Anti-theft solutions for copper cables

Anti-theft solutions for copper cables

Anti-theft solutions for copper cablesProject description

  • European Railway Operators are looking for solutions to fight copper cable theft along railway tracks
  • Nexans has developed and patented two different technical solutions to reduce copper theft (Germany) and to find the owner of stolen copper cables (France).

Customer challenges

  • Since copper has reached record values since 2006, a real business has been established around the theft of copper cables which are laid along railways tracks.
  • Every week all main European operators suffer from this robbery, whose direct effects are more and more service interruptions of which the costs exceed by far the pure replacement cost.
  • All solutions aiming at making theft more difficult or/and track the stolen cables have been evaluated.

Anti-theft solutions for copper cablesNexans’ solutions

  • Solutions have been developed to improve traceability of stolen cables, but most of them are based upon chemical compounds that could disappear when the insulation or sheathing materials are burnt to recuperate the precious copper.
  • Nexans has developed 2 different solutions :
    • Anti-theft grounding cable : hybrid steel / copper conductors to increase the mechanical resistance of the cables and strongly reduce the attractivity of the cable (German solution – details in attached document)
    • Anti-theft marking : copper tapes inserted in the conductor core with punched marking to identify the cable owner in the copper resale and recuperation chain (French solution – details in attached document)
  • Both solutions could be combined to increase efficiency, without dramatically increasing its cost.


  • Deutsche Bahn and SNCF / RFF have chosen these solutions for some field trials or first implementations in 2012.

Files (attachments)