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3/4/2022 – Germany’s Schlatter Group announced that it has acquired a majority stake (51%) in Sokol Engineering Srl, a European manufacturer of wire processing equipment.

A press release said that Sokol Engineering, based in Tavagnacco (Udine), Italy, develops and builds a comprehensive range of wire production equipment. That includes cold rolling, wire drawing and stretching lines that generate net sales of €3 million a year.

With this deal, “Schlatter is strengthening its strategic position in wire production plants and taking a further step towards becoming a comprehensive solution provider in the wire industry.” Schlatter is known for its resistance welding technology and weaving machines for specialized purposes.

Sokol Engineering will continue and expand its existing activities under the name Schlatter Italia Srl. Company founder Sokol Haxhiaj, who has many years of experience, will continue to support the Schlatter Group as managing director and a shareholder. Schlatter’s customers will benefit from the takeover with expanded system expertise and a comprehensive partner across the entire value chain

Last modified on March 3, 2022

3/4/2022 – JDR Cable has been awarded a government grant for £1,606,711 for Accelerated development of Higher-voltage Export & Array cables for Dynamic applications (AHEAD).

A press release said that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy issued a total of £31,600,000 in 11 grants related to innovative floating offshore windfarm technologies. The application from JDR Cable was related to array cable. Its entry noted that no dynamic cable rated above 66 kV has ever been deployed in an offshore wind environment, and that due to increased turbine sizes, distances from shore, and water depths, the industry would benefit from having significantly higher voltage dynamic cables.

The grant was issued to help JDR Cable achieve these goals: demonstration of innovative polymer insulation systems to be capable of operation above 66 kV and to 132 kV, potentially as a wet-design; extension of dynamic array cable construction to larger and heavily dynamic export cables at 132 kV; advanced dynamic cable modelling to engineer cable configurations with higher loadings or stiffer cabling; and integration of next generation optical fibre strain sensing technology into dynamic high-voltage export and array cables to improve offshore cable monitoring and maintenance.

The new cables will be developed at JDR’s Hartlepool facility and tested at ORE Catapult at Blyth. The project is also well aligned to the government-supported new JDR HV Cable Facility in Cambois, Northumberland, where project construction is planned for this summer.

Last modified on March 3, 2022

3/4/2022 – The Prysmian Group has signed a new framework agreement with Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE), France’s Transmission System Operator, confirming its role as major partner of the French TSO in its plan of upgrading and developing national power girds.

A press release said that the Prysmian Group, which has been awarded with the largest share of the agreement, will be responsible for supplying, jointing and testing some High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) cable systems for underground grid connections from 90 kV up to 400 kV. The framework agreement will cover the period 2021-2023, with two potential optional additional years. To support the upgrade of France’s power grids, Prysmian Group will leverage its French centers of manufacturing excellence, located in Gron and Montereau.

These plants employ more than 1,400 people and are renowned for the production of high-voltage cables and P-Laser technology.
This framework agreement confirms Prysmian Group’s primary role in supplying RTE with HV cable systems, consolidates their long-term and successful relationship, and highlights once again RTE’s trust in Prysmian.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to play a key role in the upgrade of such a strategic infrastructure for our country, by making available our Made-in-France cable technology,” said Laurent Tardif, CEO of Prysmian Group South Europe Region. “Based on our long-term partnership, over the last years Prysmian has already provided RTE with innovative, efficient and sustainable power transmission cable solutions, both submarine and terrestrial,” concluded Tardif.

Prysmian Group’s projects include: Fécamp, Courseulles-sur-Mer, St. Nazaire and Noirmoutier offshore wind farms; the IFA2 submarine interconnection linking the UK and France; the Piedmont-Savoy HVDC underground interconnection between Italy and France; and the INELFE underground interconnection (Baixas – Santa Looggia), the first extruded 320 kV DC XLPE underground interconnection linking Spain and France.

Last modified on March 3, 2022

3/4/2022 – Greece’s Hellenic Cables recently reported two contracts, both related to Dogger Bank (A, B and C), the world’s largest offshore wind project, which is located in the North Sea, between 125 and 290 km off the east coast of Yorkshire.

Per Wikipedia, since 2017, Dogger Bank Wind Farm Ltd. has developed what is known as Dogger Bank A, B and C, while a fourth wind farm has been developed by Sofia Offshore Wind Farm Ltd. as Sofia Offshore Wind Farm.

A press release said that Hellenic Cables has been awarded the Dogger Bank C array cable contract by DEME Offshore, the renewables business unit of DEME Group. Already the designated supplier for Dogger Bank A and B, with this contract Hellenic Cables becomes the sole inter array cables’ supplier for the massive project.

Under the new contract, Hellenic Cables will supply some 240 km of 66 kV XLPE-insulated inter-array cables and associated accessories. This is in addition to 650 km of array cables already awarded for phases A & B. The cables will be produced at the company’s plant in Corinth, Greece. Production of the cables for Dogger Bank C is set to begin in 2023 and delivery will be a phased roll out in line with the project execution program.

“We’re proud to be the exclusive array cables supplier for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which provides the U.K.’s largest single source of renewable energy,” said Alexis Alexiou, CEO of Cenergy Holdings and Hellenic Cables.

The second project, for the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, is for RWE, a German energy firm that contracted Van Oord Offshore Wind UK to provide the engineering. The project calls for Hellenic Cables to supply some 360 km of 66 kV inter-array cables and accessories to the Sofia offshore wind farm. The company will also make the cables at its Corinth plant. Cable production is set to begin in 2022 and be completed in 2023. The cables will be installed by Van Oord’s cable-laying vessel, Nexus.

The 1.4 GW Sofia offshore wind farm is located 195 km from the nearest point on the U.K.’s North East coast on a site of 593 sq km. “Building on the expertise and know-how demonstrated in previous projects, such as the Hollandse Kust (South) project, our goal is to successfully implement this project as well. Together with our investment in the next-generation custom-built green cable-laying vessel Calypso, this highlights Van Oord’s drive to continuously reinforce its market position,” said Arnoud Kuis, managing director at Van Oord offshore wind.

The Dogger Bank is an attractive location for offshore wind farms because it is far away from shore, avoiding complaints about the sight of wind turbines, yet at a water depth shallow enough for traditional fixed foundation wind turbine designs to be deployed. Fixed-foundation wind turbines are economically limited to maximum water depths of 40 to 50 meters, whereas greater water depths require new floating wind turbine designs that cost significantly more to build. All four farms have a delivery date between 2023 and 2025.

Last modified on March 3, 2022

3/4/2022 – NKT has entered into an agreement to acquire U.K.-based Ventcroft Ltd. to bolster its position in the European power cable market by adding the company’s fire-resistant cable technology to the portfolio.

A press release said that the acquisition was an important step in the NKT strategy to grow the business with a strong product portfolio including fire-resistant power cables, telecom power cables and building wires. It noted that there is a growing focus on such products in the construction industry. “We are pleased to welcome Ventcroft to NKT and add their leading technology to our portfolio and expect them to benefit from our broad reach across the European market as part of our growth journey,” said NKT Executive Vice President and Head of Applications Will Hendrikx.

“We are looking forward to starting a new chapter with NKT and the acquisition brings some interesting possibilities to create future growth for Ventcroft,” said Ventcroft owner and Chairman Frank Rotheram. At the website of the family owned business, located south of Liverpool, Ventcroft notes that it is the U.K.’s largest independent manufacturer of fire and security products. The company, founded in 1989 and based in Runcorn, Cheshire, supplies cable and electronic products to a global client base in more than 50 countries.

Last modified on March 3, 2022

3/4/2022 – Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Nokia, has signed a contract to be the supplier for a Mediterranean project that will require 8,700 km of submarine cables.

A press release said that the order is from AFR-IX telecom, a Spanish infrastructure and telecom operator. Dubbed the Medusa, the cable will connect the two shores of the Mediterranean. It will interconnect nine countries of the Mediterranean Sea through landing points in Portugal, Morocco, Spain, Algeria, France, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and Egypt.
The submarine cable is expected to be operational between late 2024 for its West part and the beginning of 2025 for its East part, with segments accommodating up to 24 fiber pairs with a capacity of 20 Tbit/s per fiber pair.

Per multiple media reports, citing a statement from AFE-IC CEO Albi Norman, “There is a combination of factors that lead us to invest in this cable: in addition to the fact that there are some submarine cables in the Mediterranean that are reaching the end of their life cycle (and that need alternatives), it is known that the telecommunications traffic generated in Africa has grown at an average of 55% per year.”

Per submarinenetworks.com, the AFR-IX telecom is part of a public-private consortium that also includes the University of Alcalá, the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) and Aragón Photonics. The Medusa cable, which follows the open cable standard, is estimated to cost €326 million.

Greenblatt said he wants to aggressively grow the Madsen workforce— now about three dozen employees—by about 20%, to keep up with new business. “We’re planning to get Madsen to 45 or so in the next couple of weeks. We just want smart people who want to be part of a growing company.”

Last modified on March 3, 2022

1/31/2022 – Marlin Steel has acquired the assets of Madsen Wire, an Indiana-based maker of wire products that was founded in 1938, and the new owner plans to bolster further growth.

A press release said that Madsen Wire, based in Orland, Indiana, makes security partitions for fleet vehicles, and is one of the largest manufacturers of wire mesh, wire grid, wire mats and forms and refrigerator shelves. The acquisition price was less than $10 million, said Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Industries and Madsen Wire.

“The combination of the two companies will allow Madsen and Marlin to ship faster and provide much more capacity to handle bigger jobs, since so many opportunities are coming back from China,” Greenblatt said in an announcement. “We are all in on USA manufacturing.”

Madsen Wire Products reported that it plans to hire additional workers in Indiana to help serve new clients and surging demand. The company was said to have recently invested millions of dollars in robotic welding and wire forming technology.

Madsen Wire General Manager Steve Cochran said there were many positives to come from the acquisition. He noted that Madsen Wire was focused on quality and on-time delivery. “By adding the strong suit of Marlin’s engineering team, our footprint will become global.”

Greg Parker, one of the sellers of Madsen Wire, said that the deal is a good fit as the companies share common goals and interests, including safety. “Marlin Steel’s history of safety (1,400-plus days) and Madsen’s history of safety (1,000-plus days) were a big factor in our getting comfortable with each other. I wanted our employees to have a company that embraced the safety culture as we did. Marlin and Madsen’s team gets safety.”

Greenblatt said he wants to aggressively grow the Madsen workforce— now about three dozen employees—by about 20%, to keep up with new business. “We’re planning to get Madsen to 45 or so in the next couple of weeks. We just want smart people who want to be part of a growing company.”

Last modified on February 1, 2022

1/31/2022 – Finnish network supplier Cinia and North American telecom company Far North Digital have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a subsea fiber optic cable for internet and data transport in the Arctic, with Alcatel Submarine Networks chosen as the supplier for the 14,000 km of cable.

A report in Hugh North News outlined the following backdrop to the project, which seeks to reduce the optic distance between Asia and Europe and minimize delays in data traffic. Last March, Finnish Cinia had announced that it would work with North Norwegian company Bredbåndsfylket AS and the Russian company Megafon on the project, called Arctic Connect. The goal was to lay a cable via Kirkenes, Norway and the Northeast Passage along the Russian Arctic. However, in May, the project was shelved due to delays in negotiations, and now Cinia is working on the project with new partners and no Russian participation.

The new plan is for the cable to run from Japan through the Northwest Passage to Europe, with side-cables touching land in Finland, Ireland and Troms County, Norway. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2025.

Far North Digital Technical Director Guy Houser said that the new cable will increase speed and improve security for telecommunications between countries in the Arctic. Japan is the main hub for the new cable.

Professor Jun Murai at Keio University, a special advisor to the Japanese Cabinet, said in a press release that the Arctic connection between Japan and North Europe has long been of interest to Japan and the company Cinia, as diversity of international connections is crucial for Japan. “Japanese Prime Minister Kishida has presented a plan to build new landing points around the various islands where the cable will run. My long-term plan about Hokkaido being a natural gateway to the North and East is beginning to come true,” he said.

Alcatel Submarine Networks will provide project design and installation. The costs related to production, laying down the cable, and landings, is estimated to be nearly US$1 billion.

Last modified on February 1, 2022

1/31/2022 – Sweden’s Lämneå Bruk is expanding its production facilities, building two new additional halls for assembling wire machinery and equipment behind the existing workshop.

A press release said that the wire machinery manufacturer experienced a turnaround in 2021. Following a temporary drop in sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic and worldwide uncertainties in 2020, Lämneå Bruk recovered stronger than ever, and recorded some of their best results in the company’s more than 100-year history.

The company has big plans. It is expanding its production area and has invested in new equipment to move even further towards process automation and Industry 4.0. The two new halls are expected to be completed soon, and the plan is to use one of them for welding robots that will help make production even more efficient, and bring Lämneå Bruk closer to having a fully automated and streamlined production process.

Based in Ljusfallshammar, Lämneå Bruk is located in the middle of the forest, surrounded by lakes. The company has continued to hire more employees.

Last modified on February 1, 2022

1/31/2022 – SAMP USA reported two key positions. Sandy Scroggs, who has been with the company for more than 30 years, has been promoted to general manager. He will keep his current position as service manager. He started with SAMP in 1988 as a service technician, and was named service manager in 2000. Brett Hamner has been named senior sales manager. He started his career in 1982 with Belden, working in different engineering roles, before transitioning in 1988 to Harbour Industries, where he was an R&D engineer. He joined General Cable in 1989, working in engineering, then moved into a corporate engineering role at their headquarters in Kentucky. In 1995, he became a project manager for Nokia Maillefer in Norcross, Georgia, and soon after added sales responsibilities. In 1997, he moved to Ontario, Canada, working with Ceeco during a period that saw the creation of Nextrom, before starting his own company—Cable and Tubing Solutions—in 2003. Based in Williamsport, Maryland, SAMP USA is part of Italy’s SAMP Srl, a global supplier of wire and cable drawing, extruding and bunching technology.

Ricardo (Rico) Dostal has joined Proton Products as a U.S. regional manager, based in Texas. A U.S. Navy veteran, he cultivated an interest in industrial technology while serving as an avionics electronic technician on board the USS Kitty Hawk. He then moved to Japan and served as an instructor and development team leader for three years, before working for Verizon Wireless for eight years, then five years for Rotalec USA, a distributor of industrial automation products. He started as a technician and was later promoted to application specialist for exclusive, non-contact sensor lines for the U.S. His primary focus was custom measurement and control projects, some of which featured Proton Products technology. Based in the U.K., Proton Products supplies instrumentation and control equipment for wire and cable production.

Cable Consultants Corporation has named Mason McClaugherty as vice president of sales and technical services. He has experience from three prior engineering positions with Cleveland-Cliffs, AK Steel Corporation and Service Wire Company. He holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering for Marshall University. He replaces Fred Hardy, an industry veteran who in 1993 was offered the position of director of technical services by company founder and owner Dr. Dimitri Stein. Based in Larchmont, New York, Cable Consultants Corporation supplies North American manufacturers with access to technology from European companies

Greg Gitto has been promoted from market development manager-PVC to director of sales & marketing-PVC for Chroma Color Corporation (CCC). He joined CCC last June though its acquisition of Color Resource, where he had worked as executive vice president since 2009. He has 20 years of extensive experience in PVC compounding and developing new PVC and olefinic products during a period that saw the inception of low-smoke PVC into plenum cable compounds. At Color Resource, he helped develop hybrid constructions with FEP, and Color Resource’s Quasar technology, now branded as ChromaQuasar, to serve the emerging XLPE wire and cable market. He holds a degree in economics from Clark University. Based in Delaware, Ohio, Chroma Color Corporation is a leading supplier of specialty color and additive concentrates for markets that include wire and cable.

Last modified on February 4, 2022