Prysmian Group Fiberglass Capsules Alteration Job

A company called Prysmian Group had a huge electrical interconnection transmission link project going on, called "The Hudson Transmission Project." They got in touch with me about helping them out with a problem they incurred, after receiving some fiberglass capsules from Italy. The capsules were to house 3 separate 6" oil-cooled, electric, fiber optic cable connections, and run under the Hudson River from Ridgefield, New Jersey to the New York City downtown financial district.

The capsules needed some alterations because there had been some design changes made, at the location where they were going to be used. Prysmian Group told me that they couldn't send the capsules back to Italy for modification, because shipping would take a month or two to get there. This company had 45 union electrical workers waiting for these capsules at their New York and New Jersey locations (which is where the capsules were going to be installed). Considering the union labor rate and 45 union guys just standing around, it was going to be very expensive for Prysmian to have to wait out the time to return, and then receive modified capsules back from Italy.

Prysmian Group asked me to meet the guy from Italy who built the capsules. So I met with him, and we went over the plans together, and discussed what needed to be done.

I agreed to take on the job on and let him know I would be done with the modifications in about two weeks. He told Prysmian Group that everything was under control, and that he would stay in the United States for another two weeks to oversee my work. The union guys dropped off 3 of the capsules, and I jumped on them right away. The guy from Italy was watching me the whole time (I'm not crazy about people watching me).

First, I started by making up wooden templates. He watched me without saying a word. Next, I started cutting the fiberglass capsules that he made in Italy. By the third day, he saw how I made the molds, how they fitted the capsules, and he was very impressed with my work. He realized that I knew what I was doing and let me know that he was heading back to Italy.

My first modified capsule was done in four days and the union guys came down to pick it up (gotta keep the union guys busy!). In all, I did six capsules. And every one of them came out great and were completed on time.

Here are some links on the project:

  1. Hudson Project
  2. Hudson Project Gallery
  3. Prysmian Group Press Release
  4. YouTube Prysmian Group
  5. Prysmian Group Job Completed

Step-by-Step Fiberglass Modifications Procedure

Here are the original capsules.

These are the alteration plans.

These capsules were about 16-feet-long. The changes were needed to the middle section.

Side view of area that needed to be modified.

Capsule split in half. Here, I'm separating them.

The capsules are open; outlining the templates.

Designing the outline on plywood, and cutting them out.

I used the finished plywood templates to make the cut marks on the capsules.

The measurments here were very important.

Removing the rubber gasket from the capsules.

This was a quick mold out of fiberglass, to get the first section going.

Cutting up the capsules.

Grinding the gel coat off of the capsules, so the fiberglass will stick to it.

This is what the capsules look like when cut.

I casted a fiberglass panel (see photo #11), which shows where I mounted it to the capsules.

I had to use many clamps in order to keep the shape of the capsules, while installing the fiberglass sections to make the mold.

Here is what the bottom section looked like with the fiberglass and cut section together.

The area was sprayed with a heat-resistant polyester coating, which I made my molds from.

Area sanded smooth for the gel coat to make the molds.

Area sprayed with gel coat.

Back view of capsules.

Here, I laid fiberglass in the capsules, using plywood supports for the mold.

I popped out the mold and rested it on top of the capsule.

This is what it looked like when I was done.

This is the top section of another mold that had to be fabricated.

Here, the two molds sit together.

Prepping the capsules to accept the molds.

The fiberglass work in photo #19 had to then be cut out. The fiberglass was just a temporary mold to make the final mold, and wouldn't have been strong enough to use as a final mold, as you can see here.

Connecting the two capsules to see how they matched up.

Close-up to show how I cleaned and ground the fiberglass.

Mounting the molds in the capsule, using many clamps.

This is what it looks like, when done right.

Same here. Looks good.

The two capsules side-by-side, with the molds installed.

Heat-resistant gel coat sprayed on the molds and ready for fiberglass.

Here, I laid fiberglass over the bottom section.

Bottom section, opposite side of capsule with fiberglass.

Upper capsule, with fiberglass.

The mold was taken out of the bottom capsule -- this is how good it looked.

The mold was taken out of the upper capsule -- looks good!

Then I put the two halves back together.

Close-up of area with new design.

Here are the fiberglass capsules in a concrete pit, with the 6" lines running through them.

Close-up photo of the pit area. Once these were set in place, the top of the units were opened, and filled with a black rubber-like liquid. Then they're sealed back up again, and the whole pit is filled with a light-weight concrete.