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Wire Journal News

December 2023

Madison, Connecticut, USA – January 2, 2024 – The Wire Association International (WAI), Inc. announces the appointment of Daniel Blais as the 71st president of the association for a one-year term that commenced on January 1, 2024. Blais will chair the Board of Directors of the 94-year-old association, which is headquartered in Madison, Connecticut, USA.

Blais is North America Engineering and Canada Manufacturing Utilities vice president for Prysmian Group, where he has worked since 1987. He is based at the company’s headquarters in Highland Heights, Kentucky, and is responsible for the engineering across the North America manufacturting sites as well as leading the activities of the four Canadian manufacturing facilities. He has held several operational leadership positions of growing responsibilities across the Prysmian North American footprint.

A WAI member since 2011, Blais joined the Board of Directors in 2018 and the Executive Committee in 2019. He was the co-chair of the 2022 Conference Programming Committee, and previously he was a member of the Interwire Industry 4.0 Task Force and the Finance Committee. He holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Sherbrooke University, Quebec, Canada.

Commenting on this new appointment, Blais said, “The WAI continues to be the place where members and industry professionals come to find the latest information and educational material related to wire and cable. I look forward to leading the association on a journey to continuously improve its offerings to better support the needs of our members and industry professionals.”

The Wire Association International, Inc. is governed by a network of volunteers from around the globe. Joining Blais for the 2024 term are members of the association’s 2024 Executive Committee: First Vice President Eric Bieberich, Fort Wayne Wire Die; Second Vice President David Fisher, James Monroe Wire & Cable Corp.; Rebecca Cranford, Southwire Co.; and Immediate Past President Kurt F. Breischaft, SDI La Farga COPPERWORKS.

Prysmian Group is a world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry. With almost 150 years of experience, sales of around €16 billion, about 30,000 employees in over 50 countries and 108 plants,the Group is strongly positioned in high-tech markets and offers the widest possible range of products, services, technologies and know-how..

WAI, founded in 1930, is a not-for-profit association with more than 2000 individual members in 50 countries. The association serves the educational needs of the wire and cable manufacturing industry through a variety of products and services. WAI manages the Interwire Trade Exhibition and Wire Expo and publishes the Wire Journal International and the Wire Journal International Reference Guide.

Media Contacts: Janice E. Swindells, Director Marketing & Corporate Communications, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel.: 001-203-453-2777, x. 117; Steven J. Fetteroll, Executive Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel.: 001-203-453-1777.

Published in WAI News

Citing the challenge in getting the cable it needs for an ambitious project—the Australia-Asia Power Link (AAPowerLink)—the developer, Australia’s SunCable, announced plans to build its own manufacturing plant to supply cable for the solar farm, likely in Tasmania.

Per multiple news reports, SunCable has been in the news due to a split between billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, both principals of what was called “the world’s most ambitious solar energy generation project.” The two differed over direction, and once the leadership dust settled, SunCable was bought out by a consortium led by Grok Ventures, which is owned by Cannon-Brookes. Now, the focus once again is on the AA PowerLink project that would generate solar from Australia’s Northern Territory to deliver to Darwin, and then on to Singapore.

Per the SunCable website, the project will require a lot of cable as the proposed 20 GW solar farm will need an 800-km overhead transmission line to Darwin and a 4,300 km HV cable link to Singapore and converter sites. However, all advanced HVDC subsea cable facilities are now located in the Northern Hemisphere, and to place and receive an order could take five to eight years.

SunCable wants to have its own HV cable manufacturing plant, located in Tasmania. “The Tasmania option, on paper, offers the ability to produce cables in six years’ time.” Construction of the plant would be 2025, “with the first cable produced in 2029,” with the AAPowerLink project an anchor customer.

Of note, SunCable is not entering the wire and cable industry on its own. It reported that it “is in discussions with global cable manufacturers to jointly develop, construct and operate an advanced high voltage (HV) cable manufacturing facility.” The potential site, at Bell Bay, was chosen due to its size and proximity to one of the country’s few natural deep-water ports, rail infrastructure and renewable energy infrastructure. A plant there “will help solve global supply constraints of HVDC subsea cable.”

Published in Industry News

Nexans reports that it has agreed to reserve capacity so it can supply and install high-voltage cables to SSEN Transmission to provide a transmission link from Orkney to Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands.

A press release said that capacity reservation agreement was signed by both parties for the project. The official contract, expected to be signed in the second quarter of 2024, will require approximately 100 km of 220kV AC subsea and land cables. The Orkney Islands is investing in further renewable energy projects and needs more transmission capacity so it can export energy to the Scottish transmission network.

“This agreement marks a significant milestone for Nexans and we look forward to collaborating closely with SSEN Transmission,” said Nexans Executive Vice President Pascal Radue. “The Orkney transmission link is critical for the development of renewable energy in the UK, and underscores our commitment to advancing electrification and renewable energy in the region.”

Published in Industry News

United Wire expanding operations, adds new equipment to make medical products

Published in Industry News

The Prysmian Group has signed an agreement worth approximately $952.8 million with Clean Path New York to provide submarine and land power cable systems for one of the largest transmission infrastructure projects in the United States.

A press release said that Clean Path New York is an $11 billion renewable energy project comprising 3,800 MW of wind and solar power from more than 20 new wind and solar generation resources and a new 175-mile, underground and submarine transmission link. These assets will be able to deliver more than 7.5 million megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy every year—enough to power more than 1.5 million New York households.

Clean Path New York is a public-private collaboration between Invenergy, energyRe, and the New York Power Authority. The Prysmian Group will be responsible for the design, manufacture, construction, installation, and commissioning of Clean Path New York’s high-voltage DC current) 400 KV single core cable system with XLPE insulation, conditional upon Clean Path New York issuing its notice to proceed in Spring 2024.

“We are proud to support Clean Path New York in meeting New York State’s ambitious climate goals to be 70% carbon-free by 2030,” said Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects BU, Prysmian Group. “Clean Path New York is one of the largest transmission infrastructure projects to be executed in New York State and is one the first 400 kV HVDC interconnectors to be built by Prysmian around the world. This agreement reinforces Prysmian Group’s leading position in the submarine and land cable market and underlines both our continued role in and our commitment to the North American energy transition.”

Published in Industry News

Supporting the company's intent to be a leader in sustainability, Southwire has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Program.

ENERGY STAR® is a well-recognized and respected voluntary program managed by the U.S. EPA, supported by U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Natural Resources Canada, that is focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings, plants and homes.

“We’re excited to partner with ENERGY STAR, a brand that is well-recognized for energy efficiency in many of the things we use every day, like some of our Topaz® lights,” said Norman Adkins, Southwire’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). “Through its resources and collaboration with other companies who share the same commitment to proving energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR helps its partners in the industrial space. As a part of this partnership, we plan to improve energy efficiency at a faster pace throughout our company operations.”

In support of the company’s Growing Green initiative, Southwire aims to reduce its environmental footprint and maintains a deep commitment to responsible growth and actively integrating environmental priorities into its core operations.

In July 2020, Southwire announced its Carbon Zero goal to eliminate or offset all of the company’s Scope 1 – associated with fuel combustion – and Scope 2 – associated with electricity consumption – greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

As part of the program, Southwire will continue its commitment to protect the environment through the continuous improvement of its energy performance.

“At Southwire, our vision is to make our company sustainable for the next 100 years and beyond, and our partnership with ENERGY STAR is a testament to those efforts,” said Burt Fealing, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. “Southwire maintains a deep commitment to responsible growth and actively integrating environmental priorities into our core operations, and we look forward to creating a more sustainable planet through our partnership with ENERGY STAR.”

“By making a commitment to improved energy efficiency, Southwire is on the way to enhancing its bottom line while protecting our environment,” said Cindy Jacobs, Chief of EPA’s ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Branch.

Published in Press Releases

Earlier this year, the Prysmian Group announced the launch at global level of a new Parental Policy, consisting of concrete measures to support new parents for optimal management of their work-life balance in the new chapter of their lives.  

 The main features of the new global Parental Policy include the raising of the minimum parental leave for mothers and for primary caregivers from 12 to 16 weeks at full salary, and the introduction of a two-week minimum standard parental leave for fathers and secondary caregivers at full salary. To support parenthood, Prysmian is committed to providing in all countries in which it operates a new child benefit (also called “baby bonus”) as a family support measure granted and disbursed to new parents — whether biological or adoptive, members of a couple or single parents — for each child.  

 Moreover, Prysmian will reinforce the “Leave and Back to Work Programme”— a support programme for all mothers and for primary caregivers that begins as they approach parental leave and extends into their first few months back at work, so as to guarantee a gradual and successful return. Each new mother will be supported through a dedicated training, mentoring, and counselling programme.  

Through this new Parental Policy, Prysmian Group aims to set a minimum global standard, focusing on aspects such as wellbeing and inclusion in all the countries where it operates, thus allowing its employees to enjoy the same opportunities and minimum benefits. The policy is highly appreciated by people throughout the Group, particularly in the United States where Prysmian has a strategic footprint and operates with more than 6,000 employees. 

 “Prysmian Group has always focused closely on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in order to ensure a correct work-life balance for all its employees. In keeping with this approach, Prysmian Group is committed to supporting new parents, recognising the great value of parenthood,” stated Fabrizio Rutschmann, Chief HR Officer at Prysmian Group. “Our aim is to make all of our employees feel free to have children and consider this option as an extraordinary opportunity. To this end, we provide concrete help to all those who want to become parents. This is also aimed to support the birth rate, as it has reached record low levels in in many countries where Prysmian operates”.  

Published in Press Releases

AZ Wire & Cable, a U.S. master distributor for industrial, commercial and specialty wire and cable, was acquired in October by investment group MFG Partners (MFG).

A press release said that MFG “has completed a strategic investment in AZ (Wire & Cable), which is based in Northbrook, Illinois, and has additional locations in New York, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Florida and Oregon. As part of the transaction, Executive Vice Presidents Darren, Todd and Eric Anixter have retained significant equity ownership in the business, and will continue to run the day-to-day operations of the business.

“We believe that partnering with MFG, given their expertise and experience investing in middle market industrial companies, is an investment in growth and we are excited for the future,” said Todd Anixter.

Published in Industry News

Italy’s Acciaierie Venete has chosen Danieli to supply a new wire rod production line to expand capacity at its plant in Sarezzo (Brescia).

A press release said that, fed by the existing Danieli rolling mill that produces straight and coiled quality bars, the new wire rod line will produce special steel smooth rounds from 5.5 to 25 mm, at speeds up to 110 m/s, expanding the company product portfolio.

The mill will start operation in early 2025. It will have three fast-finishing blocks to perform a total of 18 passes. It will include a TMB Twin-Module Block that will guarantee holding a ± 0.1 mm tolerance and 50% ovality to the whole range of products. Danieli Automation’s Hi-Profile Lite gauge measurement system will provide real-time feedback on the rolling operations and certify the quality of the final product, while motorized remote control of the rings will allow prompt adjustments during rolling. A Danieli-patented, high-speed shear will ensure accurate, consistent head-and-tail in-line trimming.

Published in Industry News

U.S.-based Winchester Interconnect (Winchester) reports that it has opened a new facility in Empalme, Mexico, as part of its expansion in the country.

A press release said that the new 53,000-sq-ft facility will produce wire and cable, cable assembly and coil cord interconnect solutions using cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and a highly skilled workforce. “We are pleased to celebrate another milestone in the continuing evolution of Winchester,” said Winchester COO Steve Ball.

Earlier this year, Winchester opened a new facility in Bangkok, Thailand, that will serve as an additional hub for manufacturing and delivery to customers in the Asia-Pacific region. The plant is strategically located to provide easy access to major transportation routes and ports, making it easier to deliver products to customers in the region. “With the opening of the new facility in Thailand, Winchester is poised to further expand its reach and capabilities while providing exceptional service to customers as they grow and expand in the region.”

Published in Industry News
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