The project will help ensure Londoners continue to enjoy safe and reliable electricity supplies. When complete there will be over 30km of tunnels carrying high voltage cables between substations in Wimbledon, Hackney, Willesden and St John’s Wood.
Ellis’ Centaur cable saddles, which were developed specifically for use with high voltage cables, were specified by Sϋdkabel – the German manufacturers of the cables being installed in the National Grid tunnels. The order was secured on the back of recent work for National Grid and the fact Ellis was able to prove the suitability and safety of its Centaur product for the project’s specification.
Richard Shaw, managing director of Ellis, said: “This order has given us dual cause for celebration. Firstly, it’s the largest the company has ever won and secondly it demonstrates why we place so much emphasis on research and development.”
Back in 2008 Ellis launched Centaur; a heavy-duty extruded aluminium saddle cleat that had been designed and developed in-house in response to a serious safety issue surrounding the restraint of high voltage cables up to 400kV with a diameter range of 100 to 160mm.
“At the time neither the British nor European Standards took into account cleats on cables of this size,” explained Richard. “This meant those specifying for such jobs were very much in the hands of the manufacturers, who in most cases simply provided warranties for their products.”
“The problem with this was that none of the products available had been short circuit tested, and so the warranties were based purely on calculations and mechanical tests. As such there was no proof the saddle cleats being used would withstand the most testing elements of the job they’d been bought for.”
Prior to launch, Ellis put the new product through the most rigorous of testing procedures. Using cable manufactured by ABB in Sweden, the company shipped the Centaur cable saddles and ABB cable to the Netherlands where they were tested to 163 kA peak and 63 kA RMS for one second, in both 3 phase and phase to phase fault scenarios.
“We invested well over £100,000 in designing, developing, testing and bringing Centaur to market,” added Richard. “At the time this was the largest amount we’d ever invested in one new product, but we did so with confidence that it had the potential to solve a major safety issue and fill a gap in a growing market sector – something that has since been proved wholly correct.”
To find out more about Ellis and its Centaur range, visit www.ellispatents.co.uk or call +44(0)1944 758395.