Designing a measurement set-up for an electric cable splicing machine

Finished: 2023-06-28

BSc assignment


One of the largest hurdles in the Dutch energy transition is the connection of multiple pieces of electric cable. In order to connect two electric cables, for example when adding new pieces of grid to the existing power grid, the cables need to be processed in a process called cable splicing. This process is necessary in order to connect the cables using a cable connector. The process of cable splicing is currently performed by technicians who use low-tech tools to perform the various cable splicing tasks. However, the main problem is that there are not enough technicians to meet customer demands, leading to waiting lists for the construction of new housing and factory projects and an inability to achieve the clean energy goals of 2030 and 2050.

In a collaboration between University of Twente (Robotics and Mechatronics group) and N.V. Alliander, we are researching the possibility of a cable splicing machine for medium voltage cables (20 kV). This can be anywhere from a mechanized tool to a full-autonomous robot. The purpose of this machine is to aid technicians by making their work easier or faster, while also decreasing the failure rate of the cable splicing process. The project is currently in the research/design phase.

Project description:

In order to aid this project, we are looking for a technical bachelor student with an interest in mechatronics, electronics, sensors and data processing. During this assignment, the student will design an experiment set-up, perform experiments using various sensors, and process the data which was found during the experiments. An example of such an experiment is testing the forces that occur during certain parts of the cable splicing process. In this case, the student needs to measure the forces using a force sensor, and relate this to the angular position of the tool using an IMU sensor. The forces will be used as design input for determining the necessary frame strength and motor power.

The student will also aid in the research and design of the cable splicing machine, and give input to the other researchers. This can be anywhere from theoretical research to hardware/software design. The exact contents of the bachelor assignment will depend on the current developments in the project and to the preferences of the student.