Hinkley Point C in Somerset is a mammoth construction project being undertaken by energy giant EDF. A small army of 4000 contractors is working on a plant that, once commissioned, will supply electricity to around six million homes.
Amongst the extensive arsenal of specialist equipment being used during construction are vehicles known simply as MSVs – multi-service vehicles. That plain-sounding name hardly does justice to what these impressive workhorses are capable of. Long, thin and comprised of several trailers, MSVs resemble small trains on wheels. They are in fact designed as alternatives to rolling stock, enabling the transportation of heavy materials and components around a site without having to lay down tracks.
MSVs have a cabin at both ends, meaning they can be driven in either direction. This makes them very adept and manoeuvering in and out of tight spaces like tunnels. However, it is also essential that the operators in each cabin are able to communicate with each other at all times. As part of its contract to supply MSVs for the project, French firm TMS had to provide such a means of keeping in touch.
That’s where Brentwood came in.
Solutions for industry
With decades of experience supplying two way radio solutions to industry, we are used to getting all manner of requests for bespoke set-ups to serve critical operations, and we are always confident of putting together a package to suit every requirement.
In this case, we supplied Motorola DM1400 units, a quality digital two way vehicle mounted radio which we judged would provide the kind of reliable, clear audio needed to keep the MSV drivers in touch at all times.
The unique part of this brief was overcoming the signal interruption issues that can arise in confined spaces like tunnels. Usually we would install fixed antennas, but as these radios were being used to enable communication on the MSVs rather than on the ground, the antennas would have to move with the vehicle. For that reason, we installed low profile antennas on the roof of each MSV – small boxes that would avoid being knocked off by a low roof the way a standard antenna would.
We also supplied voltage droppers to convert the 24V power supply on the MSVs to the 12V needed to run the mobile radios. The set up was supplied with eight back-to-back channels for direct communication between the different radio units. At the request of the client, however, we allocated one as a ‘scanning channel’ – meaning all traffic from the other seven would pass through it, making it a good monitoring resource for management and supervisors.
To learn more about our specialist services for business and industry, contact our team today on 01245 403520.