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Prysmian manufactures monster submarine cable for Superloop

Prysmian Group, the energy and telecom cable specialist, has delivered what it claims is the densest and highest fibre count underwater optical cable ever made.

An underwater FlexTube cable containing 1,728 optical fibres has now been successfully deployed by the Australian telecom provider Superloop for its TKO Express project, to provide internet connectivity between the areas of Siu Sai Wan on Hong Kong Island and the data centre hub of Tseung Kwan O (TKO) Industrial Estate on the mainland.

The previous record was set in 2014, when Prysmian manufactured an underwater FlexTube cable with 720 fibres.

“We are extremely proud to be part of such an amazing project, to contribute to history by designing and making something that perfectly fits the need of our customer. Connecting Hong-Kong is connecting the world,” said Philippe Vanhille, Senior Vice President Telecom at Prysmian Group.

The project commenced over two years ago with the first design of the cable. The manufacturing process took almost six months, shipping the cable to Hong Kong early last December.

This is why: The base 1728-fibre FlexTube cable was made in Europe, in Prysmian’s Calais, France factory. It was then airfreighted to Australia to apply additional layers of moisture barriers and aluminium tape in the Dee Why, Sydney factory. To ensure that the cable was up to the rigours of being buried up to 5m in to the Hong Kong seabed, double armouring layers of wrapped steel wires were applied. A final sheath was applied at the Group’s Liverpool plant, located west of Sydney.

As Frederick Persson, CEO at Prysmian Australia commented: “It required a strict coordination of resources and processes. We wanted to make sure our customer tight deadlines were achieved. We understood the significant, positive impact this cable had to their business in Hong Kong and we have delivered”.

“Prysmian has been able to manufacture the densest and most compact underwater cable ever made thanks to the co-operation between local and overseas Prysmian affiliates, combined with our specific technical requirements,” said Matt Whitlock COO at Superloop. “Prysmian has proven its ability to master the engineering challenges of submarine cable construction and installation and then to deliver a 15-tonne drum on time.”

“It was a logistics challenge indeed,” Persson continued, “airfreighting a drum weighing 15 tonnes was something that we have never done before. But we mastered it and the drum was successfully delivered to the TKO Port three days before the promised date.”

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