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voestalpine announced that the company has invested more than 18 million euros in a new pioneering high-tech steel research center in Austria.

"At its unique pilot facility in Leoben-Donawitz, Austria, voestalpine is now conducting research into the production of new high-performance steels which are subsequently processed into special rails, quality rod wire, and extremely high-resistant OCTG by the Group’s companies in Syria," a press release said. It noted that the creation of Technikum Metallurgie (TechMet), a metallurgy technical center, represents the largest such research investment at the site to date.

"Today, voestalpine generates two-thirds of Group revenue from processing steel into sophisticated components and system solutions for the global automotive, railway infrastructure, and aerospace industries," said company CEO Wolfgang Eder. "The TechMet research facility offers us entirely new opportunities to develop pioneering steel grades which are needed to ensure the high quality of our final products."

Franz Kainersdorfer, who heads the company’s Metal Engineering Division, said that the unique plant configuration is a major advance. "We have built a complete steel plant in miniature that allows us to directly transfer the results of work in the research plant to (our) major facilities."

Product development at TechMet follows a reduced carbon footprint, the release said. Electricity generated from renewables provides the power to melt the pre-materials, and this reduces CO2 emissions at the site by at least 2,800 tons each year. The core components—apart from the furnaces also a continuous caster—were supplied by a Styrian plant manufacturer based in Bruck an der Mur. The research center, 2,800 sq m, is located in a former foundry building, almost 100 years old, at the site in Leoben-Donawitz which has now been comprehensively renovated.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) announced that the company has consolidated its U.K. capabilities in Basingstoke to address the growing demand for testing and regulatory certification services.

A press release said that UL has made a “significant investment” in Basingstoke, which is now the organization’s largest commercial test facility in the U.K. It adds 37,000 sq ft to the current facility, tripling its size, with 15,000 sq ft dedicated to EMC and wireless testing.

UL’s EMC and Wireless certification lab now includes: four 3-meter semi-anechoic chambers; three 3-meter fully anechoic chambers; six large screened rooms; and seven DASY6 SAR systems. As technology continues to advance rapidly, new developments such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to significantly alter consumer buying habits and increase awareness of issues, including security and interoperability, the release said. “As a result, many companies are being left behind as they fail to remain relevant and meet the new standards introduced to protect consumers.” The consolidation of services in Basingstoke was driven by these market trends and by requests from UL customers for larger laboratory capacity, shorter test programs and automation, and higher frequency bands, all in one location, it said.

Through the consolidation, UL will provide a broad spectrum of certification types across multiple industries, technologies and geographies from a single location, so that as the products made by customers have to become “smarter,” the location can adapt to meet those needs, the release said. “This is an important moment in the development of UL’s compliance services in the U.K. The significant investment in new facilities will offer a one-stop service solution with state-of-the art custom-designed chambers and sourced equipment,” said Phil Davies, site leader and general manager for UL’s Consumer Technology division in the EMEA-LA region. For more details, go to www.ul.com.

Cablel® Hellenic Cables announced that it has been awarded part of an R&D tender for a Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (Floating Wind) focused on the development of high-voltage dynamic export cables for the transmission of power from floating wind farms to shore

A press release said that the project, under the auspices of Carbon Trust, is a collaborative initiative between industry partners EnBW, ENGIE, Eolfi, E.ON, Equinor, innogy, Kyuden Mirai Energy, Ørsted, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, Vattenfall and Wpd, with support from the Scottish government. The goal is to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms, with this R&D effort representing a new technology that is a critical factor for the commercial deployment of floating wind technology.

“For this purpose, Hellenic Cables will support the design, initial testing and development of dynamic cables ranging from 130kV to 250kV to enable the efficient transmission of power from floating wind turbines to shore,” the release said. The award for the company is for the first phase of the project, due for completion in March 2020.

The cables will be made at the plant of Fulgor SA, a subsidiary of Hellenic Cables, at its plant in Soussaki, Corinth, Greece, where Fulgor is capable of making some of the world’s longest submarine cables in continuous lengths. Cablel Hellenic Cables, which is part of Belgium’s Cenergy Holdings SA, manufactures power and telecom cables as well as submarine cables. It has four plants in Greece and one in Bulgaria.

Last November, Cablel Hellenic Cables won a contract worth some 29 million euros and Fulgor a contract worth some 18 million euros to provide and install submarine and land cables in the Rio-Antirrio area for the extension of the 400kV grid towards Peloponnese, Greece. Those projects called for 18 km of six 400kV single-core submarine cables and optical fiber submarine cables, and some 42 km of 400 kV land cables for the route from the landing points of the submarine cables in Peloponnese and Central Greece.

Italy’s Prysmian Group reports that it has been awarded a major grid connection project, DolWin5, worth some €140 million, from Dutch-German grid operator TenneT.

A press release said that the TenneT project will connect multiple offshore wind farms to the German grid. It calls for “the supply, installation and commissioning of a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) 320 kV XLPE-insulated submarine and land power cable connection, with a transmission capacity of 900 MW, as well as the associated fibre optic cable system, comprising a land route of 30 km and a subsea route of 100 km.” The turnkey connections will link the offshore converter platform DolWin epsilon, located some 100 km offshore in the German North Sea, to the mainland Emden/Ost converter station, and help transmit the generated renewable energy into the German grid.

The cables will be manufactured at Prysmian Group’s plants in Pikkala, Finland, submarine, and Gron, France, land, the release said. Offshore installation activities will be performed by two Prysmian cable-laying vessels: the Cable Enterprise, for deep water installation, and the Ulisse, for shallow water activities. Completion of the project is scheduled for the middle of 2024.

“The Dolwin5 project continues our valued long relationship with the major TSO TenneT and demonstrates our ability to provide tailor-made submarine cable solutions for challenging projects, providing the offshore infrastructure needed to support the growth of clean energy in Northern Europe,” said Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects, Prysmian Group.

The release said that the project comes “at a very important time for Prysmian,” which recently won a €200 million U.S. offshore project from Vineyard Wind, LLC.

Liberty Steel, part of the global GFG Alliance, further expanded its footprint in the U.S. steel downstream products market with the acquisition of Johnstown Wire Technologies (JWT) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

A press release notes that JWT is the largest producer of value-added carbon and alloy wire in North America, and that the deal “gives Liberty valuable capacity to manufacture a range of high-value carbon and alloy wire products for multiple end markets including the infrastructure, automotive, utility and consumer sectors.”

The Johnstown plant, described as an advanced manufacturing facility, has some 250 employees, the release said. They will complement Liberty’s melting and rolling operations at Georgetown, South Carolina, and Peoria, Illinois. Combined with its scrap processing plant in Tampa, Florida, the acquisition “will firmly embed the business along the full value chain in the U.S. steel market.”

Liberty Steel entered the U.S. market in 2017 by acquiring ArcelorMittal’s Georgetown Steel mill and followed up with the purchase of Keystone Consolidated Industries, including its flagship Peoria mill, in 2018.

“Today’s announcement marks another major step by Liberty towards its target of quickly becoming a market leader in the American wire rod sector,” the release said. It noted that the 638,000-sq-foot Johnstown site has been a high-profile steel manufacturing facility for more than a century, and that it is a top-three U.S. producer of the types of steel that will be needed to modernize America’s aging infrastructure: CHQ, electro-galvanized, aluminized and spring wire.

JWT currently holds the number one market position in the electro-galvanized and aluminized sectors, the release said. “Liberty Steel intends to drive growth at JWT as the U.S. updates its infrastructure and electricity networks, thereby increasing demand for steel products such as support cables and guard rails for bridges and for electrical power lines.”

With more than half of JWT’s output sold into the transportation market, Liberty is also aiming to capitalize on continued growth in U.S. vehicle production, the release said. It is the third largest producer in the U.S. of CHQ wire, which is used in automotive products such as engine block bolts and brake pad rivets. The acquisition will also add substantially to Liberty’s capability to meet the “Made in America” specifications required for public infrastructure and utility contracts.

“This is another very significant step towards our ambitious U.S. goals,” said GFC Chief Investment Officer Grant Quasha. “JWT is a profitable business with a skilled workforce and tremendous pedigree in the industry, so we look forward to welcoming it into the GFG USA family and helping it build an even stronger future.”

GFG Group Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said that he was thrilled with the deal. “The addition of high-quality specialized facilities at Johnstown further strengthens our existing facilities at Georgetown and Peoria.”

“We are excited to be joining the GFG family of global businesses and see this as a tremendous opportunity to further our position as a leading manufacturer of steel wire in North America,” said Johnstown Wire Technologies President and CEO Jack Miller.

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