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Wire Journal News

The U.S. Commerce Department (DoC) has made a preliminary affirmative determination in its countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of aluminum wire and cable from China, setting subsidy rates up to 164% for one manufacturer.

Per DoC, on April 2 the agency issued its findings in the investigation that had been petitioned last September by Encore Wire Corporation and Southwire Company. DoC is scheduled to announce its final determination on or about August 13, 2019. If that also is affirmative, and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes an affirmative final determination that imports of aluminum wire and cable from China "materially injures, or threatens material injury to, the domestic industry," Commerce will issue a CVD order. The ITC is scheduled to make its final injury determination approximately 45 days after Commerce issues its final determination, if affirmative.

DoC assigned a preliminary subsidy rate of 15.77% to mandatory respondent Shanghai Silin Special Equipment Co., Ltd.; 11.57% to mandatory respondent Chanfeng Wire & Cable Co., Ltd.; and 164.16%—based entirely on adverse facts available—to mandatory respondent Shanghai Yang Pu Qu Gong. The rate for all other Chinese producers and exporters is 13.67%.

"Encore supports the U.S. Government’s ongoing antidumping and CVD investigations because we believe that illegally dumped and subsidized aluminum wire from China has undermined our investments in aluminum wire production to complement our market-leading copper building wire business," said Encore Wire Chairman, President and CEO Daniel Jones. He called the preliminary decision "a positive development and an important step toward restoring a level playing field."

The scope of the investigation covers aluminum wire and cable, which is defined as an assembly of one or more electrical conductors made from 8000 Series Aluminum Alloys (defined in accordance with ASTM B800), Aluminum Alloy 1350 (defined in accordance with ASTM B230/B230M or B609/B609M), and/or Aluminum Alloy 6201 (defined in accordance with ASTM B398/B398M), provided that: (1) at least one of the electrical conductors is insulated; (2) each insulated electrical conductor has a voltage rating greater than 80 volts and not exceeding 1000 volts; and (3) at least one electrical conductor is stranded and has a size not less than 16.5 thousand circular mil (kcmil) and not greater than 1000 kcmil. The assembly may: (1) include a grounding or neutral conductor; (2) be clad with aluminum, steel, or other base metal; or (3) include a steel support center wire, one or more connectors, a tape shield, a jacket or other covering, and/or filler materials.

Bekaert announced that it is taking wide-ranging steps to improve the company’s competitiveness that will include downsizing in Belgium—where it is based—cutting operational costs and shifting some operations and activities to be more cost-effective.

"We want to organize ourselves in a more agile and cost-efficient way," said a press release that noted that margins have suffered to where action is called for. It outlined steps in three areas.

The first calls for relocating some activities in Belgium to lower-cost locations. Those include: moving the production-related standard test lab activities to production plants that have a global service role; moving the spare parts activities to Slovakia, close to Bekart’s main production plants in Central Europe; and moving certain pilot line developments and upscaling pilot developments to industrialization. These activities would be located in the relevant "key learning plants" to speed up the development and time to bring product and process innovations to market.

The second step relates to the very competitive nature of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market for steel fibers in the European concrete reinforcement market, the release said. Because competitors have moved their manufacturing footprint to Central Europe or are sourcing fibers from low-cost countries, Bekaert’s Dramix® plant in Moen, Belgium, is not competitive with the current pricing trends in EMEA. As such, Bekaert will close the Moen plant and further upscale Dramix production at its plant in Petrovice, Czech Republic.

The third step is "to reduce certain activities and align them better with the business needs and the new organizational structure of the Group," the release said. This would include a downsizing of administrative and other support roles "by better leveraging the potential of standardization, centralization, outsourcing and relocation." As a result, the engineering, technology and functional departments in Belgium will focus "much more on their respective, global expertise roles and act as strategic business partners. They will be helping the business with the capability to deliver on the short- and long-term goals."

The release said that implementing the described actions "will improve our competitive position in the market place worldwide by significantly reducing our cost structure, which will help improve the financial performance of the Group sustainably."

The restructuring would affect 281 jobs in Belgium. Per a report in flandsersnews.be, the job losses include 70 at Moen, outside Zwevegem; a further 44 in Zwevegem itself; 106 in Deerlijk; and 61 in Ingelmuntser.

The MAREA transatlantic subsea cable, the result of a joint effort between Facebook and Microsoft, achieved a record data transfer speed of 26.2 Tbps on a pair of its fiber optic cables during an experiment.

A press release said that the experiment yielded a sizeable increase in the theoretical maximum as it was previously thought that the maximum transfer rate per fiber pair was 20 Tbps. In 2016, Facebook and Microsoft joined forces to build and deploy the highest-capacity undersea cable in history, dubbed the MAREA cable. The cable spans from Virginia Beach to Bilbao, Spain, and had a design capacity of 160 Tbps, with each of the line’s eight fiber optic pairs capable of 20 Tbps.

A recent experiment using 16 QAM modulation saw the transatlantic cable achieve a data transfer rate of 26.2 Tbps on one of the fiber pairs, the release said. The MAREA cable, which was designed to help meet increasing demand for high-speed connections to the cloud, was able to reach these transfer rates with no physical modifications to the line. "This is significant because it suggests that other undersea lines may be able to achieve speed upgrades without having to spend hundreds of millions on laying new cable," it said.

The release noted that average MAREA cable transfer rates are now "only" 9.5 Tbps, so the record speeds are still in the experimental stage.

Italy’s Danieli reports that it has received orders for two high-productivity and H3 rolling mills to be installed and put into operation in Russia during 2020.

A press release said that AEMZ (Abinsk Electric Steel Works Ltd.) ordered a new 600,000-tpy H3 wire rod line to be installed at Abinsk, in the Krasnodar region. The new mill will produce wire rod coils, 5.5- to 16-mm, smooth rounds, and 6- to 12-mm, quenched and microalloyed rebar, for construction, welding wire and CHQ grades.

The second order is from NPZ (Novorossiysk Rolling Plant LLC), which ordered a new 500,000-tpy H3 wire rod mill to be installed at Novorossiysk, also in the Krasnodar region. The mill will roll 150 x 150 billets into 5.5- to 16-mm wire rod and deformed wire rod in coils weighing up to 2.1 metric tons.

Depending on customer requirements, Danieli notes that its H3 mills operate at over 100 m/sec. They consist of an ESS (Energy Saving System) cantilever-type and SHS housingless stands and fast-finishing blocks; a water-cooling line suitable for wire-rod quenching and controlled cooling, and a loop-laying head, rotary reforming tube and easy-down system for a perfect coil pattern.

Danieli’s H3 mills are typically supplied along with Danieli Centro Combustion reheating furnaces equipped with the latest-generation, ultra-low NOx emission, flat MAB flameless burners. Danieli Automation provides process control, power and instrumentation—like medium-voltage Q-DRIVE, HiPROFILE LITE and HiSECTION measuring devices—for in-line tracking and product monitoring, and optical system for rolling guides set-up, and for rolls and guides alignment for the finishing block.

LS Cable & System President & CEO Roe-Hyun Myung announced that the company is entering a deal to supply ISA CTEEP, a Brazilian energy transmission company, with 100 km of extra-high-voltage submarine and underground cables.

A press release said that the order from ISA CTEEP is for a project to provide a new power grids to Santa Catarina Island, a vacation spot in southern Brazil. ISA CTEEP is responsible for 25% of the total power transmission of Brazil, and 60% of total power transmission of the Southeastern region. This Brazil project, a first for LS Cable & System, will resolve a local power shortage problem.

More than 60% of Brazil’s power depends on hydroelectric generation using the Amazon River, Parana River, Xingu River and others, the release said. If there is a drought then power shortages can be prolonged. so the Brazilian government wants to expand its power grids and diversify its power supply to include wind and solar. The expected result will be an expanded and more diversified power market.

"This first supply of submarine cables to Brazil laid down the foundation for expanding into the Brazilian market," said LS Cable & System CEO Roe-Hyun Myung. "Also, we are planning to make our best efforts to advance into neighboring countries like Columbia through cooperation with ISA CTEEP, whose large shareholder is a Columbian power company."

The release notes that LS Cable & System has become one of the top three global cablemakers by supplying submarine cable products to large projects in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The company said that its successful completion of the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. and large submarine power grid projects throughout the Americas, including Canada and Venezuela, were recognized as significant achievements that helped win the contract.

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