Frequently Asked Questions

 Q. Why was AMPJACK® invented?

A. The industry has been raising towers for a few decades, but with difficult access and tightening environmental constraints it is getting difficult and expensive to do with Cranes. Also with Cranes you need to take the power out and we wanted to come up with a way to raise towers and keep the lights on. Our goal was to improve safety, decrease environmental impact and allow utilities to do the raises while the line remained energized. To date we have successfully achieved all of these goals.

 

Q. Why do Utilities want to raise towers?

A. There are various reasons; the two big ones are trying to meet safety code regulations which dictate how close the wire can be to the ground at its hottest operating temperature, and to increase the lines current capacity.  If you want to push more power down a line, the wire heats up and sags more, then you don’t meet that minimum safety clearance. But if you can raise the tower line then you can push more power and still meet the safety codes. Think of it as being able to increase the size of a oil pipeline without having to dig it up and put in a bigger line. If you could do that for oil companies you would really have their attention, well that’s what we can do for power utilities.

 

Q. What is the benefit of AMPJACK®?

A. We can do the raises while the line is energized, no large equipment required, can be heli-lifted in, no matting etc. Also it is a fully engineered lift solution. That increases safety significantly. Because we analyze the existing line and tower and how the new raise affects the tower we understand the raise in a way that was never understood before.

 

Q. How does AMPJACK® increase safety?

A. Because we have positive control of the tower at all times, (in other words the tower is never really split) it is always connected through AMPJACK®, no one is working under a suspended load. This increases the safety significantly over traditional raising with a crane and having the tower top swinging around overhead.

 

Q. How does AMPJACK® save the customer money?

A. The big one is that because the lines can stay energized, the utility does not lose the big revenue that power lines pull in every hour of the day. Also many utilities have power purchase agreements with guarantees attached to them and if they are not selling power they often pay a penalty to their customer. Also it flattens out the construction schedule and makes it easier to plan. Trying to get outages on these lines is very difficult and often the crews have to work on weekends or evenings during low peak times. AMPJACK® allows the crews to work during regular shift times and is much easier to schedule than work that requires outages and large equipment such as cranes. 

 

Q. How is AMPJACK® better for the environment?

A. Because AMPJACK® is modular and light weight we can mobilize it with light duty equipment. This means we don’t need to mat the right of way the way they do for cranes and bucket trucks. This is a huge benefit to the utility because matting can be very expensive but can also cause damage to the ROW and can be hard on the environment. Also we do not have to drive a huge caravan of equipment across long distances, creeks, waterways etc. We do not need to build access roads such as required by cranes. You have to remember that often transmission lines are built in difficult terrains and cross long distances, sometimes in protected areas, rain forest, along water ways, or in farm lands. It can be very disrupted and damaging to the environment when you bring heavy equipment in to do maintenance work. The AMPJACK® reduces that environmental impact significantly. It is a win-win for everyone.

 

Q. How does AMPJACK® work?

A. It's basically a highly engineered crane in a box. We design the AMPJACK® for the specific project tower. Once that is complete we fabricate the tower specific components and then ship it to site. Because AMPJACK® is designed to be modular and light weight we can mobilize it to the tower site with very little equipment. (a few light duty trucks and a soft track skid steer or by helicopter). Once the components are at the base of the tower, we send them up each piece at a time with simple rigging. Basically we build a tower inside the tower with hydraulics. We attach the AMPJACK® to the tower with friction feet and then pull the bolts on the tower section where we plan to split and up it goes. Pretty simple once all the design is complete. Once the tower is raised we bolt in a new section of steel and then can salvage out the AMPJACK® system and move it to the next tower for the next raise.

 

Q. How high can we raise a tower?

A. The height of the raise is a factor of many things, how much more clearance you need? How loaded the existing tower is (does the tower have extra capacity)? The wire tensions sometimes come into play as well, especially in mountainous areas where the spans can be short and long and have large elevation changes. But very often we are able to come up with a cost effective raise plan that helps the utility meets its requirements. We generally limit the individual lift to 5 ft increments. This is done so that our hydraulics do not get too large, so if we need to raise a tower 10 or 15 ft then we lift it 5 ft, 2 or 3 times. Much like inch worming the tower up. That also increases the safety of the raise since we are only raising 5ft at a time and the bending forces are limited within a safe tolerance.

 

Q. How long does a raise take?

A. Typically we can complete 10 -15 ft raise in 2 to 2.5 days, depending on weather and access of course. But because the power is never off, it is not as critical to get things done quickly, safety is always the most important factor and with AMPJACK® we increase the safety while reducing environmental impact and increasing productivity and reliability for an economical cost.