POWER #11

Feat of strength in a holiday paradise

Despite the adverse conditions during the construction phase, the project was successfully completed, and vacationers can now enjoy a worry-free stay at their holiday paradise resort.

The French company’s Groupe Pierre & Vacances / Center Parcs’ holiday village in Leutkirch promises a relaxing holiday. The homes here sit among woods and meadows in beautiful Allgäu, have access to a huge swimming complex with a spa & country club, as well as a tropical swimming paradise, Aqua Mundo. But before families could feel at home there, several challenges had to be overcome. Among them was the installation of cables, as Franz Graile from Elektrotechnik Hafner in Thannhausen explains. The basic provision of electricity to 1000 holiday homes presented the family-run company with a huge task. They had just under 18 months to get everything up and running with the aid of a 1000-person workforce. “We installed the entire power supply,” reports Purchasing Manager Graile. Approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) of cable had to be laid from the 17 transformer stations at the park entrance to every single house via trenches. “The 50 kilometres (31 miles) of low voltage cable was 30 to 50 millimetres (1.2 to 2.0 inches) thick, making it difficult to handle,” he recalls.

The ground was also very sandy and marshy, which meant the cables had to meet special demands. “When buried in this type of ground, they have to withstand moisture and be very robust because of the mechanical stress,” says Graile. The NAYCWY cable with PVC sheathing stipulated by the project’s electrical planner and designed, among other things, for underground installation, was delivered directly to the construction site on short notice by HELUKABEL.

Thomas Hörmann, HELUKABEL’s area sales manager, says the exceptional challenges weren’t just the forest floor, but also the huge quantities of cable that had to be delivered at precisely the right moment. The largest drum had a diameter of three metres (10 feet) and weighed six tonnes. In his opinion, such quantities and weights can only be shouldered by a market leader such as HELUKABEL. Hafner employees also had a lot to shoulder: the construction site turned out to be a real feat of strength for them. Drums with 800 to 1000 metres (2625 to 3280 feet) of cable and weighing several tonnes had to be moved along the trenches on trucks and off-road vehicles. Graile describes the procedure. “First the heating pipes were laid in the trenches and covered with sand. These were followed by the medium and low voltage cables, which were also covered with sand to allow empty ducts for glass fibre connections to be placed on top of them. We were moving four to five drums along the edge of the trench at the same time,” he reports. The geological condition of the ground and weather did not make the work of the Hafner experts any easier. The trenches had to be pumped out several times after heavy rain, and the sandy sides of the trench partially collapsed. “But thanks to our expertise and the just-in-time availability of HELUKABEL products, we were able to react quickly,” says Graile.

The journey was not an easy one: sandy and marshy ground, and extreme weather conditions posed complex challenges to the experts from Elektrotechnik Hafner GmbH when they were installing cables at Park Allgäu. Here is there story about the gigantic construction site.