Tekdata provides cabling for new-generation emergency roadside telephones

17th January 2007
ES Admin
Tekdata Interconnections has been contracted by GAI-Tronics to design and manufacture a range of cables for use within more than 5,000 emergency roadside telephone units. GAI-Tronics, a leading designer and manufacturer of rugged, specialised communication products and systems, is supplying the Highways Agency with a new generation of telephones on motorways and trunk roads across England. The contract forms part of a £20 million Highways Agency technology upgrade project spanning three years.
The new ‘Type 354’ telephones incorporate sophisticated features that greatly improve functionality for both the user at the roadside and the control office operators. They replace the existing ‘Type 352A’ units, which were also produced by GAI-Tronics, a division of Hubbell Limited. The increased functionality of the new phones, as well as the need to withstand extreme weather conditions, makes the quality and durability of the cabling more important than ever.

Like the telephones themselves, the cables provided by Tekdata meet stringent requirements for operational reliability in harsh environments. Designed for an extended installed system life, they meet Ingress Protection classification IP65 and are capable of operating across a temperature range of –20°C to +80°C. The flat woven cables carry copper wire with a PTFE dielectric and are shielded by an optimised tin-and-copper braid, yet have thin walls to minimise overall package size.

As well as operating with the vast majority of phones which connect to the control centre by conventional means, the cables also support GPS units in remote locations. In addition, Tekdata has provided extended cabling for high-level beacons in tunnels, which flash to indicate where the phones are located.

Tekdata’s Managing Director, Ernie Edwards, said: “We are delighted to be working as an approved supplier to GAI-Tronics on this major project. Their products and ours are renowned for reliability and ruggedness, qualities that are essential to meet the strict demands of the Highways Agency.”

The new, highly visible telephone units reduce background traffic noise and incorporate a loud siren and flashing light to signal that the phone is ringing. Drivers with hearing difficulties can also take advantage of a text display and questions that can be answered using tick and cross buttons, with a choice of languages available. Other benefits include easy maintenance and cost-effective repair. In addition, the new units use solar energy alongside more traditional sources, helping to maintain energy efficiency.

The new phones have already been installed on roads in Kent, Essex and Nottinghamshire. The project will continue from Kent along the motorways towards Bristol and then up to Manchester, working its way around England.

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