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PLS-POLE- Analysis and Design of Structures with Wood, Laminated Wood, Steel, Concrete and FRP Poles or Modular Aluminum Masts
PLS-POLE Overview
Summary of Features
Example structures provided with PLS-POLE
Other pages with PLS-POLE related information

Some typical PLS-POLE views:


PLS-POLE is a powerful and easy to use Microsoft Windows program for the analysis and design of structures made up of wood, laminated wood, steel, concrete and Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) poles or modular aluminum masts. The program performs design checks of structures under user specified loads and can also calculate maximum allowable wind and weight spans. Virtually any transmission, substation or communications structure can be modeled, including poles, H-frames, A-Frames, and X-Frames. These models are rapidly built from components such as poles, arms, guys, braces, and insulators.

PLS-POLE is the result of nearly 25 years of evolution from our earliest structural analysis programs. It is the direct successor of our popular CPOLE, CFRAME, SPOLE, SFRAME, WPOLE, WFRAME and G-MAST programs. During our years supporting these programs we have continually refined our algorithms, user interface and program design. The result is PLS-POLE, a powerful and comprehensive design tool with unsurpassed reliability and ease of use.

Click here to see a map showing PLS-POLE users around the world.

Comprehensive Structure Modeling

PLS-POLE structures are collections of the following elements:

Building a structure is as simple as selecting the desired element from a library of available elements and telling the program where it attaches to other elements. You are free to mix and match the various elements at will. This gives you the power to create arbitrarily complex structures and even allows you to mix wood, steel and concrete elements in the same structure.

The element libraries define the sizes, weights and strengths of your standard structural components. You can create these libraries yourself or use libraries provided by your suppliers. Using libraries of standard reusable components greatly enhances your productivity by significantly reducing the amount of input, which also reduces the chance of error.

Simple and Powerful Finite Element Analysis

PLS-POLE takes the pain out of finite element analysis. An H-Frame in PLS-POLE is input as a collection of macro elements like poles, cross-arms and braces. These elements are selected from a library where you enter the properties of macro elements like a pole's top and base diameter, wall thickness and shape (round, 16 sided…). PLS-POLE automatically breaks your macro elements down into many cable, truss and beam elements. In just a few minutes with PLS-POLE you can build structures that would take days to model in a traditional finite element program.

2-Part insulator going into compression A special version of our SAPS finite element analysis engine powers PLS-POLE. We designed SAPS specifically for solving complicated transmission line and guyed communication structure problems that other finite element programs couldn't. For nearly 30 years of production use SAPS has proven to have one of the best nonlinear cable elements available anywhere.

PLS-POLE is capable of performing both linear and nonlinear analyses. Nonlinear analysis allows you to see P-Delta effects, to detect instabilities, and to perform accurate buckling checks. PLS-POLE models guys, cables and 2-part insulators as 3-d cable elements. This sophisticated analysis works even when elements have large displacements as is the case with the 2-part insulator pictured to the right.

ASCE and Other Code Checks

Color-coded spreadsheet summary of pole usage Once PLS-POLE has calculated the forces and moments experienced in the different pieces of your structure it compares them against code capacities. The results of these checks can be displayed in text reports, spreadsheets or color-coded graphics.

Either ASCE/SEI 48-11 (previously ASCE manual 72) or other international standards can be used to check steel poles and tubular steel elements. Wood poles are checked against their ultimate stress and the fiber stress can be reduced with height according to ANSI O5.1 (2002, 2008, 2015, 2017). PLS-POLE detects wood pole buckling by your choice of exact nonlinear analysis, the Gere and Carter method, the REA method or a user programmable method. Concrete poles are checked against a moment capacity diagram. The PLS-POLE manual describes how these checks are implemented and lists the assumptions made.

Text summary of allowable spans for different heights and classes of wood poles In addition to these code checks PLS-POLE can calculate pairs of allowable wind and weight spans for a specified value of their ratio, or better yet, determine entire interaction diagrams between the allowable wind and weight spans. Optimum spotting performed with these interaction diagrams will result in a more economical solution than traditional spotting where a single wind and weight span pair is used.

Intuitive Graphical User Interface

PLS-POLE makes extensive use of 3-d graphics to help you visualize your structure. We draw all elements as accurately as possible and let you view the structure from any direction making modeling mistakes immediately apparent. If you see a mistake you simply click on it to edit the problem element.

Close-up of frame showing double cross arm and insulators After an analysis, elements are color-coded based on their utilization with overstressed elements graphically shown in red. Of course, these elements can be edited with a single click. Overstressed elements are also colored red in text and spreadsheet reports.

Just as important as the graphical feedback are the many sanity checks PLS-POLE makes on your input data. In the course of reviewing thousands of problematic structure models we have identified many common modeling errors. PLS-POLE automatically detects these errors and flags questionable input to save you time.


While PLS-POLE is a stand-alone program it's open design allows it to easily interface with other programs.

PLS-POLE provides a well defined XML output file and hooks that enable pre and post-processors to be connected to the program making it the ideal engine of your custom pole process.

PLS-POLE can read files from our CPOLE, CFRAME, SPOLE, SFRAME, WPOLE, WFRAME and G-MAST programs. We recognize the investment our clients have in structure models created in these programs and have made backwards compatibility a high priority. If you are a user of these earlier programs please see the PLS-POLE page on our web site for a more detailed list of improvements made in PLS-POLE.

PLS-POLE structures used in PLS-CADD Users of our PLS-CADD line design program can use PLS-POLE to prepare allowable wind and weight span or interaction diagram files for optimum spotting. They can also take PLS-POLE structures and spot them in a line. PLS-CADD can calculate the loading on a structure at a particular location and display the results of a PLS-POLE check with those loads.

PLS-POLE results are presented in a combination of graphical views, spreadsheet views and text reports. All of this information can easily be exported to other programs. Graphical results can be saved in DXF files compatible with most CAD systems. Spreadsheet results may be pasted into spreadsheet programs, exported to ODBC compliant databases or saved to an XML file. Text results can be customized by the user and saved to files or pasted into word processing programs.


PLS-POLE provides all of the capabilities a structural engineer requires to design transmission, substation or communications structures. It does so using a simple easy to use graphical interface that rests upon our time tested finite element engine. Regardless of whether you want to model a simple wood pole or a guyed steel X-Frame; PLS-POLE can handle the job simply, reliably and efficiently.

If you would like more information about PLS-POLE please contact us or view an online tour.

Click here for map showing locations of PLS customers Click here for map showing locations of PLS customersWorld map of PLS-POLE users

Summary of Features:


Some of the example structures provided with PLS-POLE:

Sample Steel Poles
Example SPOEX1 Example SPOEX6 Example SPOEX7 Example SPOEX4 Example SPOEX5 Example SPOEX9 Example SPOEX2 Example SPOEX10: Stepped Steel Pole
Sample Steel Frames
Example SFREX1 Example SFREX6 Example SFREX2 Example SFREX4 Example SFREX5 Example SFREX7: Frame with Attached Photo and CAD Drawing
Sample Wood Poles
Example WPOEX3 Example WPOEX7 Example WPOEX8 Example WPOEX5 Example WPOEX6
Sample Wood Frames
Example WFREX2 Example WFREX8 Example WFREX4 Example WFREX5 Example WFREX6 Example WFREX7
Sample Concrete Poles
Example CPOEX1 Example CPOEX3
Sample Concrete Frames
Example CFREX1 Example CFREX2
Sample Guyed Masts
Example MSTEX1 Example MSTEX2 Example MSTEX3 Example MSTEX4 Example MSTEX6

Click here for map showing locations of PLS customers Click here for map showing locations of PLS customers PLS-POLE Users list

PLS-POLE Hall of Fame:

The following examples show some noteworthy structures that have been modeled by our clients. These examples are not provided with PLS-POLE.

Mobile Substation modeled in PLS-POLE for evaluation of line clearances.  Example courtesy of Drew Bertke of Ampirical Solutions Wind turbine model for visualizaton by Jesse Kohler of Power Line Systems Mouse ears structure near Orlando Flordia Steel substation dead end structure by George Watson of Reliant Energy Steel frame with 2-parts and vangs by Sherrill Crenshaw of Virginia Electric and Power 24.9/14.4kv RUS 3-phase structure with RUS CAD drawings overlayed in background Same RUS structure, but with 25MVA transformers attached and used in a line Substation air core reactor by George Watson of Centerpont Energy

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