Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis of the North American overhead electrical transmission and distribution structure markets selected Valmont-Newmark as the recipient of the 2005 Award for Product Line Strategy for its wide-ranging overhead structure solutions. The company has achieved significant success in a highly capital-intensive, mature market, where manufacturers need to display excellent entrepreneurial acumen to arrive at the right combination of offerings.
Utilities are increasingly considering a more diverse range of options for their tower and pole needs, as they are under pressure to cost effectively improve grid reliability and maximize operating efficiencies. They have also begun to analyze total life-cycle costs as well as aesthetic and environmental factors. Such moves are phasing out the traditional wood pole or steel lattice structure.
"By adding concrete poles to its line of utility structure alternatives, Valmont now has the capability to provide structures in the two fastest growing segments in the overhead transmission and distribution structure market, namely, steel and concrete monopoles," says Frost & Sullivan's Roberto Torres. "It is also adding wind towers to its product line to seize opportunities in the rapidly expanding renewable power generation segment."
A utility's service area is typically exposed to numerous terrain and weather conditions. For instance, transmission or distribution lines may cross mountains, rivers, or be exposed to hurricanes or severe icing conditions. Similarly, power lines will also pass through varying urban landscapes. By offering a wide range of overhead line structures, Valmont- Newmark can meet varied customer requirements with great precision and efficiency.
"This wide array of products enables Valmont-Newmark to satisfy the diverse needs of utilities and thereby, expand its presence in the overall utility structure industry," observes Torres. "Its steel pole unit has experienced healthy growth as utilities are increasingly replacing wood poles or lattice towers with steel poles for their superior strength and compact footprint."
Valmont-Newmark's concrete pole unit is also growing briskly as utilities become better informed on the economics and recent advances in concrete pole design. Its additional products target niche applications. For example, its recently introduced MusclePole(TM) is a concrete-filled steel pole for use in places where there are space constraints such as sidewalk clearances required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Its product line continues with a hybrid pole model, which uses an embedded concrete base section and tubular steel for the upper portion of the pole. It is designed for use as an alternative to conventional drilled pier, anchor bolt and base plate foundation systems, or direct embedded steel poles in corrosive or wetland type soil conditions and upgrading of existing power lines.
"Valmont's decision to broaden its utility structure product line not only enables it to expand its portion of the utility pole market, but also positions Valmont-Newmark for future growth in the evolving electrical transmission industry," notes Torres. "Steel and concrete poles are increasingly supplanting both wood poles and lattice steel structures in North America's installed base of overhead structures."
Currently, steel and concrete poles comprise a small portion of the vast installed base, which will need replacing or upgrading in future. In the mature utility pole industry, concrete and steel are developing markets with huge potential.
Each year, this Award is presented to a company that has exhibited the most insight into customer needs and product demands. The recipient company has optimized its product line by leveraging products with various price, performance, and feature points required by the market.