Nexans uses IoT to track cable reels

  • September 28, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Nexans Canada has launched a service providing cable reel tracking via connected devices. The Connected Drum IoT service enables real-time location, theft and loss detection and management of residual cable lengths on reels.

By tracking and monitoring cable reels that are off-site or at subcontractor locations, savings can be realised. The service includes an online and mobile software platform for management. This provides the real-time location of each reel as well as an alert system for monitoring on-site events including deliveries and pick-ups.

The current pilot with a utility includes residual cable length monitoring and management.

Utilities can lose thousands of dollars a year due to the lack of visibility or theft of their reels scattered across construction sites. This is because complex supply chain processes can involve multiple teams, construction sites and subcontractors; as a result, expensive cable reels are frequently lost, stolen or left idle on sites. It is also difficult for utilities to monitor their stock across multiple remote storage sites.

Device options available for connection to the software platform include 3G, 4G and 5G devices. These devices, with temperature and rotation sensors, are integrated into each reel and connect wirelessly to a cloud-based management platform. Real-time geolocation is used to identify the cable reels’ locations.

The service also allows for an alert notification if a reel is moved outside of normal working hours.

With artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing, it identifies how much cable is left on each reel after cuts are made. A real-time interface between the connected drums platform and Nexans enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology ensures users can monitor their reels and access business information such as cable type and remaining lengths, site locations, stock levels, and other important details. Multiple KPIs can also be visualised on dynamic dashboards.

The service may be used with both wood and steel reels.

“Most customers do not have a way to know how much cable is on a specific reel and where the reel is, whether in a warehouse or out on a project site,” said Nada Filipovic, Nexans services manager for North America. “We spoke to customers during the development of our service and included their requirements to include the monitoring of residual cable lengths on the reels.”

Headquartered in France, Nexans employs nearly 26,000 people with an industrial footprint in 34 countries and commercial activities worldwide. In 2019, the group generated €6.7bn in sales.