Local exchange in Geneva-Monthoux dismantled after 35 years.

In June 1987, TDM equipment (time-division multiplexing) was installed in the Swisscom local exchange in Geneva-Monthoux. Exactly 35 years later, in June 2022, the exchange was completely and successfully dismantled. A project on a national scale, in which various teams from cablex were involved, working passionately together to get the job done.

Martina Strazzer 1-1
Author Martina Strazzer

From the outside, the building in the heart of Geneva's Pâquis district had already looked markedly different two years ago. It had been transformed into a luxury rental building. This also posed the greatest challenge to cablex during the dismantling project. Solutions had to be found to ensure that tenants/owners were not disturbed, floors and corridors were not damaged and all the dismantled material could be transported from the basement using the lift; there was only space for one pallet per trip inside the lift!

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The dismantling work.

Before the work could begin, the cablex team developed a strategy for disassembling and transporting all racks, distributors, cabinets and cables without damaging the interior of the building. In addition to the walls, special attention had to be paid to the glass bannisters, narrow hallways and installations on the corridor walls. No containers could be placed in front of the building, and the trucks had to be loaded up and sent off without delay upon arrival.

A platform was constructed to bridge a 20 cm dip in the basement. All dismantled material and racks were cut up and/or arranged to ensure they fitted onto a single pallet. The lift and all easily-damaged parts of the building were masked or protected with boards. The pallets were prepared and stored in the basement, ensuring that all that was left to do when the truck arrived was to retrieve them.

The tasks in detail:

  • Uninstalling 73 EWSD racks with cables
  • Dismantling four complete distributors and ten transmission racks 
  • Removal of the power cable for a 48 V distribution cabinet
  • Disassembling all cables that had already been cut
  • Emptying all cabinets
  • Preparing the materials on 95 double-frame pallets (40 tonnes)Removal from the basement to the ground floor and loading onto the truck

Local exchange in Geneva-Monthoux dismantled after 35 years.

Teamwork under time pressure.

The dismantling work began on 16 May 2022. The entire project had to be completed by 30 June 2022. A deadline that could only be kept thanks to the seamless interdepartmental cooperation by the teams at cablex! With considerable flexibility, nine highly motivated employees from IBS, WCO and WRL got stuck in, working with dedication and determination to uphold the tight deadline.

Yvan Barbey, responsible for order handling in the Dispatching division (CX-IBS-PPS-W), described the project as demanding, but successful:

Our responsibility in Dispatching was to open the order in SAP in the way that had been agreed with the client (Swisscom-INI). We also managed the planning and coordination of resources on site. To facilitate the dismantling of the local exchange, we needed six (FTE) employees for a period of seven weeks. Finding so many technicians for this work was no small task. Nevertheless, we were able to count on the support of the other units within cablex to help us out personally. A good example of interdepartmental cooperation. We usually order skips and pallets for waste disposal and recycling. In this case it was not possible to place skips in the vicinity of the local exchange, since traffic on this arterial road is very heavy. Managing the movement of the pallets proved to be a difficult task for the technicians, excellent coordination was required to successfully master this job.

Yvan Barbey, responsible for order handling in the Dispatching division.

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It was a fairly stressful project due to the quantity of equipment that required dismantling. But the most stressful aspect was the precautionary measures needed to ensure that we did not damage the property of third parties. I was fortunate to have great colleagues at cablex who understood the importance of the dismantling project and put considerable effort into it. This allowed us to complete the dismantling in the given time frame and, first and foremost, without damaging the building. A huge thank you to the entire dismantling team.

Azevedo Helder, site manager at cablex.

Thanks to the commitment and excellent collaboration between Swisscom Suisse SA and Cablex SA, we achieved all of the project’s targets as to quality, costs and time frames. Certain elements that specifically concerned the site, tenants and handling of materials posed challenges, but we rose to these. A big thank you to everyone involved for this successful accomplishment!

Martin Wenger, Project Manager at Swisscom.

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