Engineered Steel and Wood Framing

System hardening and resiliency are on the minds of all electric utilities. System hardening is what we do. Our engineers can design a structure to withstand any load with steel or wood framing on any pole. Do not be deceived by any supplier's claims that one material is better than the other. An engineer can design a system stronger using any material. The important thing to remember is that resilience also means the ability to recover. To that end, Hughes Brothers maintains a large inventory of raw materials that our engineering team can use or modify to restore power after a severe weather event. Steel and wood are strong, reliable, available, time-tested, and resilient.

employee inspecting a part

Quality Control

The Quality Assurance Department is responsible for establishing and maintaining quality functions that ensure all requirements and specifications are met on all raw materials, semi-finished materials, in-process materials, and finished products. They maintain close contact with all manufacturing department supervisors, foremen, and lead personnel to ensure conformance to all established requirements and specifications. They ensure all operators, setup personnel, and work leaders have the proper gages, prints, specifications, procedures, and other information to perform each job properly. Lastly, we are big on the traceability of raw materials for all products we manufacture. 

Engineering Team Group Photo


Hughes Brothers has ten staff members in the engineering and Quality Control departments, including two professional engineers. Over the years, Hughes Brothers’ engineers have overseen the testing, design, invention, and sales of countless new products introduced into the Hughes Brothers line, including industry firsts like the x-brace, adjustable spacer fitting, mass-produced davit arms, steel trusses, and forged tees. In addition, they have written countless papers for the industry and have been active in many utility associations that write the rules for the electric utility industry. These engineers at left have led these innovations for the past 80 years, and a new generation is preparing for the challenges to come.

testing a steel pole product

Product Testing

Hughes Brothers has tested thousands of products to failure to confirm engineering designs and factory processes and, at times to help utilities determine the remaining strength of existing products. Our load frame can test items in tension up to 100,000 lbs, and we have a test site north of the factory dedicated to full-scale tests of steel and wood structures up to 100-foot tall 345kV structures. Hughes Brothers has pulled down over 100 full-scale structures to analyze failure methods, strength assumptions, and software accuracy. In addition, we have tested over 1,300 different components to failure. See below for testing videos and further information. Call us if you have a testing question or want us to perform a component test.

fire testing

Fire Testing Wood vs. Fiberglass

Hughes Brothers partnered with others in the industry to compare the ability of wood and fiberglass to withstand flame and heat. The results were not surprising. Ignoring the claims of fiberglass being “self-extinguishing,” the fiberglass arm melted and failed after only four minutes of sustained heat. The wood arms tested under the same conditions did indeed catch fire, but held the load for 40 minutes, never failed, and then “self-extinguished.” Wood has a proven service life, not one based on conjecture or accelerated testing assumptions.

electrical poles

Structure Tests

Hughes Brothers has conducted over 100 full scale structure tests since our inception in 1921, including structures designed up to 345 kV applications.

hardware being tested

Hardware Tests

We’re no stranger to ensuring the quality of our components, and since 1921 we’ve performed over 1,300 component tests. Contact us for more information, or for a test request. 


Safety Data Sheets

Needing Safety Data Sheet information for our products? Look no further! SDS info for our three products that require it can be found right here.