||Pole Erection Unit
||Installation of poles
||200348 to 200387 (ELP 773 - 812C) 1965
|Date of picture
P.O. ENGINEERING DEPT.
TOOLS & TRANSPORT
Issue 1, 4.11.66
MECHANICAL AIDS DATA SHEET
Pole Erection Unit
1. General Description
The apparatus is mounted on the reinforced chassis of a Bedford vehicle with full power
take-off facilities. The vehicle cab provides seating for the driver and one passenger and a crew compartment behind the cab enables a third man to be carried if and when required. Two
full length lockers, one on either side of a central gangway, provide adequate accommodation for all the tools and stores required to be carried on the unit. Provision has been made for a Ladder, Extension, No. 5 to be carried on the roof of the near side locker. Two pole bolsters, one behind the vehicle cab and one at the rear of the lockers, have been provided. They are designed to carry approximately 30 cwt. of poles in three banks. The front bolster also supports the derrick in its stowed position.
The apparatus consists of a hydraulically operated derrick with a telescopic boom, mounted at the near side of the
chassis at the rear. On the extendible portion of the boom are mounted a pole
hole borer and a winch; both hydraulically operated. Stability of the unit is ensured by means of the two stabilizing jacks which can be lowered hydraulically before putting the unit to work. Rotation of the derrick is continuous in either direction.
All movements of the derrick, pole hole borer, winch and jacks are controlled from a panel at the rear of the vehicle. The functions of each control lever are clearly marked on the panel. An
engine speed governor, remotely controlled from the panel, is also provided.
2. Auxiliary equipment
A hydraulically operated pole jack and a backfill rammer are provided with each unit. Both are operated from hydraulic
connexions quick couplers at the near side of the vehicle and are controlled from the panel.
3. Related Instructions
Operating procedure and user maintenance instructions .. .. .. P 4005
P.O. Motor transport: speed limits .. .. .. Vehicles, D 0022
Use of the pole erection unit .. .. .. LINES, Overhead, C 3203 (when available)
|| 1 ton at 6 ft. radius
10 cwt. at 22 ft radius
8 cwt. at 24.5 ft radius
|| 3 ft. to 31 ft 3:in.above ground
||12in, diameter holes up to 11 ft. 6 in. deep at any
position around the vehicle with in the radii of 14 - 22 ft.
||5 tons S.M.L.
| Overall length
|| Maximum weight of poles
|| Maximum gross moving weight
|Fuel Tank Capacity
|| 26 gal.
|Electrical System Voltage
Serial No range from 200348 to 200387.
Mechanical Aid Serial Nos. 70177/1 to 40.
Pole Erection Units
Taken from External Plant News - No. 1 July 1966
Each Area will shortly have received two Pole Erection Units (PEUs), which
should lighten the work of pole erection and make conditions safer. The
safety helmets worn by the men will be available as a personal issue to external
The Pole Erection Unit bores the hole neatly - up to 11 ft. 6 in. deep -
lifts the pole and plants it. This can be done up to 22 ft. 6 in. from the
vehicle, a four-wheel drive truck, designed for cross-country travel.
Two types are being purchased, the Tel-e-Lect, manufactured by the King Truck
Co., and the Polecat, manufactured by Simon Engineering Co. Both PEUs are
very similar in construction and can carry up to nine poles.
The method by which a pole is gripped at the end of the jib differs.
The Polecat grips the pole with two hydraulically operated claws, while the
Tel-e-Lect winches the pole against two wide cheeks on the winch motor mounted
at the end of the jib.
The machines will be used to erect most of the 100,000 poles erected every
year, plus the extractions. Poles in inaccessible sites such as gardens
behind houses, will still require traditional manual methods for erecting.
To replace a pole an hydraulic jack is used to jack out the decayed pole, which
is safely held by the jib of the PEU.
The hydraulic power of the PEU is also used to operate a rapid punner to
consolidate the earth around the new pole.
With the poling work concentrated on specialist two-man parties, the
remaining overhead gangs can be reduced in size, effecting a considerable saving
All Regions in the Northern section of the country are equipped with Tel-e-Lect
type machines and the remaining Regions with the Polecat type.
|Vehicle ready for the hole boring operation. Notice the hydraulically
operated legs which support the vehicle during these operations, and
the plot-form for the operator.
An important part of the equipment is the Locator No. 1A which is an
electronic 'dowser' used to locate buried services in the vicinity of the pole
site prior to boring. Briefly, the Locator to consists of a Transmitter,
operating at a frequency of 80 Kc/s modulated with an audio tone, and a Detector
fitted with a headphone and a meter to give a visual indication. Frame aerials
are fitted to the Transmitter and Detector cases. The transmitted signal
induces a current into any buried conducting service, i.e. cable (P.O. or
electricity), gas or water pipe, which is detected as a radiated signal along
the run of the service. The Detector is positioned over the intended pole
site, whilst the Transmitter is carried round in a circle of approximately 25
The radiated signal is received by the Detector, and the position of a buried
service is indicated by a sharp increase in the signal strength when directly
above the line of the service. A more precise location can then be obtained by
use of a ' null-point' method. The Locator to can also be used to
determine the depth of a buried service.
The PBU crew, which consists of a Technician I and Technician IIA, will be
fully trained in the use of the vehicle and the Locator No. 1A.
|The detector and receiver which
comprise the Locator No. 1A. These clip together for transit.
The small foot on the transmitter is to give extra stability when
free standing in one of the locating operations.
|The photograph shows a Tel-e-Lect unloading a
pole at the site of work. The vehicle can carry up to nine poles
which are loaded at the pole stack using the jib. The auger is
stowed away whilst using the jib for this type of operation and when
The Pole-Erection Unit
R. J. HUNTf
Taken from the
THE POST OFFICE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS' JOURNAL -
As a result of a work study most Telephone Areas are being equipped with one or more pole-erection units. This article briefly describes the pole-erection unit and the reasons for its introduction.
The training of operators, typical working procedures, and the organization and control of the unit’s work are also described.
In the past, various forms of mechanical assistance for pole-erection work have been tried by the British Post Office to a limited extent. The aids ranged from a tractor-mounted pole-hole borer, which still left the
men to erect the pole, to a fully mechanized unit such
as the line-construction vehicle, of which three have been in use on a trial basis for 3 years.
A work study of these machines in operation was
conducted during 1964, and the results indicated that
financial savings of the order of 10 per cent could be
expected from the introduction of total mechanization
of poling work.
In addition to this, considerable savings are to be
expected from the streamlining of the remainder of the
overhead work which becomes possible when the poling
content is removed. The number of men in each working
party can be reduced, and smaller vehicles can be used,
with resultant direct financial savings and an increase
in the efficiency of working. Estimates of these savings
have been made, but reliable figures will not be obtained
until the new methods have become established and
further work study has been conducted.
Most Telephone Areas will be equipped with these
specialist machines to deal solely with poling work;
a total of 100 have been purchased, and their allocation
to Telephone Areas has been made on the basis of the
number of poles erected annually. The majority of
Areas have at least one machine and some have up to
PRINCIPAL FEATURES OF UNIT
Comparison With Line-Construction Vehicle
The line-construction vehicle 1 was designed as a
multi-purpose vehicle, and was equipped to carry out
such operations as underground cabling, mole ploughing
and overhead wiring and cabling work as well as pole
erection. These extra features are not required in the
present application, and the pole-erection unit is intended
to be used at this stage for the erection and recovery of
poles and the provision of stays.
The main differences between the pole-erection unit
and the line-construction vehicle are that the winch is
smaller and mounted on the end of the jib, a personnel
bucket for the jib is not provided, and a heavier chassis
and different body are provided to increase the pole
FIG. 1—GENERAL VIEW OF KING TEL-E-LECT MACHINE
FIG. 2—GENERAL VIEW OF SIMON POLECAT MACHINE
Dimensions and Capacities of Pole-Erection Unit
The machines are of two types, the King ‘ Tel-E-Lect
(Fig. 1) and the Simon “Polecat” (Fig. 2), and differ in
some details although they are broadly similar in
function. All pole-erection units will be painted yellow.
A brief specification of the main features of the machines
is given below; figures for the Polecat, if they differ from
those for the Tel-E-Lect, are given in brackets. When
the vehicle is carrying poles these may project beyond the
dimensions given for the overall length and height.
Overall length (unladen): 21 ft.
Overall width with stabilizer jacks retracted: 8 ft
(8 ft 6 in.).
Overall height (unladen): 12 ft.
Gross moving weight: 11 tons 2 cwt.
Pole-carrying capacity: 30 cwt. This represents
approximately nine poles of assorted sizes in
Lifting capacity: 1 ton at a radius of 6 ft (4-10 ft),
and 8 cwt at the maximum radius of 24 ft 6 in.
(22 ft 6 in.).
Auger size: 12 in. diameter, but others could be fitted.
Maximum depth of boring: 6 ft 6 in. This can be increased in 1 ft steps to 11 ft 6 in. by repositioning the auger down its driving shaft.
Reach of jib for boring : 14-22 ft (13 ft 6 in.-21 ft).
Maximum size pole which can be erected or recovered: approximately 50 ft, subject to weight limitations.
Ancillary equipment: hydraulic backfill tamper and
TRAINING OF OPERATORS
The pole-erection unit operators must become skilled specialists in order to make maximum use of the machine’s capabilities and to avoid causing expensive damage due to misoperation. They are, therefore,
selected for their mechanical aptitude combined with a good basic knowledge of overhead work, and receive
specialist training in the operation and day-to-day
maintenance of the machine. The training consists of an
intensive 1-week course at the Home Counties Regional
Training Centre, and covers basic manipulation of the
machine, detection of buried underground services plant,
a limited amount of actual pole-erection work, and
day-to-day maintenance. A minimum period of 3
weeks is then spent with a working party experienced in
using the pole-erection unit in the field to gain a broader
appreciation of the problems likely to be encountered.
Experience has shown that, due to the unusually heavy and uneven wheel loadings, driving the pole-erection
unit over bad ground conditions requires specialist
training, and this is also being arranged.
USING THE POLE-ERECTION UNIT
Detection of Underground Services Plant
The size, power and speed of operation of the soil
auger are such that it is essential to make every effort
to ensure that there is no underground plant present
which it might damage, and local-authorities’ records
must always be consulted before boring operations are
The possibility of developing a special detector for
underground plant has been considered, but, for the time
being, the best existing equipment for the purpose, the
Locator No. 1A, is being used. The Locator No. 1A is
basically a transistor radio-frequency transmitter and
detector set, which combines the functions of a metal
detector and track locator. The basic way in which it is
used by pole-erection unit operators is to position the
detector over the proposed pole position and to carry
the transmitter in a circle around the detector. The two
parts of the instrument are kept in alignment during this
operation, and if the transmitter passes over metallic
services plant, which also runs past the proposed pole
position, a signal is heard in the detector headphone;
Fig. 3 shows the instrument being used in this way.
Obviously, great care must be exercised in checking the
proposed pole site.
In addition to metallic services plant there are,
unfortunately, a considerable number of empty earthenware pipes, plastics and asbestos-cement pipes, buried
brick structures, etc., for which there is no means of
The presence of manhole covers, stopcocks, reinstatement scars, etc., on the surface and their layout in
relation to the roads and any adjacent houses, etc., can
often provide an indication of the positions of underground services plant, and in some instances it will be
obvious from this information that it would not be safe
Proposed pole site under
investigation by the crew using the Locator No. 1A. The PEU control
panel can be
clearly seen at the rear of the vehicle.
FIG. 3 - LOCATOR No. 1A BEING USED TO CHECK A PROPOSED POLE
In the absence of any positive indication from the
Locator No. 1A, or of any deduced information such as
that described above, it is assumed that the position is
safe for boring, unless there is some other doubt which
warrants the excavation of a pilot hole by manual means.
In a straightforward case of erecting a pole the sequence of operations is as
Team puts on safety helmets, positions the
vehicle, sets out road signs, etc., and engages the power
take-off to drive the hydraulic system.
The proposed pole position is checked for the.
presence of buried services.
The stabilizing jacks are lowered, and, using the
jib as a crane, the pole is unloaded from the vehicle and
set down on the ground on a pole horse for dressing.
The auger is released from its rest position
on the side of the jib, and is lowered into the working position. The pole hole is bored and the auger is
restored to its rest position.
Using the jib as a crane, the pole is picked up at
a point about one-third of its height from the top and is
raised into a vertical position by winching it in to the
tip of the jib.
The pole is manoeuvred into the pole hole by
rotation, extension, elevation and depression of the jib,
as necessary, and the jib is used to hold it vertical during
backfilling (see Fig. 4).
The hydraulic backfill tamper is connected to the
hydraulic-accessory points, and is used to backfill around
The vehicle is finally restored to road trim.
This sequence of operations can take as little as 20
minutes under ideal conditions. In practice, five to nine
poles are usually erected by one pole-erection unit in
FIG. 4 - POLE BEING HELD IN POSITION DURING BACKFILLING
For pole recovery the machine is set up as shown in
Fig. 5, using similar techniques to those described above.
The hydraulic jack is connected to the hydraulic-
accessory points, the grip on the pole being obtained by
fixing a chain around the pole and engaging it in a fork
at the top of the jack ram. The pole is then jacked out,
the winch rope, holding the top of the pole, being kept just
sufficiently tight to steady the pole as the butt comes out
of the ground. The pole is then lowered to the ground,
ready for any stripping that may be necessary before
loading it on to the vehicle.
The pole is under complete control all the time, and
this ensures a high degree of safety compared with
FIG. 5 - MACHINE SET UP TO RECOVER POLE
A new type of stay anchorage 2 has been introduced
to replace the existing stay block method, thus speeding
up this part of the overhead-construction process to
match the speed of the pole-erection unit for poling.
A screw-in stay anchor is installed by the pole-erection
unit in line with the proposed line of the stay wire. The
anchor is driven in by an adaptor, which is virtually a
long box-spanner fastened to the auger driving shaft
in place of the auger itself. The adaptor passes over the
stay-anchor rod and engages on a square boss just in
front of the anchor plate (see Fig. 6).
The installation of a screw-in stay anchor takes only a
matter of minutes, and the holding power that can be
obtained is adequate for over 95 per cent of staying
situations encountered. In the few instances where
heavier staying is required two or more separate stays
are fitted, each with its own anchor.
A new method of terminating stays using helical
wrap-on stay grips is being introduced in conjunction
with the screw-in stay anchor, and this will further speed
up the staying operation.
FIG. 6 - SCREW-IN STAY ANCHOR AND ADAPTOR BEING STARTED INTO
ORGANIZATION AND CONTROL OF POLING WORK
Initially the pole-erection unit in a Telephone Area
will work to a “poling control,” in the major-works
control or in the installation control; this is another
matter that will be reviewed when mechanized poling
has become established.
The function of the poling control is to receive all requests for poling work
from advice notes,* from extracts from estimates for development work, and for
maintenance and renewal work. The work is then programmed and issued to the
pole-erection unit party in an order which is determined on such considerations
as priority, grouping of work in a geographical area, and reduction of
travelling. As an aid to this programming, each poling control is equipped with a large-scale
map of the Telephone Area on which the positions of
works are indicated to provide an initial visual guide.
It is expected that the pole-erection units will erect
practically all the poles, the exceptions being where the
site is either inaccessible, such as in a back garden, or is
* Advice note: a document issued by the Sales Division of a
Telephone Manager’s office and which constitutes the authority
for carrying out certain installation or other work.