Rail operator buys labelled cable to deter thieves

20 December 2012
By Lorna Sharpe
Mobile version
Share |
The owner’s name runs right through the cable core

The owner’s name runs right through the cable core

The French national railway company SNCF has become the first customer for specialised cables that incorporate a new kind of anti-theft technology.

The non-removable Core-Tag feature clearly identifies the rightful owner, making stolen cable difficult to sell.

Nexans designed and manufactured the earthing cable, comprising a lead-sheathed copper conductor with a 25mm2 cross-section, for installation in four regions where SNCF maintains the infrastructure for the network owner RFF.

The high resale value of scrap copper makes cable theft a continuing scourge for infrastructure operators all over the world.

When cable is stolen the insulation, which could be used to identify the owner, is often burnt off, just leaving the copper conductor.

In contrast to more complex and expensive tagging techniques such as those using rare earth elements, Nexans’ Core-Tag solution involves installing a coded fire-resistant copper tape that is intertwined in the conductor.

The dot-matrix markings on the coded tape – typically identifying the owner (RFF in this case) – make it easy to trace the origins of the stolen copper when it is brought to a scrap dealer, even after the insulation has been burnt off.

Simple visual examination of the cut cross-section will show the presence of Core-Tag in the cable.

Opening up a length of around 25 cm will then be enough to reveal the identification code.

As the tape is embedded along the length of the conductor, it is virtually impossible for the thief to remove it.

Jean Fehlbaum, vice president marketing infrastructure and industrial projects at Nexans, says the company is working closely with many customers to address the problem of copper theft.

He points out that recycling is a vital element within the copper supply chain, but it is very difficult to establish the origin of recycled metal.

He said: “We believe the Core-Tag technology offers excellent potential to make rail cables less attractive to steal, as well as providing the wider supply chain with new tools to identify stolen copper.”

Nexans is currently talking with various operators in Europe, Africa and Australasia about the technology, which can be used in any industry where cable theft is a problem.

In England and Wales, new legislation came into force on 3 December banning cash transactions for metal at recycling yards.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther of British Transport Police welcomed the change, saying it would seriously curtail the market for stolen metal by creating a clear audit trail back to the sellers.

But the measures will not work in isolation, he added.

“Industry, police and other agencies must continue to work together to enforce the new legislation, support further modernisation of the law and take action against those criminals who continue to target the very infrastructure we have all come to rely upon.”

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1607

"As the dust settles after the referendum result, we consider what happens next. We also look forward to an international summer of sport."

E&T jobs

  • Control System Engineer

    United Utilities
    • Lancaster, Lancashire
    • Up to £33415 + Comprehensive Benefits

    Provide ICA maintenance and engineering support to the Water & Wastewater Production

    • Recruiter: United Utilities

    Apply for this job

  • Signal Processing Engineer

    B&W Group
    • Steyning, West Sussex
    • Competitive Salary

    We are looking for a Signal Processing Engineer to support the R&D process on active loudspeaker products.

    • Recruiter: B&W Group

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Mechanical & Electrical Engineer

    De Montfort University
    • Leicestershire
    • Grade G: £36,672 - £46,414 per annum

    Join the Projects Team to develop and manage medium to large projects on the university estate.

    • Recruiter: De Montfort University

    Apply for this job

  • Advanced Commissioning Engineer

    National Grid
    • Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, England
    • £46000 - £57000 per year

    National Grid is at the heart of energy in the UK. The electricity we provide gets the nation to work, powers schools and lights everyone's way home. Our energy network connects the nation, so it's essential that it's continually evolving, advancing and i

    • Recruiter: National Grid

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Oxford Instruments
    • Yatton, Bristol
    • Competitive salary plus excellent benefits

    We are looking for an electrical designer to join our engineering design team.

    • Recruiter: Oxford Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Skilled Electrical Fitter

    MBDA
    • Bolton
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   The Electrical Fitter will carry out manufacturing and test tasks within the electrical department in accordance with product certification procedures, defined workmanship  ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Manufacturing Technician

    MBDA
    • Stevenage
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   As a qualified craftsman with experience in electrical manufacturing, the Manufacturing Technician will report to a Team Leader, receiving day to day ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power)

    BAE Systems
    • Cumbria, Barrow-In-Furness, England
    • Negotiable

    Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power) Would you like to play a key role in providing technical direction to the design of power systems on the Successor class submarines, which will replace the current Trident-equipped Vanguard class, currently in servic

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electrician

    The Bristol Port Company
    • City of Bristol
    • C. £31,729 per annum plus supplements, benefits and overtime

    You’re a good team worker with a strong technical capacity – so bring your talents to a new role with one of the area’s leading employers.

    • Recruiter: The Bristol Port Company

    Apply for this job

  • Supply Restoration Team Manager (HV/SAP)

    SSE
    • Oxford, Oxfordshire
    • Salary: £37,588 to £49,645 + Car (SSE8) Depending on skills and experience

    SSE is looking to recruit a Supply Restoration Team Manager to join our existing team in Oxford.

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T