When Consolidated Edison of New York needed a new design for its utility vault covers, they looked to Ross for a solution. The new design was necessary to provide a higher level of security for transformers housed underground in select geographic locations. In addition to engineering multiple configurations, Ross was tasked with meeting the following objectives:
- Providing enough free area to properly ventilate Consolidated Edison’s transformer equipment
- Complying with ADA guidelines for the maximum allowable opening size of the ventilation holes
- Ensuring the entire assembly (cover and frame) conforms with AASHTO H20 traffic loading requirements
- Eliminating pedestrians from being able to see the transformers or make contact with them by inserting an object through the ventilation holes
- Providing a slip-resistant surface
To accomplish this assignment, Ross designed a unique steel plate cover with perforated holes sized to meet the equipment ventilation requirements and ADA guidelines for accessible design. Ross also incorporated its ALGRIP™ technology to create a slip-resistant surface. ALGRIP features a patented CNC laser deposition process in which custom-alloy deposits are applied to a substrate in a highly precise and uniform pattern. The superior bond strength of these welded deposits not only increases the useful product life, but also allows nearly any type of onsite fabrication without compromising the traction-providing surface.
To address AASHTO H2O traffic loading, Ross used a structural steel frame and reinforced beam to provide ample support. Custom designed baffles were incorporated to obstruct vision and block objects from being inserted through the ventilation holes to reach equipment. The assembly was then finished with a durable 2-part epoxy paint.
Ross manufactured product samples and submitted them to Columbia University in New York City for load testing. Consolidated Edison adopted the design after the testing was successfully completed.