At a Glance:
Twistnet Communications Ltd
EXTREME DANGER: High Voltage Environment
With Fluke Networks OptiFiber® Pro OTDR with SmartLoop™, Twistnet technicians safely completed bidirectional certification of new North Sea Wind Farm installation
Established in 2000, with more than 30 years of experience, Twistnet Communications Ltd. specializes in the installation, testing and certification of fiber optic cabling, structured cabling systems and voice cabling systems.
Twistnet Communications Ltd serves companies in the United Kingdom and Europe with core services and it offers experts in fusion splicing, direct fiber termination, OTDR and power-meter testing and certification and repair with state of the art equipment such as the Fluke Networks' OptiFiber Pro OTDR with SmartLoop, part of the Versiv™ line, the industry’s leading Cabling Certification System.
Expansion of UK/North Sea Wind Farms Creates Business Opportunities, Testing Challenges
Wind farms installations are increasing exponentially worldwide and off shore wind farms are a new market that provide an attractive location option for generating power, especially in the stormy North Seas off the East Coast of the United Kingdom.
However, off shore wind farms also are a complex and challenging construction and cabling installation projects where weather and a high-voltage make for significant risk factors that contractors need to be wary of when working on projects.
On one major project, Twistnet Communications was called on to provide testing and certification services that would require a technician to bidirectionally test links inside a high voltage electrical substation. Substations are where all the communication and electrical cabling come together from the wind turbines in an onshore facility.
Given the fact wind turbine projects average capacity is between 150 MW and 500 MW, the risks for technicians were significant. For a Twistnet Communications technician to be able to test inside the electrical substation would require a full Health and Safety (H&S) induction which can cost upwards of £500.00 per person to receive the certification.
However, an innovative new technology from Fluke Networks not only made it possible to simplify how contractors work, it has helped them improve safety while being able to reduce costs and squeeze more profit out of projects.
SmartLoop Makes It Safer and Easier to Test in Risky High Voltage Environment
On the wind farm project, Twistnet Communications was required to test upwards of 400 links bi-directionally and it would take a day for the induction to complete. In the past, the correct way to test the fiber was to test it from one end and then walk the OTDR tester to the other end, and test it from there – for each link. This was time intensive and costly.
The Fluke Networks OptiFiber Pro with SmartLoop presented Twistnet Communications an opportunity and an advantage in working on the wind farm project.
“With the capability of SmartLoop we were able to borrow a wind farm technician who could take the place of one our technicians inside the substation. That allowed us to save money by not having to train one of our technicians and get the job done in a timely way,” said John Marson, Managing Director of Twistnet Communications, Ltd.
Twistnet Communications provided the wind farm technician with quick training on use of installing a loopback lead and what would be required to test each link bi-directionally. Communicating by walkie-talkie Twistnet technicians communicated with the wind farm technician to work his way through moving the lead and testing each link bi-directionally.
“We were able to save about four man days and more than £2,000 working onsite using SmartLoop on this one project,” said John Marson.
“Importantly, we can cut down on testing time with SmartLoop, which is a benefit for wining projects,” stated John Marson. “We have probably won 20 contracts since we started using SmartLoop for testing and certification.”