Portable optical fiber cable storage reel

This cable reel allows one person to deploy and reel in 1.5 km of wire or fiber optic cable

Tactical fiber cable reel allows easier deployment of cable

The tactical cable reel allows easier deployment of cable. (Navy photo)

The United States military stores 1,500 meters of 100 lb fiber optic cable on a reel. These conventional cable reels wind the cable around four rods, which bends the cable at about 90 degrees, causing signal loss and permanent deformation to the cable. Deploying the cable requires a rod inserted into the center hub of the spool and held at each end by two people while a third person unrolls or rewinds the cable. This utilizes valuable manpower and time, especially in a military environment. In addition, the spool is often rolled on the ground to deploy the fiber cable, which can damage the fragile cable due to spool hub and rim diameter differential.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, has developed, patented, and field-tested an easy-to-use cable reel suited for 100 lb fiber optic cable that can be operated by one person. This technology reduces failures, increases the capability of the cable by protecting its shape during reeling, and increases mean time between failures. The cable reel has a patented bearing system that allows the discs to spin independently from the spool. This allows easier rewinding with a hand crank, whether the reel is stationary, rolling on the ground, or in the back of a moving vehicle. The long side will unreel from the top and the short end side will unreel from the bottom. Alignment tabs are used to help align the reel when removing or installing on a trailer. In addition, the cable reel reduces the amount of manpower required for setting up and tear down.

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