A composites materials application I recently looked at was a man-lift bucket made from composites. These man-lift buckets are mounted on a lifting arm atop a work truck to lift workmen up to perform utilities repairs and service. This is an application that has been around for a long time, and is a great fit for composites materials.

Utility bucket lays sideways for travel

Utility bucket lays sideways for travel

These buckets are designed to hold one or two people and allow them to perform jobs such as hanging electrical wires, television cable, and telephone lines. The workers also need to work on the utility poles and trim the trees and vegetation growing near the lines.

This is a great composites application for serveral reasons.

*The composites allow the manlift bucket to be non-conductive for safety reasons. Many other considerations are made to prevent electrocution, and this adds to those safety considerations.

*The bucket is also lightweight due to composites, which allow for greater lifting capacity of the workers and their tools because weight is not used in the lifting device itself.

*These trucks spend the majority of their lives outdoors, and the anti-corrosive nature of composites helps give these manlift buckets long lives.

Fiberglass composites are normally non-conductive, and this is a very important consideration for applications such as these involved with utilities. Composites are found in many applications where electrocution is possible.

Not all composites materials are non-conductive, however. The use of conductive fillers and reinforcements can allow for electricity to travel in these applications. Carbon fiber and carbon black are a couple of ingredients that can cause this. Testing finished composites for conductivity can be conducted to determine their insulative properties.