New hires, promotions and obituaries
Alloy Wire International reported news of two personnel changes. Mark Venable has been promoted to chairman. He joined the company as a managing director designate in 2010, and a year later became managing director, a position held to his promotion. He previously had in different sales roles for 21 years for the Brockmoor Foundry. Filling the managing director post is Tom Mander, who has worked for the company for more than 17 years. He was named managing director designate in 2021. Based in the West Midlands, U.K., Alloy Wire International manufactures wire and wire rope for a wide range of markets.
Cody Buhle has been named national sales manager for non-contact speed and length-measuring products for Proton Products Inc. He joined the U.S. Navy, where he became a basic electricity and electronics technician. He has considerable private sector sales and engineer experience. He worked for several companies as a field service engineer and as a technical sales manager, a position he most recently held for BST eltromat International GmbH in the U.S. Based in the U.K. and U.S., Proton Products supplies instrumentation and control equipment for use in industrial production.
Chroma Color Corporation has promoted Clayton Tyler to sales director for the Eastern Region. He joined the company in 2020 as a regional market manager with extensive prior experience. He most recently worked for Lyondell Basell as a business development manager. Prior to that, he worked for A. Schulman, Inc., Clariant and ECM Plastics, Inc. The company also named Joel Neely as an account manager. He has had a successful track record selling color and additives to a wide variety of leading plastics convertors. He holds a degree in marketing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Based in McHenry, Illinois, Chroma Color Corporation supplies specialty color and additive concentrates to markets that include wire and cable.
Holger Lieder, director of sales at Sikora AG, has taken on additional duties: interim responsibility for the areas of marketing and service. In this function, he will directly report to CEO Dr. Christian Frank. He joined the company in 2004, and now assumes the responsibilities previously held by Dr. Jörg Wissdorf, a member of the Executive Board who is taking on new professional challenges. Based in Bremen, Germany, Sikora AG supplies measuring, control, inspection, analysis and sorting devices for wire and cable.
Alain Hawaux, well known in North America for being the after-sales service manager of Gauder Group, Inc., has been promoted to president of Gauder Group, Inc. He has been with the company for 24 years, and while he will continue in his prior role, he will now be able to help consolidate and implement new strategies for Setic S.A.S in North America. He will also be a constructive adviser for both Setic S.A.S and customers. Based in Lewisville, North Carolina, Gauder Group, Inc. is the Setic SAS, Pourtier and C2S representative in North America for rotating equipment made by Setic and Pourtier.
The SAMP Group recently hired Paolo Stefini, a leading expert in aluminum metallurgical processes, as its product manager aluminum. He has more than 20 years of experience that encompassing all elements of manufacturing aluminum wires and alloys for use in the following fields: electric applications, the automotive industry, mechanical deformation, and welding. Prior to joining SAMP, he worked for companies that included the Travar Tec-ECN Cunext Group. Based in Bentivoglio, Italy, and with manufacturing sites in Italy, China and Brazil, and sales agents and service centers all over the world, the SAMP Group manufactures a wide range of wire and cable machinery. n
Frederick “Fred” Schwelm, a well-known retired industry veteran, died Sept. 29 at age 75. The Wire & Cable Manufacturers Alliance (WCMA) outlined the extensive career of Schwelm, who was a WCMA founding board member and a 1997 recipient of the Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award, now the WCMA Distinguished Career Award. In 1973, Schwelm began his career at Cornish Wire in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was responsible for the plant/process engineering for the three plants of the company, which at the time was a division of General Cable. He joined Rockbetos in 1979 as operations manager at the plant in East Granby, Connecticut. In 1983, he joined BIW Cable as vice president of manufacturing. In 1988 Draka purchased BIW and he became vice president of operations for the Draka companies. In 1993, he rejoined Rockbestos, which was owned by Marmon Group, as president. During 1996 and 1997, Marmon acquired Surprenant Cable, and Schwelm lead the merger of Rockbestos and Surprenant, now RSCC Wire and Cable. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Clare; daughters Nicole and Gretchen; and three grandchildren.
Charles (Chuck) Lovenguth, a retired key leader at International Wire, died Oct. 3 at age 81, at Anthology Senior Living, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He started his career at Camden Wire Co., left to earn a business degree, and then returned to Camden Wire as a machine operator. He was promoted to production manager, and in 1992 he joined Omega Wire as a sales manager. He was promoted and held the position of vice president of sales when the company became part of International Wire. He eventually became vice president of sales and marketing for International Wire’s Noninsulated Wire Division, which included the consolidated operations of Camden Wire, Omega Wire, Auburn Wire and Continental Cordage. A 1997 recipient of the Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award, he was a Life Member of Wire Association International and a Member of the American Copper Council. He is survived by three sons: Marc, Chris and Jason; a sister, Carol; three brothers: Gary, Brian and Mike; and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
John “Jack” Edward O’Donnell II, the founder of O’Tech Industries, died Oct. 1, at age 63. O’Donnell earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Holy Cross College, then moved to Chicago where he worked in several sales roles. While he and two buddies from Holy Cross entered the bar business (Mamie Rileys on Clark Street and later The Hidden Shamrock on Halsted), his passion for sales and chemistry led him to become a manufacturer’s representative for Gary Chemical Corporation, a thermoplastic compounding company in Leominster, Massachusetts. In 1999, he founded O’Tech Industries in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, where he served as President and CEO. The company flourished as a specialty compounding business with multiple subsidiaries, which includes Color Resource in Leominster. His strong work ethic and passion for his business were instrumental to his success. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Laurel Davenport O’Donnell; a son John III “Jack”; three daughters, Jesse, Lia and Lucy; and three brothers, Doug, Gregg and Mark.
Ducab to supply cable for a solar plant that will be the world’s largest such project
The Ducab Group announced that it has been awarded the full EPC (engineering, procurement & contracting) contract to supply and install 400 kV cables and accessories to link Al Dhafra—which when operational will be the world’s largest solar plant in Abu Dhabi—with the Emirate’s main TRANSCO transmission grid (Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company) through its specialised division, Ducab HV.
A press release said that the announcement was made by Ducab Group CEO Mohammad Almutawa at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX). “We are proud that Ducab is assisting the nation in achieving its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’.” The collaborative project partnership includes testing and commissioning, and with the order, Ducab now supplies cables for the three largest solar projects in the UAE.
Ducab has supplied its custom-made SolarBICC cables to Abu Dhabi’s Shams 1 project and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, two of the largest solar projects in the world. “As a champion of the “Made in the UAE” initiative, Ducab not only supplies solutions to leading power projects in the UAE but also supports products and counterparts in auxiliary industries to deepen the country’s industrial capabilities,” the release said. Ducab works with partners across the UAE industrial value chain, such as EGA, KIZAD, and Borouge, while acquiring many of its requirements from UAE-based organizations.
The Al Dhafra project supports the country’s Energy Strategy 2050’s goals that seek to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25% to 50% by 2050. The facility will deploy technologically advanced bifacial solar panels that deliver electricity at the highest efficiency levels by using both the front and back of panels. The facility will have a capacity of two gigawatts and supply power to Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC).
When fully operational, the release said, Al Dhafra will be the world’s largest single-site solar power plant, mitigating 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually and using 3.5 million solar panels to generate enough electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE.
Hitachi Metals Limited (HML) has agreed to an acquisition offer—from a consortium led by Bain Capital, a private equity firm—that includes Hitachi Cable America (HCA).
A statement from HCA said that the Bain-led consortium “recognizes HML’s R&D leadership, deep relationships with industry-leading customers, and technological superiority in each of its business units. Bain plans to support the company by enhancing our competitiveness in high-growth sectors.” No plant closures are expected, and HCA “will remain a U.S. company.”
The deal was described as a positive step for HCA, which has continued to invest in manufacturing capabilities, machinery, advanced quality control techniques, R&D (see p. 38), technical expertise and capacity expansions. “We stand by our commitment to manufacturing premium products, and the strong financial profile backing of Bain Consortium will empower us to accelerate investment efforts.”
HCA includes three divisions: the Performance Cable Systems & Materials Division, with 240 employees; the Automotive Products Division, with 100 employees; and the High Performance Medical Solutions Division, which has 180 employees. The Performance Cable division’s 300,000-sq-ft plant in Manchester, New Hampshire, designs and produces advanced copper and fiber optic based communication cable.
The agreement will see a branding away from the HCA name on Jan. 4, 2023, into Proterial Cable America, a portmanteau of the words “professional” and “material.”
Sweden’s Hexatronic Group AB (Hexatronic) has signed a binding asset purchase agreement to acquire all business activities of Rochester Cable from TE Connectivity (TE).
Per an announcement issued by Hexatronic, it will pay $55 million to acquire Rochester Cable, a U.S. designer and manufacturer of cables based in Culpeper, Virginia. The company has 130 employees and a production site of some 40,000 sq m. The deal, expected to close by the end of next March, will include all the land and buildings for the operations.
The agreement broadens Hexatronic’s offering within fiber optic submarine communication cables to include dynamic working cables that can transmit electrical signals and power in addition to transmitting optical signals. Rochester Cable’s electro-optical cables for operation in harsh environments are highly engineered to meet specific requirements in demanding industries such as oil and gas, sensing, defense, oceanographic and subsea applications. Product sales are mainly in the U.S. but also in the EMEA and APAC regions.
Over the last decade, TE significantly invested in increasing capacity, and the production facility provides many possibilities for further growth. The acquisition will include the land and buildings of the production sites and office buildings. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close no later than March 31, 2023.
“We are happy to have reached an agreement with TE Connectivity ... (as) Rochester Cable is uniquely positioned with its know-how and application expertise, which has been developed as a market leader for decades,” said Hexatronic Group CEO Henrik Larsson Lyon.
Hexatronic has been a supplier of fiber optic submarine communication cables since the 1990s. Combining the know-how, geographical footprint, and product portfolio of Rochester Cable in the U.S. and Hexatronic submarine business in Sweden provides exciting opportunities for the future,” said Hexatronic Group CEO Henrik Larsson Lyon.
Bridon-Bekaert to close wire rope plant
Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG) announced plans to close their manufacturing plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, to improve the business portfolio of the European rope activities.
A press release said that Bekaert has decided to consolidate the BBRG’s European ropes manufacturing platform in the U.K. and phase out the production activities in Gelsenkirchen by the end of 2023. The business portfolio of the European rope activities will further be improved by exiting lower-margin market segments and focusing on the segments with growth perspectives and higher value creation potential.
The competitive position of the Gelsenkirchen plant has been under pressure and the current business level no longer provides the ability to generate a financially sustainable performance. The decision to close the loss-making plant will affect 77 employees.
All European steel rope manufacturing activities will be centralized in the Doncaster and Newcastle production sites to ensure long-term competitiveness by better leveraging efficiencies and by improving the business portfolio. “The management regrets the personal consequences of the restructuring decisions and will diligently evaluate the options to mitigate the social impact for the affected employees,” the release said.
Bridon-Bekaert The Ropes Group (BBRG), was formed in 2016 by the addition of Bridon Group to Bekaert’s steel ropes and advanced cords businesses. The entity has a global footprint that includes 16 manufacturing locations (including Gelsenkirchen), providing strong positions in the U.S. and Europe, Latin America, Canada and Australia.
LS Cable & System announced on Oct. 20 that it has won a cable contract valued at approximately $166 million to supply the Boreas wind farm in the North Sea of the U.K., the largest ever order from Europe received by a South Korean cable company.
Per the announcement, the Boreas offshore wind farm is being developed by Sweden’s state-owned power company Vattenfall, near Norfolk in the United Kingdom. When completed in 2026, it will produce about 1.3 GW of electric power, equivalent to one nuclear power plant.
LS Cable & System will supply 320 kV ultra-high voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine and underground cables for the wind farm. It will mark the company’s first supply of HVDC cables that use cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) as an insulating material.
XLPE cables are becoming the mainstream in renewable energy projects in Europe and North America due to their convenient installation and connection and easy maintenance. However, so far, only a few companies have succeeded in developing them. The latest order is expected to help LS Cable & System accelerate its penetration of the XLPE cable market. The company plans to expedite its market expansion in Europe as well as North America and Asia where demand for XLPE cables is growing rapidly.
WCMA to hold annual meeting on Dec. 1
The Wire & Cable Manufacturers Alliance (WCMA) will hold its annual luncheon meeting, which will have a featured speaker, much networking potential and support a good cause, on Thursday, Dec. 1.
A press release said that registration is open for the event, which will be held from 11 am to 3 pm at a new location: the Hartford Marriott Downtown, 300 Capitol Blvd., Hartford, Connecticut. The meeting will include an economic review by John Traynor, Cambridge Trust, a recognized economist who has appeared on Fox News and CNN and in The Wall Street Journal. He has also been a much-appreciated speaker at WCMA’s annual meetings, speaking numerous times.
WCMA will continue its networking session for Young Professionals and Mentors from 2 pm to 3 pm, with additional presentations planned.
As noted above, registration is open, and attendees are encouraged to support the WCMA’s annual Toys for Tots donation and/or Industry scholarships for Wire Association, IWCS and The Copper Club.
Lodging is available at The Hartford Marriott Downtown at discounted room rate of $125. The cut-off for that offer is Nov. 28. Registrations can be made at: https://wcmainc.org/page/annual-meeting-and-holiday-luncheon.
For more details, call WCMA Executive Director Executive Director Ed Fenton at tel. 860-841-7720
Interwire Call for Papers
Interwire Call for Papers
The WAI is seeking papers for Interwire 2023. Accepted papers will be presented at the event, to be held May 9-11 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Papers are sought that address advances in the industry that fall under: Industry 4.0 trends, wire and cable- making strategies, workforce insights and technical progress in all sectors. Abstracts are due Nov. 18, 2022, notice of acceptance is Dec. 2, 2022, and manuscripts are due March 3, 2023.
Abstracts can be submitted at https://goo.gl/svxgvq. Accepted authors receive a one-year WAI membership and complimentary conference registration.
Had any personnel changes the last few years? It’s a rare company that hasn’t either lost or added staff during the Covid period, and it’s not a bad idea to make sure that the industry knows who your key people are.
This is an ideal time to take a minute to look at the 2022 edition of the Wire Journal International Reference Guide and see whether you need to make some updates. Companies can now either enter or update their company profiles for the 2023 edition of the Wire Journal International Reference Guide and WAI’s online Industry Search.
New and updated entries will be accepted until Nov. 30, 2022, for the printed publication. An instructional video on submitting a free listing is at wirenet.org: (www.wirenet.org/industry-search-instructional-video).
The WJI Reference Guide lists contact information for international manufacturers and suppliers to the wire and cable industry. Company listings include more than 1,100 product types.
With Interwire 2023 six months away, the exhibit space at the Georgia World Congress Center has been expanded by 2,000 sq ft to 82,000 sq ft.
A modest floor plan extension is likely in early November, explained WAI Sales Director Shannon Timme. At this time, more than 200 exhibiting companies are now represented on the show floor. It has been an extremely busy period for the industry as well as for the Association as it too tries to service customers, she said.
“The industry has seen a significant amount of role changes and retirements within the last two years,” Timme said. These company personnel changes have largely attributed to the delay in messaging and communications with some companies who have yet to renew for exhibit space.
The last staging of Interwire at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta saw 3,514 wire and cable industry professionals representing 39 states and 47 countries in attendance. More than 400 manufacturing facilities had at least one representative at the event, and WAI’s day-long Fundamentals of Wire Manufacturing course drew a record 161 attendees. More details will be presented in future issues, including at the official event website, www.interwire23.com.