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Freeport-McMoRan Copper Products (Freeport), also known as Phelps Dodge, has decided to close its rod plant in Norwich, due to the downturn in business amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Per a report in The Day, a notice filed with the state Department of Labor by the plant’s manager, James Hodson, said that the plant expects to permanently lay off about 117 employees, beginning in August. About 90 employees will be laid off between Aug. 17 and Aug. 30, and the remaining employees, about 27, will be laid off during a sec-ond 14-day period following the first.

“Phelps-Dodge Industries Inc. has carefully reviewed our operations at our Norwich Plant in light of the dramatic downturn in business and economic uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Hodson wrote in the filing with the state. “... we have taken a close look at our rod and refining operations to evaluate whether they are eco-nomically viable. After much careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to close the Norwich Plant.”

The story cited a company statement that said Freeport would “gain efficiencies” with two other rod mill operations in El Paso, Texas, and Miami, Arizona.
Last modified on July 1, 2020

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand.

A press release said that imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand in the U.S. from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value.

As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue with its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning imports of this product from Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about July 10, 2020, and its antidumping duty determinations due on or about September 23, 2020.

Last modified on June 24, 2020

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that revoking the existing antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duty orders on imports of carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod from China would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.

A press release said that due to the finding, the existing AD and CV duty orders on imports of this product from China will remain in place. For the wire rod, the AD rates were 106.19% for eight exporters/producers, and 110.25% for six other manufacturers. The investigation was done under the five-year (sunset) review process required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

Last modified on June 24, 2020

NEC Corporation announced that it has been tabbed by the Asia Direct Cable (ADC) Consortium as a supplier for a high-performance submarine cable connecting China (Hong Kong SAR and Guangdong Province), Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A press release said that the NEC will construct the 9,400-km ADC cable, which is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022. The cable will feature multiple pairs of high capacity optical fibers and is designed to carry more than 140 Tbps of traffic, enabling high capacity transmission of data across the East and Southeast Asian regions. ADC’s high capacity allows it to support increasingly bandwidth-intensive applications which are driven by technological advancements in 5G, the cloud, the Internet-of-Things and Artificial Intelligence. This will further enhance the expansion of communications networks in the region.

ADC, a global consortium of leading communications and technology companies, includes CAT, China Telecom, China Unicom, PLDT Inc., Singtel, SoftBank Corp., Tata Communications and Viettel.“The ADC system provides the highest cable capacity and necessary diversity for Asia’s key information hubs, which will enable carriers and service providers to better plan their networks and services for a sustainable development,” said China Telecom’s Chang Weiguo, one of the ADC Co- Chairs.

“This new system will contribute to drive the Asian ICT business growth as one of the core infrastructures in the region and to meet the evolving marketplace,” said ADC Co-Chair Koji Ishii of SoftBank. “As a leading submarine cable system vendor, NEC has successfully provided many trans-Asia submarine cable systems, making the company the most reliable choice for the ADC supply partner.”

“As the supplier of the ADC Cable, NEC continues to support critical infrastructure in Asia,” said Atsushi Kuwahara, General Manager, Submarine Network Division, NEC Corporation. “This advanced optical fiber submarine cable system will provide seamless connectivity to the countries it lands in and the regions it services.”

Last modified on June 24, 2020

LS Cable & System (LS C&S) has won a government contract that was valued at approximately $82 million to supply both low-voltage and high-voltage power cable to Singapore.

A press release said that LS C&S will supply 400 km of cable though to 2021.The orders were from the Singaporean government, which has been replacing aged cables since 2017. LS C&S noted that has a strong foothold in Singapore, obtaining the biggest market share there. Raising transparency in operation and management of its business there, and active technological support for the past several years, led to winning the deal, it said.

“To overcome the global economic slowdown and the limited domestic demand, we have established a strong foothold overseas as a global company,” LS C&S President and CEO Myung Roe-hyun said. “This deal is a valuable achievement based on past efforts at a difficult time due to the Covid-19 crisis.”
In other news, LS C&S reported that it has begun to ship submarine cable for Taiwan’s offshore wind farms. Last year, it won an order to supply the high-voltage cable for the first offshore wind farm project being built in Taiwan. Some 70 km of cables will need to be installed for the site, which is located off the coast of Yunlin Xian in the west of Taiwan.

Last modified on June 24, 2020

Copperweld Group, Inc., announced the acquisition of Seminole Wire & Cable Co., Inc., a New Jersey-based supplier of specialty wire and cable products.

A press release said that the addition of Seminole “brings key value-added wire extrusion and other manufacturing capabilities in-house for Copperweld and ultimately takes the Copperweld brand directly to the end customer. Seminole also bolsters Copperweld’s wire finishing processes including cabling, braiding and assembly.” Copperweld will also leverage Seminole’s R&D team to promote quicker new product development and new advanced testing processes.

Partnering with Seminole will allow Copperweld to have more direct relationships and interaction with end users, ultimately allowing us to better serve our customers,” said Copperweld CEO Craig York. He added that it will also enable Copperweld will be able to offer bimetallic solutions to many Seminole customers currently using alternative products, “as Copperweld bimetallics can offer better form, fit and function.”

Copperweld, a supplier of bimetallic wiring products and the only domestic producer of copper clad steel (CCS) and copper clad aluminum (CCA) wire, was acquired in 2019 by Kinderhook Industries, LLC, a private investment firm that manages over $3.1 billion of committed capital “This strategic transaction provides upstream manufacturing capabilities that will support Copperweld production across multiple product lines as the business continues to grow” said Kinderhook Managing Director Paul Cifelli. “We look forward to seeing Copperweld leverage Seminole’s expertise in these production areas.”

Cifelli told WJI that Michael Genzel will continue to serve as president of Seminole Wire & Cable Co., Inc.

U.K.-based Primetals Technologies announced that it has signed a contract to supply three high-speed wire rod mills to a Chinese customer seeking to expand its capacity.

Per a press release, the deal for the single-strand, high-speed wire rod mills will include three Morgan Vee Mini-Blocks as mini-finishing mills (MFM). They will have three sets of Morgan Intelligent Pinch Rolls and high-speed laying heads, hydraulic systems and oil lube systems. Two mills will have a two-stand 230 MFM and the third will have a two-stand 250 MFM. Primetals Technologies will also supply air/oil systems for a snap shear and rollerized turndown.

Each of the three mills will have an annual production capacity of 720,000 metric tons and a maximum operating speed of 115 mps, a maximum rolling rate of 150 metric tons per hour. The mills will produce rod ranging from 5.5 to 20 mm and 20 to 28 mm in diameter, rebar of 6 to 16 mm in diameter, and coil with an inner diameter of 850 mm and an outer diameter of 1,250 mm.

“The new mills improved thermo-mechanical rolling capabilities will complement additional mills moving into the company’s main production base,” the release said. Start-up is scheduled to be completed this year. The customer, which was not named, was described as one of the largest raw material sup-pliers for fasteners in northern China. It also produces welding wire and carbon structural grades.

Last modified on June 24, 2020

Fisk Alloy, which in February announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Thermo Technologies of France, announced that the deal will not go through.

A press release said that the acquisition, which included the customary stipulation that it was pending due diligence and other conditions, was undone by Covid-19. “With the impact of Covid-19 on countries, markets, businesses and people worldwide, Fisk and Thermo Technologies have mutually and amicably come to the conclusion that now is not a good time to combine the companies. Hence, Fisk Alloy will not be acquired by Thermo Technologies,” Fisk Alloy CEO Erik Fisk said in a statement. “Our company will continue independently operating as we have for the past 46 years here in Hawthorne, New Jersey, with the same excellent solutions and service you’ve come to expect.”

Addressing customers, Fisk wrote, “For the years prior and for the moment at hand, thank you for your business and your understanding through what has been a most difficult time for everyone and everything.”

Founded in 1973 by John Fisk as a producer of high-quality copper alloy wire, the company today offers unique proprietary capabilities in high-performance alloy wire.

Last modified on June 12, 2020

South Korea’s LS Cable & System (LS C&S) reports that it has won a contract from TenneT to supply 210 km of HV cable for the grid connection of the Dutch offshore wind farms Hollandse Kust Noord and West Alpha.

A press release said that the overall project—which includes Jan De Nul Group, a marine construction company—was worth more than €100 million. The order represents “the first large contracts from Europe, the home of cables.” It added that it also puts LS C&S in a good position for future demand from “newly established EU HQ and expanding production subsidiaries.”"

The release said that the bidding process considered technical capabilities, quality of business operations in combination with pricing. “The evaluation of the bid shows that the winning consortium has the most economically advantageous proposal to carry out the challenging project.”

The Netherlands is constructing offshore wind farms with a total capacity of more than 11 gigawatts by 2030. The two offshore wind farms, it said, will have a total capacity of 1.4GW in the Dutch coastal waters by 2023.

Since 2012, LS C&S has supplied power cable to the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. The company expects that the European submarine cable market will be worth billions of euros over the next five years. “LS C&S is planning to build on this major project and to do everything in its power to win more contracts for submarine cable projects in Western Europe including The Netherlands.”

Last modified on May 21, 2020

Two transmission system operators—TenneT TSO GmbH and 50Hertz Transmission GmbH—have awarded contracts to the Prysmian Group and NKT GmbH to supply a total of 1,000 km of 525kV underground power cable for the 2-GW SuedOstLink transmission line in Germany.

When completed, the SuedOstLink will be the world’s first large commercial 525 kV XLPE high-voltage DC 2GW transmission line. The initiative is part of German corridor projects to significantly increase renewable energy supply in the country. The overall project, being funded within the EU’s Connecting Europe framework, will see TenneT and 50Hertz investing some €5 billion.

“The underground cables are the heart of SuedOstLink,” said TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens. “We will use the innovative, plastic-insulated 525 kV underground cables for the first time worldwide, and will thus set new standards in technology and the reduction of environmental impact.” He noted that with the higher voltage level, the cables can transmit more power than a conventional 320 kV cable systems. “The route can be narrower and the necessary civil engineering work during the construction phase will decrease.”

Prysmian and NKT will each supply about 500 km of 525 kV cable, both using their own insulation designs, Prysmian will supply power cable with its P-laser technology while NKT will provide its XLPE technology. There is a total of five cable lots, three being provided by NKT.

Per a Prysmian press release, its contract from TenneT TSO GmbH, a Dutch-German grid operator, calls for the company to design, manufacture, supply, lay, joint, test and commission the 2GW underground cable system through the TenneT region of this first German Corridor. It will include Prysmian’s innovative P-Laser insulation technology that will help enable a transmittable power of more than 2GW on a single system for the first time. The contract is valued at approximately €500 million, depending on options.

“This prestigious award confirms our ambition to play a strategic role in the shift towards a low-carbon economy and to drive the energy transition forwards with smarter, more reliable and more sustainable solutions,” said Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista. “It gives us great satisfaction to be involved in the development of this vital infrastructure project and to set this milestone in the upgrading of the E.U. power transmission grid.”

Per an NKT press release, the company will deliver to 50Hertz Transmission GmbH its XLPE cable for the NKT expects to start production of the high-voltage DC power cables and accessories by the end of 2021, with installation in mid-2022 and final completion in 2025. NKT has a strong footprint in Germany, with facilities in Cologne, Nordenham and Berlin, and it has worked with 50Hertz on other projects, all of which made it an ideal choice.

“I am very pleased that we have booked our largest high-voltage DC order ever by getting a significant part of the SuedOstLink project,” said NKT President and CEO Alexander Kara. “This underlines our role as a key partner in the green transformation of Germany.”

Last modified on May 21, 2020

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