, especially in areas like dams or water hydro power-generation stations, where those lines are generally pretty low-level to the surface, whether it's water or ground, but those lines are fairly low.
And what will happen is those particular species that I mentioned, the geese, the wild turkeys, they don't see very well. They smell pretty good, their sense of smell is good, but they don't see very well. And so, there have been outages where the birds will literally fly in through the phases, and that's a problem for, obviously, both the utility as well as the birds.
So, I'll be the first to admit, we don't have any installations like that, I'd love to get one because it would take a drone, but just like you could use a drone to install those other diverters, you can use a drone to install this product. So, again, we haven't done that because it's relatively new but we've certainly investigated it and there's no reason it wouldn't work.
- Okay, great. "Is the BirdBloc chemical methyl anthranilate?"
- Anthranilate. Yes, it's based on that. MA is the easy way to say it. MA is a fairly well-known bird deterrent. Years ago, it was used in foggers, still may be used in foggers. The problem with foggers is that they only last about a day, if that.
What we did with this formulation is we created a way with the time release where it hangs in there a lot longer.
- Okay. How do you install Line Guards on a live conductor? Is it hot-stick capable?
- Yes, it is. Normally, this is all done by bucket truck. And, you know, the product basically snaps over the line. So, these rollers that are shipped to you are fashioned like clam shells, identical clam shells. And they snap together in only one way, you can't screw it up.
And so, you put the clam shell hinge together first, so, now you have this kind of open book. And then, when you go up to the line with the appropriately-rated gloves for the voltage you're working on, you snap it over. And when it snaps, it snaps into place with a button stop.
So, once it snaps, it's not going to come apart. The wheels on each end have a split-wheel design, so, they slide right over. So, you don't have to touch the line at all. The only challenge is the fasteners on each end. Some customers use our built-in fasteners.
We have stainless-steel zip ties, as well as hose clamps. Some of our customers are like, "When I'm doing a hot installation, we won't use that." So, we also sell another eye-bolt design, C-clamp, if you will, that's used by a number of utilities, with a smooth face on one side and the eye bolt.
So, you can just hang the C-clamp on each end and then use your hot stick to fasten it down and secure it. All you're trying to do is keep the system from sliding apart. There are five independent rollers and wheels, all the rollers are identical, but you want them to spin independently.
If one of them or two of them slide away because of the droop on the line, the system won't be nearly as effective.