John Pipe Case Study – Cable Drums

Established in 1961 and employing 40 people, with an annual turnover exceeding £5m, John Pipe International has been partnering with manufacturers and exporters of goods in the south west and beyond for over 60 years. While the majority of our customers are based near our two branches in Dorset & Hampshire, our reach does extend to all of the UK and even abroad. As Export Packers and Freight Forwarders, we have packed and shipped any product you could imagine. From tiny screws for airplanes, to huge cheese making machines for the dairy industry. You name it, we have probably packed and shipped it.

We manufacture bespoke wooden and cardboard boxes for our customer’s goods, secure the items within these boxes and arrange the onward shipping. Of course, some of the products we support our customers with, take planning, packaging design work and additional lifting resources, such as cranes and, as you might expect, careful routing. So far the largest wooden box we have made is 12 x 4 x 4 metres. The heaviest item we have shipped?… 40 tonnes.

It is not unusual for JPI to be asked to design bespoke packaging for a particular item or kit of parts, conforming to a set of criteria set by the end user. At JPI we excel at this, having designed and packaged items from any industry you care to mention. And not every packaging design is a box…

The Challenge

Design a Cable Drum that meets the following requirements:

  • Capable of holding 95m of cable (100 Kg approx.)
  • Completed solution needs to be weatherproof.
  • Sheathed to protect cables while cable drum is rolled from one point to another.
  • Sheathing to be removable without the use of tools.
  • Capable of winding a cable onto the drum, without the requirement for additional equipment.
  • Possible to move from one point to another, without use of mechanical aids.

The Solution

Using strong plywood and timber pieces, we have created an incredibly strong storage solution. At a testing event, we loaded twice the amount of cable onto our drum and repeatedly rolled it up and down high kerbs and over uneven ground to replicate the harsh handling it would receive.

Our drum survived the testing, confirming that we had designed a solution that could bear the required weight of cables that it would be used for.

To make the drum weatherproof, every part of our solution is painted or greased to protect it.

A shroud made of slats of timber, joined together with webbing that can be secured around the flanges of the drum and secured by hand tightening a wing nut provides the required outer protection without the need for tools.

By creating a drum within two wider outer flanges (effectively a drum within a drum), we made it possible for a cable to be wound on by spinning the inner drum, while the outer flanges were stationary. The wider outer flanges make it possible for the cable drum to be rolled around, enabling the drum to be moved from place to place without the need for mechanical aids.

Rotating around a specially created spindle with bearings, the weight of the cable was not an issue, and one person could easily spin the inner drum to wind the cable on or off the drum.

The Benefit

Our customer is looking for a practical solution to overcome the difficulties they had experienced in the past. This relatively low-cost solution matched their requirements perfectly. Furthermore, as the solution is made from wood it is noted that empty drums are easily recycled when no longer required.

Our services: How we can help...

For sixty years, John Pipe International have been a diligent provider of export services. Based in the South of England, we are fully equipped to handle your export packing and freight needs. Whether you’re shipping overseas or packing dangerous items, our team are on hand to assist with the logistics of your project. With our MPAS certification, we are happy to assist with military and defence exports.

Management team

It takes a dedicated team to manage global logistics. The John Pipe International management team have years of experience and background knowledge. Find out more about the people who will manage your export project..

Jon Bradley

Jon Bradley


Jon joined us more than 25 years ago from a strong engineering and manufacturing background. His appreciation of machinery and processes can provide assurance to our customers from packaging design to delivery, linking all the different logistical elements to ensure goods are packed, handled and exported in the safest and most efficient way.

Nathan Kennedy

Nathan Kennedy

Managing Director

Nathan was approved by the MoD as a Military packaging designer in 2012, after qualifying as a Military packaging professional. Coupled with his Dangerous Goods in Transit qualification, Nathan can apply this knowledge and experience to ensure any goods are packed in tried and tested containers.

Case Study - Cable Drums

Jon Felton


Jon is the Works Director for John Pipe International, based at the Hampshire branch. He has been a logistics professional for over 25 years and has held management positions in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. This has allowed him to build strong customer relationships and offer a comprehensive service package for packing and shipping to our clients.