New Cable Drying Systems improve efficiency and maintenance for Prysmian

The Problem

Compressed air based systems were being used at Prysmian’s Aberdare facility but these were failing to remove the excess carry-over water adhering to the wire after leaving the cooling troughs. This resulted in slippage causing the length/speed monitoring encoder to give incorrect readings which impacted upon line speeds, and water dripping/spraying on the line and surrounding equipment. The random water dispersal had the effect of causing corrosion, increasing maintenance requirements and shortening equipment life.

Water droplets on cables also interfered with quality control procedures. Laser equipment designed to detect cable imperfections could be ‘fooled’ by droplets to undermine production goals.

Another result of the water carry-over was water dripping on the ground around the tensioning sheave to form puddles and creating potential health and safety issues, such as personnel slipping.

The Solution

A ‘LINE-Dry’ cable and wire dryer has been installed at the Prysmian Group’s Aberdare facility, offering enhanced process drying yet lower operating costs. Additionally the system offers greater production efficiency, reduced maintenance and the elimination of health and safety hazards.

The unit comprises a drying station and a free-standing blower housed in an ABS enclosure. The drying function is performed inside an enclosure housing adjustable, spring-loaded opposing plenums. On both sides of the plenums are rubber baffles which serve to entrap the removed water to be ducted away from the underside of the enclosure. To ensure maximum drying efficiency the gap between the drying heads can be adjusted manually to suit different products whilst viewed through a hinged inspection hatch.

The blower enclosure houses an ACI ‘Multi-Stage unit controlled complete with a speed controller to give flexibility to adjust air delivery to accommodate different products and line speeds. Air is delivered at up to 2.8psi (80in. SWG) at speeds of 8,800m/min (28,900ft/min) at 80C.

The Outcome

Since the installation of the first LINE-Dry, operating cost figures show that the ACI blower-powered unit has lower running costs than the previous compressed air system. In addition, cable drying is more efficient because the air is from a dedicated source whereas previously variations of load-demand upon the compressed air compressor impacted upon both the drying line and packing operations.

“The ACI LINE-Dry proved its ability to meet all our needs, as shown by the fact we have installed two more units. It dries cables up to 35mm efficiently at speeds up to 400m/min and has eliminated all the problems associated with water carry-over helping to reduce running and maintenance costs.” Sam Donnelly, Project Engineer, Prysmian Cables.