Fibre Optic Cable Stringing (OPGW)

Optic Fibre Ground Wire

When upgrading a line to the OPGW, careful decisions have to be made regarding the role of the existing earth wire (usually made of various steel or steel alloy). Whether to use it in the process of stringing the OPGW where it acts as the hauling (draw wire) is a judgement call and relies heavily on the condition of the existing wire. Personnel and public safety must be taken into consideration.

On occasions where OPGW is upgraded on existing lines and the sub-conductor wires remain energised, extreme safety precautions must be exercised.

PRO RIG is experienced with all aspects of OPGW installation. One job for example consisted of 720 towers, which involved stringing over 300Km of OPGW. Most projects where PRO RIG is involved in stringing conductor wire also involves stringing OPGW. It has also become routine that maintenance performed on existing lines generally incorporate upgrading the earth wire to OPGW. Therefore our exposure to this work has been extensive.

Things that are vital to the success of this type of work and the issues involved are:

  • Fibre Optic cables is a communications link between sub stations allowing sub stations to operate unmanned also providing extra links for major telecommunications companies.
  • Fibre optic is used on both transmission and distribution systems, it not only provides communication but also acts as a ground wire or earth wire (OPGW – Optic Fibre Ground Wire) which provides protection against lightning strikes that would normally increase the voltage of the existing line possibly damaging sub station or powerline equipment.
  • Stringing OPGW requires special care as the optical fibres are stands of glass. Special care is needed when handling the wire throughout the whole process of installation.
  • New lines are now fitted with the OPGW cable but there are many existing lines that are being upgraded by replacing the old earth wire with the new OPGW.  

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