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An optical fiber cable manufacturing factory in Cairo—co-established by China’s Hengtong Optic-Electric Co., Ltd., and Egypt’s HitekNOFAL Group—was inaugurated March 6 with the official opening of the plant.

Per reports from media and company websites, the new operation, called HitekNOFAL Hengtong Optix, is the first Egyptian-Chinese joint venture specialized in manufacturing fiber optic cables and accessories. The plant is located in the Bader Industrial City, which is in the northeast section of the Cairo governate. The 33,000-sq-m plant, highly automated, has an annual production capacity of more than one million km of fiber. “(HitekNOFAL) aims to cover the needs of the Egyptian market of fiber cables and plans to export to African markets by mid-2019, in parallel with the increasing production capacity of the factory. A second plant is also to be built, with the total cost over the next three years estimated at $30 million. The company plans to reach 80% of local components in the cable manufacturing process by 2021.”

Egyptian market’s demand for optical cables is growing year by year, and its main resource at present still depends on imports, said HitekNOFAL CEO Mohammed Nofal. He noted that over the past four years, Telecom Egypt has been working on replacing copper wires in all Egyptian governorates with fiber optic wires. As of June 2017, the company had replaced 40%, but will need much fiber to meet its goals. “Nevertheless, the co-founded factory with HENGTONG is expected to satisfy about 80% of the domestic needs within this year and achieve export in the middle of 2019.”

A report in Xinhuanet cited HitekNOFAL Marketing Manager Randa Tawfiq as saying that a key goal is to supply the “core,” which is the most difficult part in the process. The manufacture of this part of the cables is limited and is only carried out by a limited number of companies around the world and the company seeks to transfer this advanced (preform) technology to Egypt.” The factory will also manufacture micro-trenching cables, which is relatively new cable technology that allows the cable to be laid without extensive road digging.

Attending the inauguration was Yasser ElKady, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Following the opening, he said that the government’s strategic plan to develop Egypt’s telecom infrastructure considers optical fiber cables an essential pillar.
Mohamed Nofal, chairman of HitekNOFAL Solutions, noted that his company has more than 30 years of experience in the field of telecom and cable solutions. The company’s goal is to train Egyptian workers to manufacture optical fiber cables in partnership with the Hengtong Group to cover domestic demand and exports abroad.

North America Steel & Wire Inc. (NASW), a U.S. manufacturer of copper- and zinc-coated wires located in Butler, Pennsylvania, has filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Per media reports, NASW plans to reorganize, and is scheduled to present a plan for this by June 27. At its website, the company notes that it also makes copper coated closing carton staples under the ISM Enterprises brand name.

According to the last information provided to the WJI Annual Reference Guide, NASW had 20 employees at its mill in Butler, where it makes specialty and industrial wires used in toys, food service products, recycling and pulp industries, and in the manufacturing of many types of fasteners. It also was cited as making welded and woven wire panels for residential and agricultural fencing. It can make carbon grades from C1004 to C1080.

South Korea’s LS Group held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 15 in Serbia, where it is investing $23 milllion to to build the plant, which it said is designed to produce 12,000 metric tons of magnet wire a year.

Per a report in The Korea Herald, LS Group Chairman Christopher Koo spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony of the magnet wire plant, which is located in Zrenjanin, some 90 km south of the Serbian capital in Serbia. The plant was described as the latest investment by the LS Group, which launched an electric car parts plant in Poland and a solar power plant in Japan.

LS Group Chairman Christopher Koo said the conglomerate’s Serbian investment is a part of growth strategy, and is expecting the Serbian plant to become the production center for its east European operation. It is scheduled to start commercial production in 2019. 

The LS Group notes that its U.S. affiliate, Superior Essex, one of the world's largest wire and cable manufacturers, generated $2 billion in sales last year. It is the sole magnet wire supplier to U.S. electric vehicle producer Tesla.

Kanthal announced that the company reopened its drawing mill in Hallstahammar, Sweden, on March 14 to meet increased demand for heating, resistance and thermocouple wire.

A press release said that the decision was made based on a conviction that global demand for appliance and thermocouple wire will continue to grow over time. The new production line, it said, is designed in a flexible way to secure a sustainable and cost-effective wire drawing.

“We want to support our customers to grow and stay competitive,” said Kanthal Global Supply Chain Manager Christoffer Saarnio. “To be able to do this, we must ramp up our production of Kanthal® wire to secure short and reliable lead times. With the new production line, we will be able to meet increased demand for many years to come.”

Kanthal President Nicklas Nilsson said that he was pleased to see the reopening of the mill, which first started production in 1931, and was closed in 2013. “It’s great to close the circle and once again see the drawing mill up and running.”

Part of Sweden’s Sandvik Group, Kanthal’s product lines encompass wire made in a wide range of alloys and shapes, including conductive wire, resistance heating wire and resistance wire, spray wire and therocouple wire.

The SMA Group announced that it has been chosen by Jianlong Beiman Special Steel Co., Ltd., to supply core components for a high-speed, wire rod mill for steel.

A press release said that the customer--based in Qiqihar, the second largest city in China’s Heilongjiang Province—is building a new wire rod mill that will have an annual capacity of 500,000 tons. It will include a 10-stand wire rod finishing block that has been designed for low-temperature rolling to comply with “the high metallurgical requirements of the finished products.” It will deploy a cooling and equalizing loop upstream of the block. The mill will process wire rod from 5.5 to 25 mm, and rebar from 6 to 16 mm, at speeds up to 115 meters per second.

The contract, the release said, also calls for the supply of two cantilever compact roughing stands, the shears upstream of the block and the loop laying head including pinch roll unit. The SMS Group is also supplying the design for the LCC® (Loop Cooling Conveyor) with three-fan technology, as well as the coil handling system. To allow for future expansion of the plant, space will be set aside for additional water boxes and a MEERdrive®PLUS block that will enable the plant to be equipped to handle closer tolerances. Commissioning is scheduled for spring 2019.