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Germany’s SKET Verseilmaschinenbau GmbH reports that it has installed and commissioned two lines that have been approved by the customer, Hengtong Submarine Power Cable Co., Ltd. (Hengtong)

A press release said that SKET supplied a vertical stranding line and an armoring line, where were signed off by Manager Qian Zhikang and Production Manager Pan Wenlin for production of high-voltage offshore power cable (220kV, 3x500 mm², XLPE insulated) that could be as long as 27 km.

The project was able to be completed in less than two years because of the mutual efforts and cooperation between the Hengtong and SKET staff, the release said. SKET provided its unique technology for the units that included the bearing concept turntable, taping units, bitumen units, for its intended use in producing extra-long power cables. SKET also supplied a rigid strander for making 500-sq-mm copper conductors for use in extraordinary lengths

The release said that the order from Hengtong represents SKET’s first project from a Chinese cable manufacturer. "This project can be seen as a milestone of SKET’s activities in Asia."

The HV offshore power cable is a key markets for cable manufacturers in China. For Hengtong, this will be its first time producing such a long offshore power cable without any joints, which makes this order "a big success for all parties in this project."

Citing a high cost basis and pricing pressure, Bekaert announced that it will close Bekaert Costa Rica SA plant in Orotina, Costa Rica, which manufactures Dramix® steel fiber, which will continue to be offered from other Bekaert plants.

A press release said that Costa Rica Bekaert currently employs 147 people in two legal entities in Orotina: Bekaert Costa Rica SA (64 people) and BIA Alambres Costa Rica SA (83 people). The Bekaert Costa Rica SA entity manufactures Dramix steel fibers for concrete reinforcement while BIA Alambres Costa Rica SA produces steel wire products for agricultural fencing and construction markets. Both entities belong to the same partnership in which the Bekaert Ideal Holding—an 80/20 partnership between Bekaert and its Ecuadorian partners, represented by members of the Kohn family—holds 73% of the shares and ArcelorMittal the remaining 27%.

Management has informed the employees about the decision, and plans to offer a transfer for 20 part-time employees to its sister plant.

The plant was opened in 2014.

India’s Sterlite Tech announced that it plans to add 15 million km to its optical-fiber cabling capacity, raising its total potential production to 33 million fiber km.

A press release said that the expansion for the integrated optical fiber and cable manufacturer will cost about $44 million). The project, to be completed in stages, is expected to come on-line by June 2020. It said that drivers for the initiative include strong market demand for "deep fiberization" for 5G, FTTx and data center connectivity.

"Given exponential data growth, telcos, internet companies and governments around the globe are looking for innovative network solutions for hyper-scale connectivity," said CEO Dr. Anand Agarwal. "Our customers see us as unique design-build-manage partners who are forward integrated from fiber and cable to network design and software solutions. This capacity investment will further deepen our customer engagement as we partner with them for network buildouts."

The company is expanding its solutions portfolio very rapidly. Recently, it announced a 100% acquisition of Metallurgica Bresciana in Italy for cable expansion, while earlier it had announced an expansion of its optical fiber capacity via a Greenfield investment. Sterlite Tech is also actively working on software-defined networks in virtualized environments.

The Prysmian Group reports that it has won a turnkey contract worth approximately €21 million from the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) for two interconnections between the Cyclades islands of Evia, Andros and Tinos.

A press release said that the order from IPTO, the transmission system operator of the Greek electricity system, calls for the design, supply and installation of two turnkey High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) cable systems. Designed to transmit a power of 200 MVA, the elements consist of 150 kV three core cables with XLPE insulation and double-wire armoring and associated fiber optic cable system along a total route of over 18 km (16.5 km submarine, 2 km land) for the interconnection between the four landfalls to the Greek islands.

The submarine cables will be manufactured in the company’s Arco Felice plant in Naples while the land cables will be produced in the Pignataro plant, also in Naples. The marine cable laying activities will be done by the Group’s "Giulio Verne" cable-laying vessel. The maximum water depth expected will be in the range of 550 m in the link between the islands Evia and Andros.

Production of both submarine and land cables will be carried out during 2018-2019. Delivery and commissioning is scheduled for Q3 2019.

The new project confirms Prysmian’s role and commitment in developing the Mediterranean region’s power grids and particularly in deep-water cable installation, the release said. It also proves the validity of Prysmian’s know-how and HVAC technologies.

This project follows the 2014 contract awarded by IPTO for the submarine interconnection between the island of Syros (Cyclades) and the mainland power transmission System in Lavrion, Greece.

The release said that Prysmian has a long-standing track record in the development of submarine interconnection milestone projects in the entire Mediterranean region, such as Italy-Greece, Sardinia-Italian Peninsula (SA.PE.I.), two interconnections between Spain and Morocco, two projects in the Balearic islands (Spanish mainland to Majorca and Ibiza to Majorca), the Cyclades project in Greece, Capri-Torre Annunziata and Capri-Sorrento in Italy and the Dardanelles link in Turkey.

JSW Steel Limited has signed a contract with Primetals Technologies for the supply and installation of a two-strand wire rod mill that will be located in Toranagallu, India. Start-up is expected at the end of 2019.

A press release said that Primetals Technologies will supply the complete wire rod mill. That includes all mechanical and electrical equipment for two-strand production from a single-stand roughing mill. Two independent rolling lines will then join at the coil-handling area for further compacting and unloading. Among other Morgan-branded equipment, the mill will include a new design of individually driven pre-finishing mill that eliminates the need for uploopers, a faster cooling nozzle clamping and unclamping method for shorter change times, the latest generation 6 Morgan High Speed Laying Head with SR Series pipe technology, and a recently patented stepless reform design.

The contract also includes site supervision and spare parts, the release said. Designed for a guaranteed maximum speed of 115 m per second, the mill will run at 220 tons per hour for an annual capacity of 1.2 mmt. Start-up is scheduled for the end of 2019.

The release said that this represents the third such purchase by JSW Steel from Primetals Technologies, JSW Steel, which previously installed a single-strand wire rod mill and a bar mill.

The new mill will be built in JSW Steel, based in Mumbai, India, is a leading integrated steel manufacturer in India with a capacity of 18 million metric tons per year. Owned by JSW Group, JSW Steel was founded in 1994 and exports its products to more than 100 countries on five continents. At its website, JSW notes, We are India’s largest steel exporter and ship to over a hundred companies across five continents. And we are just warming up.”

Corning Inc. has signed up to be the first tenant in a new business park being built in Hickory, North Carolina, a $60 million investment in its Optical Communications division.

A story by David Boraks, WFAE, said that city and Catawba County officials report that the plant will be built on 27 acres at the Trivium Corporate Center, between Robinwood and Startown roads. Local officials had been referring to the plan as "Project Wave" during negotiations with Corning.

The announcement came after the Hickory City Council and Catawba County Commission approved a series of incentives that provide Corning the land, valued at $605,000, and granting up to $1.7 million in tax rebates over five years. Corning also was given an option to acquire another 4.4 acres.

The project was expected to create 110 new jobs, the report said. Corning has committed to creating 75 new jobs by Dec. 31, 2020, and the remainder by Dec. 31, 2023. The manufacturing capacity will be used to produce a range of optical fiber and cable.

"Corning is investing in tomorrow’s growth today, as the growing number of connected devices fuels demand for our optical fiber and cable innovations," Dr. Bernhard Deutsch, vice president and general manager of Corning Optical Fiber and Cable, said in a statement.

Corning has more than 4,000 employees in North Carolina, in both cable manufacturing and life sciences. It is also building a new headquarters for the cable business, off I-485 in northwest Charlotte. That operation is expected to relocate to Charlotte from Hickory next year and could eventually employ up to 650 people.

Following the collapse of the westernmost pylon of a 51-year-old bridge in Genoa that killed 43 people, efforts to pinpoint the cause have centered on what was described as the bridge’s “unusual stay cables” design.

Crossing the Polcevera Valley, the 1.1-km-long viaduct included three cable-stayed sections on the east side, with spans ranging from about 142 m to 207 m. The westernmost pylon (span 9) collapsed during a storm before noon on Aug. 14. About 240 m of deck dropped some 45 m onto a highway, rail track and buildings.

Per a report in Engineering News-Record, Paris-based cable-stayed bridge engineer Michel Virlogeux—who studied the structure’s design and saw a video of the collapse—suspects cable failure. The bridge’s design was unusual in that it had a small number of stays, which provided no redundancy. Also, their prestressing created a “dynamic effect” when ruptured, hastening collapse, he said.

The report said that the stays of span 11 were reinforced over their full lengths with external steel plates in the 1990s, and that the tops of stays of span 10 were reinforced, but no retrofitting appears to have been made on the collapsed span 9. Following the collapse, the infrastructure and transportation ministry ordered an urgent review of an estimated 10,000 bridges older than 50 years.

The Asia America Gateway (AAG) undersea cable—a 20,000-km-long submarine communications cable system that connects South-East Asia with the mainland of the United States, across the Pacific Ocean via Guam and Hawaii—has reported its fourth service outage this year.

The Vietnam Post and Telecoms Group (VNPT) reports that the cable broke down on August 23, the fourth incident to date in 2018, affecting Vietnam’s international internet connections. It attributed the service break to a power leakage at a point about 250 km offshore the cable’s landing point in Vung Tau (Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province).

The AAG cable is notorious for its frequent breaks and outages since it started service in late 2009. Most of the outages have been located at the intra-Asia segments between Hong Kong and Singapore, with most problems occurring in the Vietnam section, while the segment between Hong Kong and the Philippines seems to have fewer problems.

The $560-million AAG cable handles more than 60% percent Vietnam’s international internet traffic. Since its debut, the cable has encountered a “very high” risk of rupture and been under frequent repair, affecting all service providers in Vietnam. The cable suffered technical errors at least five times in 2017.

Prysmian reports that it has entered into an agreement with Chinese contractor Talesun to supply some 3,600 km of cables for a new major solar park in Cauchari, Argentina.

A press release said that Prysmian will provide a range of instrumentation and control, low- and medium-voltage and solar cables from its Chinese plants in Tianjin and Yixing. The deal, to include more than 1,100 medium-voltage accessories and connectors from its Yixing plant, will also require 100 Pry-Cam Grids and one Pry-Cam Portable for monitoring to be supplied by Prysmian Electronics, and supervision services (KOM) for both MV Accessories and Pry-Cam supplied by the team in Argentina, it said.

Cuachari is the first project signed by China and Argentina within the “OBOR – One Belt, One Road” initiative, the release said. It noted that Talesun is acting on behalf of Shanghai Electric, the main contractor for the project, which will see the construction of a 315 MW photovoltaic plant. It is to be located in the Jujuy Province, close to the North-West border with Chile, and at an altitude of 4,100 m, it represents a significant solar resource. The solar park is expected to generate a monthly average of 55,073 MWh, which will be conveyed to the 345 kV line that links the Chilean town of Andes with the town of Cobos in the province of Salta.

“We leveraged the internal synergies within the Group with the close cooperation of the different regions and teams involved to fulfill the complex requirements of the project,” said Prysmian Group China CEO Matteo Bavaresco. “This is a milestone example of global integration and teamwork within Prysmian.”

The Lithuanian-Swedish submarine power cable, NordBalt, was shut down for what is expected to be two and a half months for planned repairs.

 A story in The Baltic Course said that the repairs include the replacement of onshore cable joints that have been identified as the cause of frequent failures. It said that Lithuanian power transmission system operator Litgrid reports that 31 failures have been registered since the launch of the 700 MW NordBalt power cable in February 2016, including 12 incidents linked to cable joints. The repair work, expected to be completed by the end of October, will see 22 cable joints replaced on the Lithuanian side and 98 in Sweden.

The cable was provided by ABB, which in March 2017 was acquired by NKT. In a press release at its website, ABB outlined the project, which was described as the world’s longest HVDC Light® underground and submarine cable. “The NordBalt HVDC Light link is a joint project of the Swedish and Lithuanian transmission system operators (TSOs), Svenska Kraftnät and LITGRID AB. HVDC Light is an ABB technology for connecting transmission systems using submarine and underground cables. It offers several compelling benefits, including ‘invisible’ power lines, highly compact AC-DC converter stations, low cable and converter losses, and black start capability (the ability to rapidly restore system operations in the event of a systemwide power outage).”

The NordBalt project included “a 2 x 40 km HVDC Light underground cable on the Swedish side, a 2 x 13 km HVDC Light underground cable on the Lithuanian side, and a 2 x 400 km HVDC Light submarine cable across the Baltic Sea,” the report said. The ABB HVDC Light solution has a power rating of 300 kV. It includes two converter stations, “one at Nybro in Sweden and the other at Klaipeda in Lithuania, where the power is converted from AC to DC for transfer in the HVDC Light cable system. The Swedish power grid has a rating of 400 kV AC and the Lithuanian grid a rating of 330 kV AC; the two grids are asynchronous.”

Contacted by WJI, an NKT spokeswoman said that the owner of Nordbalt “has previously communicated that the line will temporarily be shut down due to cable joint repair. We ... (cannot) comment on any contractual terms, including repair costs.”

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