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9/8/21 -- Following a recent order for a new wire rod outlet, Primetals Technologies has been contracted by Kaptan Demir Çelik (Kaptan Iron & Steel) to supply the upstream mill for the Marmara Ereğlisi, Turkey production site.

A press release said that the mill will prepare the round feedstocks (intermediate sizes) to be further rolled and finished in the wire rod outlet. It will have a yearly capacity of 650,000 metric tons. High-value products will be processed such as carbon, SBQ and austenitic stainless-steel grades, catering to the engineering and automotive industries in both domestic and export markets. The hot commissioning of the complete installation is expected in mid-2022.

The upstream mill will have a maximum rolling rate of 130 tons per hour, and will process billets with square dimensions of 130, 160 and 200 mm and length of 12 meters. The diameters of the prepared feedstocks will range from 17 mm to 33 mm, as required by the roll pass design of the wire rod outlet. The layout, equipment and process of the new upstream mill will be optimized and compatible with an additional bar outlet to be added later, which will make the installation a modern combined mill of quality and austenitic stainless steel.

In other news, Bosnian steel producer ArcelorMittal Zenica d.o.o. placed an order with Primetals Technologies to replace the vessel of BOF converter #2 and supply associated equipment. An optimized design will increase the vessel volume and make production easier. ArcelorMittal Zenica is the largest producer of long steel products in the Balkans with annual production capacity of nearly one million tons per year. The company’s base product range includes rebar (in bars and coils), wire rod, mesh and lattice girders.

Last modified on September 8, 2021

9/8/21 -- Central Wire President Paul From recently announced that all company employees would be required to be vaccinated by Oct. 29, barring an acceptable exemption request. Below, he shares further thoughts on this with WJI.

WJI: Just how many people does this edict cover, and what has the response been so far?
From: It covers everyone, which is approximately 700 people in 13 facilities in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. I have been overwhelmed with the positive response from employees. It surprised me. There have been some negative calls but many more positive ones. My contact info is posted in all the plants, so anyone can call me to discuss this—good, bad or indifferent—and they do. I have had some interesting conversations with people who felt that they could not speak out in favor of the vaccine inside the facility because some people would get angry. They remained uncommitted and confused about what to do. There was a lot of disinformation being pushed around and politicized, and I suspect that’s commonplace in many companies.

WJI: You didn’t have to do this, so why are you?
From: I am treating this as a health and safety threat. As president and CEO, it’s a lot easier if I apply the science and technology we would use to deal with any workplace hazard. As a virus, it can be stopped, and my job is to stop it. I have to provide the safest workplace I can, that’s my role.

WJI: Are you getting any calls from other manufacturers?
From: As of yesterday, 15, and they all are moving in this direction. All were very concerned about the ramifications but feel this is the way to go.

WJI: Could there be a legal challenge to this by employees?
From: That’s a good question. Yes, there could be, but it could be from both sides, the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. Anyone can hire a lawyer. The unvaccinated can fight it, but the courts seem already to have moved in a firm direction on this. The vaccinated can also demand companies take action to guarantee a safe workplace. I think that is just around the corner actually, and I want to be in front of it. If I can’t provide a safe work environment for the vaccinated, they have every right to challenge us. Should the virus have the capacity to mutate again, and it becomes even more transmissible and deadly, then the situation will change again. I would prefer to deal with this entire situation before that can happen.

WJI: Is your edict the same for all your operations?
From: Yes. Rules for Canada and the U.K. are somewhat different than the U.S., but what we are doing is still fine. The Canadian government just mandated vaccines for all federal employees, air travelers, train travelers and over-night vessel travelers.

WJI: What would you like to say to employees who oppose this?
From: Think of your coworkers. I know of six employees undergoing cancer treatment in our company, and I am sure there are others who have family members facing the same thing. I know of employees whose children have either received organ transplants or have disabilities and health challenges that even without Covid must be hard to cope with. We also have employees who have diabetes and other conditions that compromised their immune systems. Do you really want to expose them to this risk?
That also goes for other company owners: do you want someone inside your factory to become infected and take it home to someone not strong enough to fight this?
Freedom of choice I understand, but it goes hand in hand with a greater responsibility. Thankfully we have a number of vaccine choices. We must protect the integrity of our health care system and the professionals who are fighting a minute-by-minute battle to keep people alive.

WJI: How has this situation affected your business?
From: I was born in 1965, and this is my first pandemic. It is a struggle unlike anything I have ever experienced. There is no playbook for this. The last 18 months have been a huge struggle. I spend little time running the business in the traditional sense, buying equipment, considering acquisitions, seeing customers and suppliers, improving operations and developing a better future. I had expected that once the vaccine came out, it would greatly improve things and allow us to get back to “normal.” Now I feel further from normal than ever, but I also believe that the companies that can get past this will have achieved something great, and by doing so they will have benefitted employees, shareholders and society. I truly believe that.

Last modified on September 8, 2021

9/8/21 -- LS Cable & System (LSC&S) announced that the South Korean company will expand its submarine cable capacity at its campus in Donghae City, Gangwon-do.

A press release said that LSC&S will build an additional submarine cable plant in Building No. 2 of the Donghae City campus, which is in the Gangwon Province. The site now has three plants. The fourth plant will feature the tallest power cable production tower in South Korea. When completed, the vertical continuous extraction system tower will be as tall as a 63-story apartment, the tallest structure in Donghae City. Construction will start this October and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2023. The project, estimated to cost more than $161 million, will increase LSC&S’s submarine cable production capacity more than 1.5 times. The 172-m-tall tower is expected to improve cable insulation quality and increase productivity.

LSC&S built Korea’s first submarine cable plant in Donghae City in 2008, and has invested about US$296 million to date. The existing plant, which has a total floor area of 84,000 sq m, will get an additional 31,000 sq m.

“As countries around the world are increasing investments in renewable energy to become carbon neutral, the submarine cable market is also growing,” said LSC&S President & CEO Myung Roe-Hyun. “We will contribute to the national economy by expanding domestic investments.”

Last modified on September 8, 2021

9/8/21 -- Eastern Wire Products, Inc., has bought property in Jacksonville, Florida, and plans to invest $1.5 million in renovating it to produce steel wire and other products.

The company, founded in 1972, has operated elsewhere in the city in a leased multitenant building, and it is buying a 78,000-sq-ft structure that needs to be upgraded. Of that space, some 21,000 sq ft is leased to another company, and the goal is to use that space as well until the lease either expires or is terminated.
Eastern Wire Products specializes in baling wire as well as straight-and-cut wire. The family-owned company has 42 full-time employees, and expects that the expansion will eventually result in another 10 jobs.

The total project is expected to cost about $4.4 million, which includes about $3 million for the site acquisition and demolition, $500,000 for infrastructure improvements; $650,000 in building renovations; and $240,000 in machinery and equipment purchases.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to establish a home for our third-generation, wire fabrication company,” said company President Mark Yates. “My father and grandfather were both WAI lifetime members, and this is the culmination of their longtime desire to create a space for us to fabricate our products for generations to come.”

Yates said that, with the aid of grants from the city of Jacksonville, Eastern Wire will be able to create a modern facility that includes state of the art bale tie manufacturing equipment. “This should enable us to be more efficient and effective and allow us to better serve our customers.” 

8/6/21  India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended the imposition of countervailing duties on certain types of aluminum wires from Malaysia for five years.

Per a report in the India’s Economic Times, the DGTR concluded that imposition of definitive countervailing duty is required to offset subsidization. “The authority recommends imposition of definitive countervailing duty...for a period of five years,” it said. The finance ministry must approve the DGTR’s finding for it to be imposed. The probe was launched based on complaints from Vedanta Ltd and Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd. DGTR recommended a rate of 6.87% and 16.5%.

The DGTR also has begin an anti-dumping (AD) duty sunset review to determine whether existing measures set in 2016 should be continued for steel wire rod imported from China. Per an online report from India’s Economic Times, the investigation is supported by the Indian Steel Association on behalf of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, Steel Authority of India Limited and JSW Steel. The three companies “have supported the application,” the DGTR said in a notification. In it, it said that ending the duties would harm domestic wire rod producers. The period of investigation is Oct. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021.

Per a report in the newindianexpress.com, in 2016, an AD duty equivalent to the difference between the landed value of steel products and US$499 per metric ton was to be imposed on products exported by Minmetals Yingkou Medium Plate Co., and $538 for all other producers.

Last modified on August 6, 2021

8/3/21  LS Cable & System (LSC&S) President & CEO Myung Roe-Hyun announced that the South Korean company will expand its submarine cable capacity at its campus in Donghae City, Gangwon-do.

A press release said that LSC&S will build an additional submarine cable plant in Building No. 2 of the Donghae City campus, which is in the Gangwon Province. The site now has three plants. The fourth plant will feature the tallest power cable production tower in South Korea. When completed, the vertical continuous extraction system (VCV) tower will be as tall as a 63-story apartment, the tallest structure in Donghae City. Construction will start this October and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2023. The project, which will cost more than $161 million, will increase LSC&S’s submarine cable production capacity more than 1.5 times. The 172-m-tall VCV Tower is designed to improve cable insulation quality and increase productivity.

LS Cable & System built Korea’s first submarine cable plant in Donghae City in 2008, and has invested about US$296 million to date. The existing plant, which has a total floor area of 84,000 sq m, when have an additional 31,000 sq m.

 “As countries around the world are increasing investments in renewable energy to become carbon neutral, the submarine cable market is also growing,” said Myung Roe-Hyun, President & CEO of LS Cable & System. “We will contribute to the national economy by expanding domestic investments.”

Last modified on August 3, 2021

8/3/21  Nexans, which notes that it has been a long-term partner in renewable energy developments, announced that it has been awarded a contract by Equinor to supply power export cable for its innovative floating solar pilot offshore Frøya in Norway.

A press release said that the pilot project, called Frøya, is scheduled to come online this December, at which time it will be the world’s first floating solar plant operating in rough offshore waters. The Frøya floating plant will measure 80 m x 80 m, with a height of less than 3 m above the sea surface, hosting an array of solar panels capable of producing up to 1 megawatt.

Nexans will supply 5 km of 22 kW export cable to connect the floating platform from shallow waters to land. The most challenging aspect for the cable construction is to handle the dynamic loadings as the connection at the platform end pitches up and down with the waves. Nexans is utilizing a three-core cable design of a type well proven in offshore wind farm and fish farming installations. The cable will be manufactured at Rognan plant in Norway.

“Our mission for Nexans is to electrify the world,” said Krister Granlie, vice president of the submarine telecom and special cables business unit of Nexans. “Our mission for Nexans is to electrify the world. That means exploring every possible opportunity to help develop new sources of green energy. So, we are delighted to be working once again with Equinor on a truly exciting project that further extends the boundaries of what might be possible in generating renewable energy offshore.”

Utility-scale floating solar power is currently one of the fastest growing renewable technologies as governments and investors around the world explore every possibility for safer, sustainable and decarbonized energy. This is expected to drive almost 10 gigawatt of new floating solar deployment by 2025.

Last modified on August 3, 2021

7/27/21  HVD Partners announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Italy’s Sampsistemi Srl and Sampsistemi Extrusion Srl through a process administered by the Court of Bologna. The deal includes Samp Sistemi and Samp Extrusion in Italy, Samp China, Samp USA and Samp Brasil including Cortinovis do Brazil). The deal includes 45% of Setic and Pourtier, the remainder of which is owned by the Gauder Group.

A press release said that “HVD will invest in the revitalization of the company’s international operations and brand in the U.S., China and Brazil from its headquarters in Bentivoglio, Italy. Commented HVD Partners Managing Partner Jouni Heinonen, “Sampsistemi is a globally recognized Italian champion. We look forward to working with the management to restore the company on a path of profitable growth, serving customers from existing locations in all major expansion markets.”

Sampsistemi provides a wide range of extrusion equipment that processes from rod to the finished cable. HVD Partners, which describes itself as “a specialized transformation service provider helping banks, private lenders, corporations and private equity funds to rapidly develop and divest non-core activities,” has been active in the cable field before.

In 2018, HVD led the carve-out of Solifos AG—a Swiss manufacturer of specialty fiber optic cables for distributed sensing and mission-critical defense applications—from Brugg Cables. Changes were rapidly implemented to transform the business from a legacy of steep losses (-15% EBITDA) to a profitable stand-alone business in six months. On Dec. 11, 2020, it agreed to sell Solifos AG to NBG GmbH.

Of note, Heinonen is the ex-CEO of Nextrom and Plumettaz, and was also the chairman of Solifos, the carve out from Brugg Kabel AG.

Last modified on July 27, 2021

7/12/21  Nexans has won a contract from VINCI-Energies Traction to supply traction cable for the new metro line 15 South, which is part of a mammoth French infrastructure project known as the Grand Paris Express (GPE).

A press release said that, when complete, the project—one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects, valued at approximately €35.6 billion—will double the existing Paris Metro network by adding four new lines, 68 stations and 200 km of track. It consists of a ring route around Paris (line 15) and lines connecting developing neighborhoods (lines 16, 17 and 18).

Along its 33-km length, the metropolitan Line 15 South will run from Pont-de-Sèvres to Noisy-Champs, passing through 22 districts to serve more than one million people. Most of the traction cables for the Line 15 South will be manufactured by the Nexans plant in Mehun-sur-Yèvre, France. Cable installation is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2021, and Line 15 will open first, in 2025.

Nexans said that it is the first cable manufacturer to receive an order for this infrastructure project. The order, which will take place over more than three years, will see the traction cables installed along the rails in a long tunnel and in different technical rooms. The majority of the traction cables for metro Line 15 are from the K25 range developed by Nexans to comply with stringent fire performance railway standards. The contract will also include R2V cables. Option logistic services could be provided to ensure secured and on-time deliveries that would optimize cable installation for VINCI-Energies Traction.

The project is managed by The Société du Grand Paris. VINCI-Energies helps public authorities and business clients deploy energy, transport and communication infrastructure, industrial facilities and buildings. VINCI-Energies Traction is a consortium for the project.

Last modified on July 12, 2021

7/12/21  The Prysmian Group has won a turn-key contract worth €900 million to supply some 700 miles of ±525 kV cross-linked polyethylene class HVDC cable that will connect two of the largest energy markets in the U.S.

A press release said that the order is from SOO Green HVDC Link, LLC (SOO Green), which named the Prysmian Group as its preferred supplier of high-voltage DC cable systems for a first-of-its-kind transmission project to be installed underground along existing railroad rights of way. The 2,100-MW interregional project, considered the first link in a national clean energy grid, will connect the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) that serves the central U.S. to the eastern PJM Interconnection, serving more than 1.2 million homes. For more information about the SOO Green HVDC Link, go to www.soogreenrr.com.

SOO Green, which is owned by investment funds managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Siemens Energy, and Jingoli Power, is being developed by Minneapolis-based Direct Connect Development Company, LLC. The award is subject to final contract approvals. The construction part of the project will be performed by Jingoli Power, and will be added to the overall contract value.

The cables will be installed underground, primarily along existing railroad rights-of-way. They will connect SOO Green’s converter station in northern Iowa to its Illinois converter station, just west of Chicago. Cable production for the project is expected to start in 2023.

The cables will be made at Prysmian’s facility in Abbeville, South Carolina, which is being upgraded to help achieve President Biden’s goal of a zero-carbon power grid by 2035. “After the award of flagship projects such as the Vineyard offshore wind farm and the project to upgrade the Washington, D.C. area’s power transmission system, (this opportunity) further solidifies Prysmian Group as the partner of choice for the US interconnector market,” said Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista.

Last modified on July 12, 2021

7/12/21  Bekaert announced that it will expand the company’s plant in Lipetsk, Russia, investing approximately $24 million to add a new production line for bead wire and to increase its current tire cord manufacturing capacity.

A press release said that the Lipetsk plant produces steel cord for the tire industry and Dramix® fibers for construction markets. The bead wire line will allow the company to make a full range of products for the reinforcement of tires. The projects are expected to create 80 new jobs. The production start of the plant extension is planned for the first half of 2022.

The news was announced at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF ‘21). “This expansion will help the Bekaert Lipetsk team to continue to deliver superior value to their customers and to contribute to the customers’ growth ambitions in the region and the wider CIS, as well as to become an export platform to the European region,” the release said.

In January 2008, Bekaert first announced that it would strengthen its existing position in Russia by investing more than €97 million in a new steel cord production plant in the Lipetsk Special Economic Zone. At the time, Bekaert already had a portfolio of customers in Russia for steel cord products for tire reinforcement, steel fibers for concrete reinforcement and other specialized wire products, but they were being supplied by its plants in Central Europe. With the first phase, first production was scheduled to start in 2010, with other work phased in through 2013.

The Lipetsk plant, which serves customers in Russia and the wider CIS region, is about 400 km south of Moscow. Bekaert has also had a sales office in Moscow since 1998, that serves a portfolio of customers with a wide variety of advanced steel wire products.

Last modified on July 12, 2021

7/7/21 Paramount Die Company announced that it has opened a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, that will bolster its ability to serve international markets when it becomes operational in August.

The company, which notes that it is the world’s largest supplier of carbide wire drawing dies, reported that the new facility will enable it to better serve the Mexican and Latin American markets as well as provide additional capacity for production of wire drawing dies for export to international markets. More than half of Paramount Die’s products are already used outside the U.S. market, and the new facility will better position the company for further international expansion.

“With the addition of this new facility, Paramount Die expands its ability to quickly deliver world class products and services to the global market,” said Paramount Die President Richard Sarver. “The new facility will provide us additional capacity and will further strengthen our international competitiveness.”

Paramount is currently hiring and training staff for the new facility. The initial staff will be 20, and when fully operational, there will be more than a hundred employees.

Paramount’s plant in Abingdon, Maryland, will continue to function as the company’s primary manufacturing facility, technical R&D center and corporate headquarters. The Abingdon plant is also undergoing an expansion as Paramount continues to grow its production of carbide tooling for other metal forming applications, such as shaving, rolling and deep-draw tooling.

Last modified on July 7, 2021

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