A combination of industry experience, good ideas, hard work, and engineering prowess makes Sherman+Reilly synonymous with high-quality, forward-thinking solutions for electric utility conductor installation. The latest case in point is the development of our E+ Series, our electric battery powered units that are transforming conductor pulling operations.
The first E+ Series unit developed was the Duct Dawg DD-75 E+ underground electric puller. Five years in development this unit showcased the strength and innovation of Sherman+Reilly’s staff of engineers. With 30 years in the field, the Duct Dawg platform was already time-tested and regarded by customers as the quintessential underground cable puller. But at Sherman+Reilly, innovation always beckons. Like other equipment and automobiles moving to electric power, it was time for pulling equipment to further evolve as well. The goal in engineering the E+ electric units was to meet or exceed the existing capabilities of our well-established and well-liked distribution diesel-powered cable pullers.
"...no matter what jobsite exceptions might develop, the electrical battery power would not be a limiting factor.” -Director of Engineering Doug MacDonald
But there is an obvious challenge with units that are only battery powered. “When the battery runs out, the work stops. The operator is left without power and cannot continue pulling,” points out Director of Engineering Doug MacDonald. “We wanted to create an electrically powered cable puller, but also wanted to make sure that no matter what jobsite exceptions might develop, the electrical battery power would not be a limiting factor.”
To start at the beginning, MacDonald explains, “The E+ Series was developed with input from not just our customers and end users, but also our engineering group and production team. As we started prototyping designs in 2018, we had back-and forth discussions with our colleagues in assembly that yielded valuable insights. There was also input from select customers and real-world jobsite testing experience with our existing diesel-powered Duct Dawgs and later our electric prototype. Taking all this in led to several iterations developing the E+ Series. Getting feedback and rolling that feedback back into the process makes for the best possible outcome.”
Lead Engineer Tim Hanson stated, “The E+ was a team effort, beginning with gaining a clear cost target. Evaluating the first electric hybrid prototypes that we made several years ago, we each noted everything we thought could be done better. On the cost side, we realized that we were using an oversized engine to drive an oversized generator. The electrical circuit also had a lot of complications. So, these observations from our earlier designs gave us ideas to develop our E+ Series. From there, we had to develop and program the solutions.”
Engineering the electrical system and computer controls and coding is the forte of Nichole Shelton and Tony Maxwell. New to Sherman+Reilly at the time the E+ project kicked off, Maxwell recalls being “excited that we were going to be doing some new things as we got into the electric-drive market. We’re able to work with our outside vendors for solutions but it is also important that we’re able to develop and program our own solutions. We have future product plans that are going to change the industry.”
Jumping off from that remark, Doug MacDonald observes that “We were initially looking to build an electric powered unit but so many product benefits came from this including developing not only a more environmentally sustainable product but also a sustainable product-development group as well. We embarked on the E+ Series because it had become obvious that electrification was a hand-in-glove fit with our mission to get every lineman home every night, no exception.”
That perspective extends beyond protecting customers. “Our design is also benefiting people walking past our E+ Series units because diesel fumes are not being blown in their faces,” says MacDonald. “That’s another example of the obvious benefits of electrification.” Sherman+Reilly’s engineers “love that this is a watershed moment,” notes MacDonald. To be sure, this is a big deal in the company's nearly 100-year history. We’re leading the industry in this regard. And that’s pretty special.”
Another operational benefit of the electrical units is the instantaneous torque. The controlled response to the operator’s command inputs has been described as “transformational.” When the pulling command is given via the remote control, the unit just pulls. There’s no revving up of an engine to build up hydraulic pressure to break the static friction; there’s just the precisely controlled pull. The engineered design of these E+ units has significantly improved the operational experience for the guys pulling the wire. It’s also improved communications around the unit because of the quiet electric operations, which leads to a safer jobsite.
Through a long, careful, interactive process, the E+ Series units are engineered to check all the boxes for reliable, safe, and energy-efficient cable pulls. E+ Series units deliver quiet operation and zero emissions in all-day pulling, with full, instantaneous torque and smooth, precision control, and automatic battery management.
“The interactive and iterative engineering process led to the development of the E+ Series units that are being very well received in the marketplace,” says MacDonald. “I am really proud of our team and honored to be a part of it.”
The E+ Series is a continuation of Sherman+Reilly’s customer commitment, which includes improving operational productivity with each innovative achievement. This is accomplished by having a strong engineering and production team to provide our customers with products they know will support the work they have to do. Every Sherman+Reilly unit is “Designed for Safety and Built to Last.” We are dedicated to “Getting Every Lineman Home, Every Night, No Exceptions.”
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