Cable Splicing At The Lazy Q Ranch

Published 01 Oct 2018

Cable Splicing

World-Class Cable Splicing Training

  • Main Contributor – James Craven (Advisor at Quanta Services, Inc.)
  • Uploaded – Chris Dodds (Thorne & Derrick Sales & Marketing Manager)

 Training for Today to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges

The following sequence of photographs provide a behind the scenes glimpse of Splicer Training at the Quanta Services Lazy Q Ranch, a state-of-the-art facility where the Art & Craft of Cable Splicing is alive and kicking. Nestled in the small town of La Grange where the Colorado River rolls and the Texan rattler hisses, the next generation of Cable Splicers are forged in the fires of their scorching hot pots of lead.

At the 2,200-acre campus Quanta employees receive hands-on instruction from passionate Master Trainers in a controlled environment focusing on safety, skill development and certifications. Quanta has even partnered with a local university to create a curriculum specific to their industry.

Setting Splicing Standards

Workmanship Rules OK!

Quanta do not set the standards – they raise the standards and lift the bar higher and then higher. There is no wriggle-room for the slightest splice error or even the most minor of measurement misdemeanour. Excellence is expected and why not?

James and the Lazy Q crew are changing the industry.

All practice splices and test splices are completely dissected as part of the curriculum – the test splices are actually cut into up to 10 or more pieces. The Splicer Assessor forensically checks the students submission –  analysing tape application, scrutinizing measurements, checking connector and studying the lead seal and end wipes of the lead sleeve.

All images of cable splices and workmanship in this article were built by students.

Cable Splice

Splicing Cables

RIP PILC?

Traditional cable Splicing skills are not dead or even dying out. PERIOD.

At least not Stateside.

Out on the range at Lazy Q, trainees are perfecting soldering, wiping and the complex intricacies of PILC Cable Splicing. Despite the 21st Century fashion for the grid to “Go Unleaded” as modern medium voltage power networks adopt polymeric cables there remains a demand for PILC Splicers with competent taping, soldering, wiping and compound pouring skills.

Yes, the prolific rise of Cold Shrink Splices has necessitated Jointer Training Centres to keep pace with cable manufacturing technology and introduce modules to cover the requirement to joint, splice and terminate MV cables using cold shrink as well as heat shrink accessories.

However, like it or not, with documented service lives of 60-80 years, PILC is here to stay.

Cable Splicing

Lead Splice

Student Splicers – here the trainees are cleaning down their lead pots in preparation for the 1/c 250 MCM lead splice. Using specialised cable splicing tools including soldering irons, melting pots, pouring ladles, tallow wiping cloths, lead ringers, compound kettles, stearine candles and paraffin dippers to perfect the wipe.

Cable Splices

Pencilling in Preparation

Pencilling Preparation – a student performs the cable pencilling in preparation for the 3 conductor sweat onto the practice cable splice. Safe knifework requires a steady hand, cool concentration and the manual dexterity of a surgeon. Because the power they’re supplying is electrifying and the Splicer must not lose control.

First, build the splice. Second, break the splice. Third, make the “Y” into a “V”.

Cable Splice

With the insulators in place, the “Y” is now a “V”.

Cable Splices

Image: John Perez (Quanta Underground Power Services)

Cable Splice

3/c 500mcm PILC splice

Practice Makes Perfect – a practice cable splice by one of the student Splicers that was done in preparation of the test splice – 3/c 500 MCM PILC cable splice. Splice integrity is crucial – localised lead corrosion permitting moisture ingress into cable insulation through cracks in the wipe area being a main precipitation of cable failure.

Cable Preparation

Student practicing cable preparation and set up for sweating the connector.

Pre-taping

PILC Splicing – here the student is pre-taping to fill in the insulation layer across the core connector.

Lead Splicers

Lead Splicers Night Light – a hot pot of lead that is being cleaned with Stearine. Stearine is a product used to cool the lead and to help remove impurities.

About Quanta Services

Quanta Services has the knowledge and expertise to handle a full spectrum of MV HV Power projects. From the most straightforward, single-component installation to the most complex, multi-state project, Quanta can handle the job safely, efficiently and cost-effectively.

Quantas Services

For Quanta, safety is the core that all their values centre around. Quanta will find a solution for every customer, but they will also find the option that protects their people, their customers and their communities.

Safety - Core Principal of Quanta Services

Safety – Core Principal of Quanta Services

Lazy Q Ranch – Training facility

John Colson, founder of Quanta Services opened a training facility known as Lazy Q Ranch in August 2015 where the industry workforce could be trained under the strictest safety measures.

The Lazy Q Ranch is a world class training facility situated on over 2,100 acres focusing on safety education, skill development and certifications.

Training is available for electric power lineman on cutting-edge technology for all transmission structure types and up to 345kV. This area is powered by its own substation, completely separate from the power provided for the Ranch. Quanta Energized Services oversees this portion of the training facility, bringing proprietary technology techniques to the workforce.

The oil and gas section houses pipelines in all major diameters, a flow loop and underground testing capabilities. The pipeline area was designed to be flexible and allow for various diameter pipes to be brought in for integrity testing and training, making this a custom-solution for training on a challenging project.

The telecommunications village features a small town with homes at various stages of construction. This enables development training at all milestones of a project.

The Lazy Q Ranch evolves with the industry and was designed to mirror Quanta’s growth. As Quanta Services expand their service capabilities, so will the training facility.

Currently Quanta are offering the following training courses:

  • AUT Technology
  • Barehand
  • Crane Training
  • Directional Drilling
  • Fiber Splicing
  • Fundamentals of Pipeline Inspection
  • Hot Stick
  • I&R
  • Inside Build
  • Lineman Training
  • Micro-Trenching
  • MT & UT Training & Certification
  • Pipeline Data Analyst
  • Q-Inline Prep for Field Based Inspection
  • Robotic Arm
  • Safety Accident Investigation Workshop
  • Tool Testing
  • Weights & Forces
  • Work Procedure Training

Thorne & Derrick Specialist Electrical DistributorThorne & Derrick

LV ♦ MV ♦ HV

T&D distribute the most extensive range of LV, MV & HV Cable Jointing, Terminating, Installation & Cable Pulling Equipment – we service UK and international clients working on underground cables, overhead lines, substations and electrical construction at LV, 11kV, 33kV and EHV transmission and distribution voltages.

LV – Low Voltage Cable Joints, Glands, Cleats, Lugs & Accessories (1000 Volts)

LV – Low Voltage Cable Joints, Glands, Cleats, Lugs & Accessories (1000 Volts)

MV HV – Medium & High Voltage Cable Joints, Terminations & Connectors (11kV 33kV EHV)

MV HV – Medium & High Voltage Cable Joints, Terminations & Connectors (11kV 33kV EHV)

Cable Laying – Underground Cable Covers, Ducting, Seals & Cable Pulling Equipment

Cable Laying – Underground Cable Covers, Ducting, Seals & Cable Pulling Equipment

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T&D’s Power Blog covers: LV MV HV & EHV Transmission & Distribution, Substations, Switchgear, Cable Jointing & Termination, Cable Fault & Repair, Underground Cables.