Factors increasing the complexity of
the job were the increase in the size and
length of the cable required, and a tight
timeline for installation given the need to
have the new cable reel operational prior
to the onset of winter.
Placing its confidence in Conductix’s ability to meet the deadline and needs for performance, Conductix and CN’s engineering teams worked together on
the technical specifications of the project.
The new cable reel would have to accommodate an active travel
distance of 1,600 feet and manage a 4/0 AWG 3 Conductor
SHD-GC 5kV All-Temp Industrite cable manufactured by Draka
(Prysmian Group). CN settled on Conductix’s new Level Wind
Reel (LWR). The LWR design, originally developed by Conductix-
Wampfler France, incorporates a unique skeleton spool with an
internal support design that strengthens the spool, while
maintaining maximum rigidity and an overall lighter reel-weight
With a total weight of 11,000 pounds, the LWR offers easy
accessibility for technicians to get inside the unit. The reel design
also helps with the ventilation of the cable, thus lowering the
operating temperature, the de-rating factor, and ultimately the
size of the cable. The LWR is powered by Conductix-Wampfler’s
permanent magnetic coupler drive which offers numerous
advantages such as smooth constant torque, no friction, no loss
of cable tension, and low inertia even when cable tension is high.
Flexibility in this type of heavy-duty application is key to
minimizing downtime and achieving long equipment life.
The new LWR cable reel was adapted and manufactured by
Conductix-Wampfler USA in Omaha, Nebraska. It was ordered
in July of 2014 and delivered to CN’s Duluth facility in mid-
September of that year. This enabled CN to have the new reel installed and operational before the 2014/15 winter season.
“This application is a testament to Conductix-Wampfler’s ability
to respond quickly to the need for a customized, highly
engineered solution to meet our customer’s requirements” says
Mark Schechinger, Engineered Product Specialist at Conductix-
Nearly one year after installing the LWR cable reel, CN is
already well on its way to achieving higher degrees of operational
safety, increased productivity and cost savings.
Conductix-Wampfler is the largest global producer of systems
and equipment for transferring energy and data for applications
such as cranes and other material handling equipment, people
movers, light rail systems, amusement rides, and many types of
automated machines. The company has one critical mission: to
provide energy and data transmission systems that keep vital
operations running 24/7/365. Its rugged, low-maintenance
products have been proven over time in the most demanding
industrial environments and are backed by a combined
worldwide sales and service network unmatched in the industry.
In business for nearly 100 years, CN is a world-class
transportation leader. CN offers the only North American
Railroad service that extends to three coasts. The company has
regional assets in Duluth, Proctor, and Two Harbors. With strategically located Intermodal Terminals,
CN has access to 75% of the US population
and all major Canadian markets. Well
known as an indispensable link in the supply
chain for natural resources like grain, coal
and forest products, CN is also a prime
mover of consumer goods and industrial
The Duluth Ore Dock (formerly part of
the Duluth Missabe Iron Range Railroad –
DM&IR) is one of the longest iron ore
docks in the world at over a half mile long.
At the Duluth intermodal facility, taconite
and limestone are loaded from the railcar
to the vessel and vice versa. DMIR Dock 6
first started in 1918 as a gravity-feed dock.
In 1965, an adjacent pellet storage area was
built that now covers nearly 45 acres. A
1981 renovation added a conveyor loading
system, and a receiving hopper was added in
the early 1990s to handle inbound bulk
material vessel cargoes.