In a 2013, an assessment of America’s infrastructure received a concerning report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). In the report, “the ASCE gave the nation a grade of D, with aviation, roads and transit getting D's; and ports and rail a C and C, respectively. The overall grade was a slight improvement from D in 2009.” The ASCE emphasized that, "America's critical infrastructure—principally, its roads, bridges, drinking water systems, mass transit systems, schools, and systems for delivering energy—may soon fail to meet society's needs."1
Joshua Schank, president of the Eno Center for Transportation, believes that directing funds toward more strategic investments and operational decisions is the best way to improve our infrastructure. For roads and bridges, corrosion control is one of the most critical areas in which strategic investment will lead to long-term improved performance.
An article by NACE International, the world’s leading authority on corrosion control, states that, “corrosion is a potentially catastrophic issue that affects almost every part of our daily lives. In addition to threatening the environment and public safety, unmitigated corrosion costs the U.S. economy in a 2012 study over $1 Billion. The good news is that if we have proper-control plans and utilize qualified professionals, corrosion is a largely preventable issue. NACE members have shown that.”
NACE emphasizes that in order to ensure success of corrosion control programs, we must implement the use of proper coatings, cathodic protection systems, and qualified personnel. Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures, manufacturer of the world’s most frequently specified fiberglass enclosure products, continues to provide unique solutions to fight the detrimental effects of corrosion. Below are three case studies on successes in the transportation market and the use of Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures. The stories prove how composites provide a viable and long-term solution to prevent corrosion in a variety of transportation projects.
Case Study One: Stahlin Non-Metallic enclosures provides lightweight, durable, corrosion-resistant surge protection for Wavetronix’s Click! traffic data device.
|Photo Caption: Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosure used for Wavetronix Click! Devices|
Wavetronix was initially informed that metallic enclosure options would be the best option for meeting their requirements. That, however, proved to be incorrect. They needed an enclosure lightweight enough to be pole-mounted, and durable enough to withstand the outdoors and reliably protect sensitive electronics. Metallic enclosures were certainly not the best option for achieving reduced weight enclosures, nor do they offer the most reliable protection against harsh environments and corrosion damage found in transportation applications. Wavetronix continued seeking the expertise of professionals to find the best enclosure option that would meet all requirements for their Click! devices. Consequently, Wavetronix discovered the benefits provided by non-metallic composite enclosures.
“We’ve been using Stahlin J-Series enclosures for years now. During this time, we have discovered the extra benefit of easy modification. We can perform easy field modifications, and Stahlin also offers quick turnaround factory-based custom hole drilling. We also have the option to use both a link lock latch and a padlock latch,” stated Kevin Hurst of Wavetronix. He added, “ Stahlin enclosures provide the additional bonus of SolarGuard®, a patented, double-protection formulation technology that significantly enhances the molecular bond strength and crosslinking that occurs during the curing process in thermosetting polyester sheet molding compounds (SMC). Stahlin’s SolarGuard® system provides additional protection with a unique additive that fights polymer degradation by making it more difficult for UV light to attack molecular bonds of both primary molecular chains and crosslinks of the resin matrix. SolarGuard® was developed specifically to beat the effects of outdoor UV exposure, plus provide superior chemical and flame resistance in a non-halogenated formula. SolarGuard® requires less maintenance than paint, wax or gel-coat alternatives used to prolong the life of electrical enclosures in outdoor environments.”
Case Study Two: Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures lightweight custom enclosure protects street lighting controls from harsh Michigan outdoor environment.
|Photo Caption: Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures produced a custom enclosure for the City of Belding Lighting project|
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) awarded the City of Belding with a $650,000 enhancement grant for sidewalks, pathways, decorative lights, and trees to improve M-44 within the City of Belding.
The challenge was selecting the proper electrical enclosures to protect the electrical connections and wiring used to achieve the desired lighting results. It was necessary that enclosures be large enough to house the controls upon which the lighting system functioned. The project also required an enclosure manufacturer that could offer the capabilities to effectively produce a customized enclosure to meet our individualized performance needs. On top of these requirements, the project needed an enclosure that would, over the long-term, protect the enclosed system from corrosion and environmental forces that might otherwise damage and jeopardize the investment.
Due to the large size requirements (48”x36”x16”) of the enclosure, a steel enclosure option would be very heavy to handle during installation and would cost more than the budget allowed. Fortunately, the engineers on the project knew that composite fiberglass materials might offer a significant advantage over metallic alternatives.
Specifically, composites have improved flexural strength because they can withstand an impact without permanent deformation or denting. Composite fiberglass also offers an effective continuous service temperature that ranges from -73 degrees F to +250 degrees F, meaning that enclosures molded from this material will withstand even the most difficult operating environments.
Fleis and Vanderbrink provided the necessary specs to Stahlin's engineering team, enabling Stahlin to quickly expedite the customized order and deliver it to the City of Belding well within the required turnaround time.
Case Study Three: Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures protects speed sign controls from
damaging UV-Rays to ensure long-term trouble-free operations.
|Photo Caption: Stahlin Enclosure houses controls for speed sign system for long-term reliability|
Many designers and manufacturers of speed sign systems are making the switch to non-metallic enclosures to properly protect controls, as they have discovered some definite advantages over other options such as stainless steel. A few of the advantages include lighter weight that makes installation easier, reduced cost, improved impact resistance and new composite material formulations like SolarGuard®, a patented sheet molding compound formulation that provides superior molded-in UV resistance.
For more information on Wavetronix: www.wavetronix.com
For more information on FLEIS & VANDENBRINK : http://www.fveng.com/
For more information on Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures: