Technology adds value to health and safety protection

12th July 2013 By: Yolandi Booyens

Lightning and surge protection specialist Surgetek believes that its lifeline cable-cutter technology can improve a company’s health and safety record, as it offers increased protection to electrical cable repair teams.

Surgetek states that these benefits are increasingly being realised in the African market where it supplies a modified ver- sion of the lifeline cable cutter. “We had the product modified during 2010 by increasing its cutting pressure from 630 bar to 850 bar to cut paper-insulated lead- covered steel tape or steel-wire-armoured XLPE and polyvinyl-chloride-insulated steel-wire-armoured cables, explains Surgetek sales engineer Stuart Ashton.

The lifeline cable cutter can be used as a replacement for a spiking gun, with the added benefits of cutting the cable at the same time and without additional legal requirements for a firearm licence as required for explosive- cartridge-type spiking guns. Should a live cable be cut accidentally, the operator is not in any danger, says Ashton.

Surgetek started importing the life line cable cutter technology about four years ago from technology/tool manufacturer Haupa, in Remscheid, Germany.

Cable cutter 216416/850 is used for cutting low- and medium-voltage cables of up to 60 kV and rated frequencies of up to 60 Hz. It has been tested by the Professional Association of Precision Mechanics and Electro-Technology, based on the GS ET-23 principles of testing motor-operated cable-cutting devices, and has been awarded the green seal of approval, Haupa declares on its website.

The 10 m high-pressure hydraulic hose, which connects the pump with the cutting head, guarantees a high standard of safety, owing to its insulating features.

“The cutting process is controlled by watching the manometer (pressure gauge) attached to the pump, since, in general, the cutting head cannot be seen when a cable is cut. This process has repeatedly been tested at medium voltage, with live wires and continuing main supply,” according to the website.

The Haupa lifeline cable cutter has a cut- ting range of up to 120 mm dia. The 12 mm cutting blades are made of high-yield point steel and are wear and tear resistant. In addition, the cutting blades are guided to guarantee a high degree of mechanical stability. During a possible short circuit, the safe cutting of cables is guaranteed, since the individual blades overlap by about 20 mm.

The blades open when pressure is reduced by the pressure-relief safety system, which is adjusted at 850 bar.

Surgetek provides on-site training with regard to the product and has sold many units to date, with positive feedback from its clients.

The company aims to increase the level of interest in this product locally and across Africa and has participated in many trade shows across the continent.

Cable Location

Ashton adds that Surgetek has received a positive response from the South African industry regarding its Portable Locator technology, launched in July 2009, and that the company is slowly expanding into the country’s quarry industry.

Surgetek told Mining Weekly that it could assist the African quarrying industry in finding unknown cable routes by applying its L1072 and L1073 Portable Locator, supplied by electrical service solutions and product supply specialist Megger.

Surgetek is an authorised South African representative for the Megger range, which is manufactured in the UK, the US and Sweden.

“The Portable Locator finds buried cables and pipes in various industries. It is capable of locating long or short cables using multiple output frequencies and inductive or active cable route location methods. This technology delivers quick and accurate results through a user-friendly interface,” Ashton stated.

He added that the biggest interest in this technology is from South Africa’s mining industry, as the Portable Locator offers reduced downtime through quick and reliable cable route location.

“The quarrying industry could greatly benefit from using this technology to find buried cables which are in ser- vice (live) or disconnected.

“Identifying a fault on a cable route can also be challenging and time consuming; however, Megger’s Pinpointer MPP2000 offers reduced downtime, owing to the accurate cable-fault-location detection process, which translates into cost savings and improved productivity,” Ashton pointed out to Mining Weekly.

He added that the Megger Pinpointer MPP2000 was specifically designed to accurately and quickly pinpoint faults in underground cable networks when used in conjunction with a suitable surge generator.

“The product has been on the market for two years and was developed in the US three years ago,” Ashton stated.

The Pinpointer MPP2000 is a compact handheld instrument, which is supplied with a lightweight combined microphone and an electromagnetic probe. It is equipped with a large backlit colour display that shows not only magnetic and acoustic signal levels but also the relative distance to and direction of a fault.

Used in conjunction with a high-voltage surge generator, such as Megger’s PFL22M1500, to create a flashover at the point of the fault, the Pinpointer MPP2000 detects the electromagnetic and acoustic signals produced by the flashover and evaluates the time difference between these signals to determine the relative distance to the fault.

“Instruments that rely only on signal strength often produce misleading results, as they don’t have vibration sensing, and operators cannot measure how close they are to the faulty cable,” Ashton explained.

The Pinpointer MPP2000 also incorporates two electromagnetic signal-level indicators, which enables the device to provide information on the direction of the fault and the actual route of the cable. Further, the cable locator is equipped with a bright light-emitting-diode indicator that instantly confirms that an electromagnetic signal has been detected, even if there is no acoustic signal.