Using computer vision for monitoring the peeling process of semiconducting insulation shield of medium voltage cables

Finished: 2023-06-12

MSc assignment

The Dutch electricity grid needs to be expanded to fulfill the change from fossil energy to renewable energy. The network operator Alliander manages the electricity grid to about 5.8 million clients. A great part of this electricity grid is built using medium voltage cables, 20 kv XLPE cables. Since these cables need to span long distances, they are extended using cable connectors. A cable connector is installed by the following steps:
1) Stripping the cable.
2) Connect both cables using metal cable connectors.
3) Install the insulation and shield.

The cable stripping process is what this project is about and is done by the following steps:
1) Remove the outer mantle and swell band.
2)Fold away the copper ground wire mesh.
3) Remove the swell band and filler material.
4) Peel away semi-conducting layer or insulation shield.
5) Peel away the insulation and second semi-conducting layer.

Roughly one in a thousand of these connectors are installed improperly, which results in connector failures. Many installation mistakes happen in the cable stripping process. Especially, peeling away the semiconducting insulation shield is most prone to human errors. This project focuses on developing computer vision algorithms to monitor the peeling process and verify that it is done correctly.