Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Week 8 - Cable Jointing - North Parade lateral spread, QE2 Drive consolidation, Philpotts Rd consolidation, Pages Rd.

Work log:

Monday 21st March: Worked at North Parade, Shirley to repair a low voltage XLPE attached to a bridge for a private right-of-way that had been severely bent (but still operating ok, amazingly!) by the riverbanks 'slumping' in the earthquake 22nd Feburary.

Slumping bending the low voltage XLPE

Steve showing off the bent section

Tuesday 22nd: QEII Drive near Marshlands Rd roundabout, XLPE-XLPE 11kV joint, network consolidation.

Wednesday 23rd: Philpotts Rd near QEII Drive, XLPE 11kV termination into kiosk for network consolidation.

Tightening 11kV terminations in kiosk
Thursday 24th: Philpotts Rd again, more kiosk terminations and XLPE-PILCA joint.

Finished kiosk terminations

Friday 25th: Pages Road near bridge, PILCA-XLPE-PILCA faulty 11kV cable replacement.

These rings are the modern alternative to lead wiping.
Liquefaction causes the building to sink, pulling overhead connections off.

Riverbank 'slumping', causing the buildings to come away from the car park.

Analysis: Cable jointers' specific tools

As with all trades, cable jointing carries with it specific tools for specific purposes. For Connetics jointers, there are tools suited to PILCA (paper insulated lead covered armoured) cables as well as modern XLPE plastic insulated cables. One advantage of having jointers from all over the country here is that we can see what tools are being used elsewhere in similar situations. For example, Northpower use heavy-duty remote controlled hydraulic cutters, which cut, obviously, but also replace spiking guns.

Connetics has observed these other tools and purchased new ones to allow more efficient operation for the jointers, such as reciprocating saws.

The cable jointers' tool box is interesting, particularly from an industrial electricians' point of view.. lots of knives, cutters and crimpers are apparent. A selection of tools are shown below.

Jeff's toolbox - All in immaculate condition. He sets a great example.

Nice new reciprocating saw. Used to cut cables and has replaced the good old hacksaw. The hacksaw is still used for cutting steel armour on PILCA cables.

Discussed earlier, the precision stripping tools for XLPE and the semiconductor layer. They're inside a wooden stool used to prop cables up above the mud in the bottom of the hole. Water seriously compromises the integrity of joints.

The 'rattler', or more formally, the impact driver is used only for shear bolts.

Car jack stands for holding the cable off the ground also.

Hook knife

Core cutter

Stripping knife - No two are the same and the jointers' all have their own favourite ones!

Outer insulation double purpose knife

Insulation stripping knife

New technology.. kevlar string used to cut plastic insulation without 'nicking' internal neutral screen conductors

Squarehead pliers designated by Tyco to be used to remove semiconductor layer.

Large crimper

Battery hydraulic crimper
 As with all trades, maintenance of tools is paramount. Knives must be kept sharp, tools must perform correctly and be clean. Dirt or poor cuts on cables reduces the effectiveness of joints and lifetime, particularly on higher voltage cables.

Analysis: What makes a good cable jointer?

As an 'outsider', it has been interesting to see the psyche of the cable jointer and what 'makes them tick'. Particularly more so with the visiting jointers from other parts of the country. It's almost humourous how easily all these guys 'click'. Even the Christchurch jointers are noticing this! They refer to themselves as a 'breed', which is correct! Whare, a very professional and experienced jointer from Northland, expressed to me that he was really happy to see the young guys were the same as he and his colleagues once were also. The jointers who are all here have picked up a catchphrase coined by Steve Bright; "That's how WE roll"!

As an aside, I had the great privilege to be invited to a BBQ at Blue Skies in Kaiapoi organised by the Northpower and Vector jointers, and had a fantastic time!

"That's how WE roll!"
The first attribute every cable jointer will tell you is the most important is that they MUST be a team player. Trust and reliability are important to all jointers, and if those attributes are not apparent, then the team will not perform efficiently or optimally. All crews work in twos, and are almost psychic in their teamwork.

The next attributes would be pride in your work and good workmanship. A joint must be done 'right first time', particularly when working under pressure where things can be forgotten. Joint kits are not cheap and if one step is missed, the entire day or job can be wasted. I like to refer to joints as 'mechanical works of art'. I personally have done thousands of electrical terminations, and understand the quality of a good termination can be life-saving. In the cable jointers' world, lives and economies depend on the quality of the joints.

Lastly, flexibility. There are numerous challenges that cable jointers need to face, from weather to earthquakes (!), to rubberneckers, bugs, rapidly rising water tables, road access, and numerous other issues. Jointers need to be able to 'think on their feet' and find solutions, quickly.

Teaching ideas: Practical demonstration/ formative and summative assessment

There's no way I will become a Master jointer in 2 months, so CPIT will be organising jointers to come in and demonstrate jointing to students. I have identified several individuals we could approach as good educators, and assessors also. With kits being so expensive, multiple summative resits are not going to be an option. On-job summative assessment will have to be used, and possibly video evidence submitted from some students. I will video these demonstrations and use them in moodle for future students to watch and learn from. I'll be asking nicely for a decent digital video camera when I get back..! Flexibility in tutoring, as on the job is going to have to be a quality I as a tutor will need.

And that's it! Week 8 over.. Next week will be my last week in jointing, and hopefully I'll see some 66kV repair on Fitzgerald Ave.


selena said...

Hi Andrew,

a really good, reflective post this week :)

Questions to follow through:
1) tools - how will you introduce the specific use of these tools to your students?

2) attributes of cable joiners - how will you provide a sense of the camaderie of the cable joiners community of practice and sense of professional identity to your students?

All the best for the rest of the week, Selena

Andrew said...

Thanks Selena. Would you like me to edit this post or build it on next week's post?

Robyn Chandler said...

Morena Andrew - great to see your cheerful face! Might see you about if you are on Fitzgerald (we're on Hereford). WHAT a learning opportunity this has turned out to be- really good to read your reflections. Great connections being made with industry experts. Lots of literacy and numeracy here, of course, including in the 'psychic' teamwork and the 'mechanical works of art.'- that will be some of the stuff you will need to unpack in terms of LN in the future for your students.
Robyn Chandler

Andrew said...

Thanks Robyn! You're right there, OPPORTUNITY! And I mean every word too; they are an awesome bunch to work with! Glad you're ok and back into it!

selena said...

Hi Andrew,

just build into this week's post.

Keep up the good work - both at Connectics and with this blog.

All the best, Selena

Andrew said...

Hi Selena,

Will do, thanks!