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Tube Bundles for Mole Ploughing - M8 Motorway, Scotland


Emtelle delivered sub ducts for mole ploughing on the M8 in Scotland

At Emtelle, we have extensive experience of manufacturing sub ducts for mole ploughing, however it was only when telecommunications provider C-Plan approached us on behalf of Amey Highways with a specific set of requirements that we developed a blown fibre based tube bundle that could be mole ploughed into the ground.

The M8 motorway is one of the busiest in Scotland – connecting the country’s two largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, whilst serving other large communities such as Livingston, Paisley and the commuter belt towns of North Lanarkshire. The installation of fibre cables along the M8 motorway, used to control the traffic matric signs, represented a huge challenge in terms of logistics, installation time, disruption and traffic management.

Emtelle Tube Bundles for Mole Ploughing

Mole plough tube bundles vs. traditional installation methods

Installing fibre cables alongside motorways is a cumbersome process at the best of times – trenches must be opened, ducting must be transported to the site and installed, cable warning tapes added, soil backfilled, and finally the ducts must be covered up with as-dug materials. Furthermore, there is the requirement for traffic management at all times due to the speed of passing traffic through the project site.

Moving from traditional installation methods to mole ploughing with our FibreFlowTM blown fibre solution reduced the risk, installation time, disruption and cost. A faster installation system meant less time near the motorway and less people onsite.

With tube bundle installation speeds of up to 2km a day and fibre installation speeds of up to 8km of 4 fibre a day, C-Plan’s speed of installation was dramatically increased – 22km of fibre was installed in a matter of days. In addition to the reduced installation time, blown fibre solutions eliminate the inherent risk of damage to fibres with preinstalled fibres.

The 7 way DBSA tube bundle product employed on the M8 project has several features that are beneficial to mole plough application:

  • Small diameter – 23mm
  • Steel armouring
  • PVC bedding for kink resistance during installation
  • High crush resistance
  • Capacity for up to 12 fibres in 7 tubes (84 fibres) depending upon distance required

“I was hugely impressed with Emtelle from the start of the project. The installation training was direct, informative and of great benefit to the installers. Both the theory and practical parts were delivered in a highly professional way. The onsite support we received was second to none, with any issues resolved quickly.”

Ralph McCarry, Fibre Manager, C-Plan

Microduct installation
Emtelle provided thousands of kilometres of its FibreFlow™ Microduct solution to the transalpine Swiss Railway Gotthard Base Tunnel.
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