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Receiving and Handling Cable

In order to benefit from investing in underground cable (power cable), the purchaser should put into practice a complete visual inspection program that will help identify any cable that is damaged during shipment. If any cable is undesirable, it is then returned to the manufacturer instead of being installed. By recognizing and refusing damaged cable, one can considerably improve the dependability of the underground system.

Receipt of Cable Reels

Once the purchaser has received the cable shipments, they should carry out an approval inspection. A cable approval inspection involves some straightforward and low-cost steps that can yield significant dividends.

The following steps should be taken to insure proper acceptance of cable:

1. Visually check for shipment damage

Visually check cable reels for any damage that may have taken  place during delivery. The purchaser should be mainly worried for cable damage if:

a. A reel is laying flat on its side, especially if it is a large conductor size, such as 500 kcm, 750 kcm, or 1,000 kcm
b. Numerous reels are piled on top of each other
c. Other cargo is piled on the  reel
d. Nails have been driven into the overhang to prevent overcrowding
e. A reel overhang is broken
f. A cable covering is detached, discolored, or broken
g. A cable end seal is detached or broken (a broken or absent end seal means that moisture may have come into the cable)
h. A reel has fallen (concealed damage likely)

2. Inspect reel tags

Visually check each reel to assure that it has the correct tags and labels as noted in the specifications. The reel should contain the subsequent minimum information:

a. Purchaser’s name and address
b. Purchase order number
c. Conductor size and type
d. Insulation thickness and type
e. Jacket type
f. Quantity of cable on reel
g. Beginning and ending sequential footage numbers present on the jacket

Confirm that the cable description, reel size, and cable footage are equivalent to that specified. Any missing information should be acquired from the manufacturer.

3. Check dimensional tolerances

Make a straightforward measurement of the cable dimensions on one reel of each size of cable in a shipment to prove that the cable’s dimensions meet the requirement.

Handling of Cable Reels

To guarantee that material handling equipment does not touch or interfere with cable surfaces or with protective covering on the reel, the utmost care should be taken when moving the cable reels. It is very important that cable reels not be dropped from any height, or be allowed to roll unrestrained. Cable reels should be moved or lifted using the technique depicted at the end of this document.

1. For cranes, booms, or other overhead lifting equipment, a sturdy steel arbor or heavy rod or pipe should be placed in through the reel hubs so that the cable reel can be lifted by slings that make the most of spreader bars. This technique will assure that sling pressure against a reel flange, slanting of the reel, sliding of the sling, and other unstable situation will be reduced.

2. When lifting reels by fork truck type equipment, reels should only be lifted from the sides, and only if the blades of the fork truck are long enough to support both flanges. This way will make sure that the lift pressure is uniformly dispersed on both flanges and not on the cable itself.

3. Rolling reels containing cables should be kept to a minimum; if rolling is necessary, reels should always be rolled in the direction indicated by the “arrows” on the sides of the reel flanges or in the opposite direction to which the cable is wrapped onto the reel. Rolling the reels this way will avoid the release of the cable wraps, which may lead to problems during installation.

4. It is important that any debris be cleared from the path over which the cable reels are to be rolled since that might damage the cable if the reels were to roll over it. Cable reels should be rolled in the direction of the “Roll This Way” arrow and lowered in a controlled manner. The ramps should be spaced far enough apart so that they are touching the reel flanges at all times.

Storage of Cable Reels

Cable reels should not be stored on their sides if at all possible.

To prevent deterioration of the reels and moisture seeping into the cables, it is preferable to store cable reels indoors on a hard, dry surface.

If cable reels are stored outdoors they must be supported off the ground and protected with a suitable weatherproof material. The reel supports should be at least twice the width of the reel flange, long enough to provide a sufficient load bearing surface (to prevent sinking), and high enough to prevent the reel from sitting in free standing water in case of rain. Reel supports should be placed under each reel flange, and to prevent rolling each reel should be placed between the reel flange and the support at opposite sides of the flange.

All cable reels should be stored in such a way so as to allow easy access for lifting and moving, away from construction activities, falling or lying objects, sources of high heat, open flames, chemicals or petroleum products, etc. that may cause damage to the cable. It is also recommended to use fences or any other suitable barriers to protect cables and reels against damage by vehicles or other moving equipment in the storage area.

If the cable is stored on reels for future use after the factory applied end caps are removed, the exposed cable ends MUST be re-sealed using properly applied weatherproof end caps or by taping the ends with a tape designed to prevent moisture. PVC tapes or Duct Tape are not appropriate for preventing moisture. One must secure the loose ends of the cable reels to the reel flange and cannot lie on the ground.

Reels and end caps should be inspected from time to time if they will be stored outside for a long period of time. A once a month inspection is suitable at first but one should consider increasing this if storage time is extended since wooden reels tend to deteriorate over time and sealed end caps will lose their usefulness. Rates of deterioration will vary depending on the environment in which the reels are stored.

NOTE: If a specific method of shipping is used, such as shipping to a job site, etc., the manufacturer must be notified of these special requirements.

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