Balfour Beatty has successfully automated the installation of a 250 metre 33kV cable underneath the woodland of South Yorkshire, as part of its work on the Neepsend project in Sheffield, on behalf of National Grid.
The cable, which connects the National Grid to the region’s Northern Powergrid substations, provides a reliable source of electricity to local residents and businesses.
Traditionally fitted by a winch and bond method, the terrain and the tight bends the cable was required to travel meant the traditional methods of cable laying were not suitable. Balfour Beatty instead implemented an innovative “cable push system”.
The system sees the use of a motorised machine to drive the cable under and through the ground instead of operatives utilising a winch system and manually guiding the cable through.
This innovative technique not only maximises efficiencies in cable laying but improves safety in working practices by automating the process while decreasing cable tension, significantly reducing the risk of damage to the cable. This approach, not widely used on National Grid projects, sets a high standard for the innovative solutions expected to be implemented in the future of projects similar to this.
Andrew Smith, Head of Operations for Balfour Beatty’s Power Transmission and Distribution business said: “Our engineering excellence combined with our commitment to ensuring the continued reliability of the National Grid network was instrumental in implementing this innovative, forward-thinking approach.
“Deploying bespoke resources and tailoring the solution to the environment allowed for a safer delivery of this complex cable-laying project while also providing the most effective and efficient solution for National Grid.”