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Lapp provides underwater connectivity to Kerala resort

Debajyoti Mukherjee ,  Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 12:41 Hrs  [IST]

Debajyoti MukherjeeThe biggest challenge Lapp faced was to design the cable to withstand the pressure of the sea water without allowing any room for breakage, cuts, and abrasions.

The criticality of the miles of electrical wiring that runs through various industries is at times undermined. These wires, reaching machinery and lending connectivity, also prevent any current wastage - a trend that has fast gained recognition, with its successful usage in the industrial sector. Its advantages are also being applied to building infrastructure, and can be applied for various challenging and unique power supplying solutions. Usage of the appropriate cables ensures safety-employees' safety and that of infrastructure and equipment.

As cabling is a necessary component across industries, manufacturers' produce multitude of cables ranging from power cables, fire safe cables, single cores, multi cores, and data cables. According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. the wire and cable industry is expected to generate $113.9 billion by the year 2015.

In India, the wire and cable industry comprises 40 per cent of the entire electrical industry, which is the fifth largest in the world and is expected to double in size over the next five years. A developing economy like ours has growing needs and growth and industrialization have spurred the need to bring electricity in all walks of life.

Trying to keep India powered with innovation in cabling is Lapp India, a 100 per cent subsidiary of the LAPP GROUP. The company manufactures cables, connectors, cable glands, conduits, and accessories. We have pioneered the concept of 'Total solutions in Electrical Connectivity' in India, with our range of products. Each year about 100,000 km of ÖLFLEX®, our leading cable brand of connecting and control cables and insulated single cores, are produced.

The need for safe cabling is proven by the wide range of Lapp products that being found in a whole host of stunning objects, from the stage machinery used by the Rolling Stones and the new opera house in Peking, to ancient monuments and modern departure lounges, to the newest container cranes and the largest wind turbines in the world. However, our products can also be found in countless everyday applications in industry, communication, and network technology and indeed anywhere where cables are needed.

A case in point is the innovative cabling solution Lapp India provided the Banyan Tree Holdings Limited ("Banyan Tree" or the "Group"), a leading manager and developer of premium resorts, hotels, and spas in the Asia Pacific.

Lapp indiaEstablishing uninterrupted power supply is an indispensable facility for smooth operation in any industry, even the hospitality business. Power supply, and having supply that is proportionate to the requirement of a hotel or resort, is key for business and the comfort of guests and visitors to make the stay a pleasant and memorable one. To deliver the best in hospitality, the Group commissioned Lapp India to design and execute a plan to provide a unique electrical connection to a resort the Group was launching in Kerala.

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts are all set to expand and strengthen its commitment to the rejuvenation of the body, mind, and soul by building a sanctuary for the senses in Kerala, India. They intend to initiate and build a resort on an island just off the Alleppey on the backwaters. This beautiful island locale, however, poses one main challenge - power supply to the resort. Since the resort is being built on an island with no power generating stations, Banyan Tree had to draw power from the mainland.

This called for:
  • Underwater high power transmission cables that would transmit power from a substation on the mainland near Cochin, Kerala, to the island
  • This power transmission cable would need to be laid underwater
  • The cable was expected to take a minimum water pressure of 50m depth
  • The cable would have to be continuous length with a joint free construction of up to 1250 m
  • This power supply had to be designed to safeguard and ensure that the voltage drop across the cable would be was minimal
  • The insulation of the cable needed was expected to be water impermeable and impenetrable as a failure in the insulation would result in the electrification of the water body proving to be lethal for human and animal life
The Group chose to work with Lapp India to provide a safe solution to this predicament since Lapp is known for its bold and innovative initiatives. Also, Lapp is the manufacturer of underwater cabling solutions such as the TBW/TBM shrink tube that fulfils high mechanical requirements for underwater and underground insulations and repairs with more resistance and flexible protection.

As underwater power cables require state-of-the-art cabling technology and a profound understanding of cable designs, Lapp undertook this project and it has been able to successfully execute the order for Banyan Tree. Lapp has supplied Banyan Tree Resorts with 1250 m of three cored annealed plain copper cables capable of transmitting 11kV HT power undersea.

The biggest challenge Lapp faced was to design the cable to withstand the pressure of the sea water without allowing any room for breakage, cuts, and abrasions. The cables also had to be made resistant to saline water to prevent corrosion and the cable had to have minimal, if not any, loss of power.

On the other end of tremendous amount of research and testing, Lapp was able to manufacture a cable that ideally catered to the requirement. This cable consisted of multiple layers of insulation over the conductors as a precaution to avoid breakage of the cable resulting in the leakage of current into the sea. It was provided with 12 layers of protection over the cable.

Lapp provided this 12 layered cable continuous length by joining free cables. Keeping in mind the conditions that the cable was installed in, Lapp ensured that the hard exterior sheath which was resistant to wear and tear and to make it safe and fail-proof.

With the road clear, the project is well underway. Banyan Tree has finished laying 500m of cable already and expects to be done with the project by October. Lapp will continue to provide the necessary support to power the resort.

(Debajyoti Mukherjee is Deputy General Manager - Technology & Competence Centre, Lapp India)
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