Inspired manufacturing the focus of Interwire 2023 conference
The Wire Association International (WAI), Inc. announces details of its annual conference program, offered May 9-11 in conjunction with INTERWIRE at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Presentations include two keynote addresses; a featured speaker; focused sessions on Industry 4.0, the Workforce, and Extrusion/Polymers; Industry Outlook panel sessions; nine technical sessions; a Mordica lecture; and production solution demonstrations as outlined below. All are included with Conference and Exhibit registration.
WAI’s popular Fundamentals of Wire Manufacturing course is offered as a pre-show option on May 8 for those either new to the industry or in need of a refresher.
Srinivas Siripurapu, Chief Innovation and R&D Officer, Prysmian, delivers his keynote address on May 9: “Innovation, Investments & Incentives – Electrifying the wire and cable industry for a brighter future.”
Rich Stinson, President and CEO of Southwire Co. presents “The future is electrified!” on May 10.
Dr. Mary Ellen Weber, astronaut, executive, aviator, and scientist presents: “To boldly go: The experience of space flight” on May 10. Dr. Weber offers a second presentation that afternoon at the WAI Theater in exhibit Hall A titled: “A new era of space travel: Commercial space, NASA, tourism, the Moon, and Mars.”
INDUSTRY 4.0 SESSIONS
• “How AI will change wire & cable manufacturing,” Willem Sundblad, Oden Technologies.
• “The future of industrial work: How Smart AI is helping to unlock the true potential of today’s workforce,” Russ Fadel, Augmentir.
• “Unleashing the full potential of Industrial IoT with GPT-3,” Andrés Cartagena Ruiz, 40Factory.
• “Lessons from the journey to a connected enterprise, Will Berry, Sr. VP engineering and modernization, Southwire Co.
• “Behind the numbers…Establishing world class safety and training programs,” Rob Caillet, VP of environmental, health and safely, Encore Wire.
• “The state of the manufacturing workplace,” Matt Dionne, Managing partner, TYGES Executive and professional search firm.
• Executive panel: Adapting to the workforce challenges with senior industry leaders. Moderator Drew Richards, president RichardsApex; Panelists: Joe Barrett, president, Davis Wire; David Fisher, president, James Monroe Wire & Cable.
• “Advanced extrusion technology,” Mikko Lahti, R & D director, Maillefer Extrusion.
• “Polymer technology for wire and cable applications,” David Lindsay, market manager-energy, North America, Borealis.
• “What are you risking by using outdated controls on your extruder?”, Scott Barlow, CEO, Integrated Control Technologies.
• “Can the cable industry avoid the impending economic downturn?” Aisling Hubert, editor, CRU.
• Executive Panel – “Steel Market.”
• Executive Panel – “Copper Supply and Demand.”
Conference and Exhibit registration also includes presentations at the WAI Theater in exhibit Hall A, featuring:
• “In-situ evaluation of the performance of wire drawing using multiple sensors.”
• “The future of industrial work - How Smart AI is helping to unlock the true potential of today’s workforce.”
• “Inline surface dimensional flaw detection and outer diameter/ovality measurements using laser line triangulation.”
• “Manufacturing high-quality fine copper wire at a low cost by combining three-roll rolling and wire drawing.”
• “Application of polymer lubricants to replace zinc phosphate in wire drawing.”
• “Thermo-mechanical and air patenting in modern rolling: characteristics and advantages.”
• “Achieving high quality in wire using eddy current testing.”
• “Inline profiling of magnet wires for e-mobility.”
• “UPCAST oxygen free copper rod metallurgy, OFHC/OFE wire manufacturing, and other practicalities.”
Presentation by Dr. Bruce Kiefer, “Ferrous rod – Before it gets to be wire.”
PRODUCTION SOLUTION DEMONSTRATIONS
Manufacturing challenges and common process hurdles are reviewed at these live demos offered May 10 and 11 featuring:
• “Factors affecting wire production from precoats to lubricants.”
• “Wire breaks.”
• “Wire drawing die material and profile specification considerations.”
300 exhibiting companies participate at the INTERWIRE marketplace to showcase the latest products and developed technologies available to wire and cable manufacturers; 80 product categories are represented. WAI introduces more than 30 new exhibiting companies to the INTERWIRE this year.
Conference and exhibit schedule, details, and registration information is available on the event website: www.interwire23.com.
Introduced in 1981, INTERWIRE is the largest and longest-running wire and cable marketplace in the Americas. Hosted biennially, Interwire is an international trade event that includes exhibiting companies, speakers, and visitors from more than 50 countries.
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 the WAI Operations Summit & Wire Expo and publishes the Wire Journal International and the Wire Journal International Reference Guide.
Wire Reel Moving Devices: A Proactive Approach to Safety that Improves Productivity and Profitability
Wire Reel Moving Devices: A Proactive Approach to Safety that Improves Productivity and Profitability
Sponsored by PowerPusher
In recent years, improving worker safety has become an important focus in most industries, as job-related injuries can result in employee absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased costs. Many material handling applications including reel moving, pose serious health and safety risks, requiring workers to move heavy loads either through sheer manpower or by using equipment that is unstable, difficult to control or ergonomically deficient. To overcome these safety challenges, the development of battery-operated tug devices allows employees to single-handedly move materials weighing thousands of pounds without exposing them to unnecessary risk of injury. Battery operated tugs enhance safety by preventing operator strain and reducing potential collisions on busy plant floors, resulting in improved productivity and efficiency—ultimately impacting a company’s overall profitability.
Material handling applications often require operators to move objects weighing thousands of pounds, which can result in serious safety and health consequences. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, an estimated 2.6 million workers in the United States suffered nonfatal work-related injuries, which not only affects productivity, but also directly impacts a company’s bottom line. Each injury results in workers’ compensation, insurance increases, lost productivity, and diverse indirect costs, which amount to billions of dollars each year nationwide.
Traditionally, industries have been utilizing manpower, forklift trucks and pallet jacks to transport goods throughout a facility. While effective solutions for moving goods, these devices create worker vulnerability by exposing them to potential injury, such as muscle strains, nerve damage or in some cases, even death. Lacking stability and control, forklifts and pallet jacks increase the likelihood of incidental contact with personnel and equipment, while manpower can lead to injuries resulting from overexertion.
With today’s industries moving faster than ever, implementing solutions that adhere to strict safety regulations without impacting productivity is crucial to meeting growing customer demands. The development of battery-operated tug units, which are capable of effortlessly moving thousands of pounds, eliminates excess strain or exertion to personnel for increased material handling safety. With their inherent stability, tugs accommodate uneven surfaces without tipping, and are engineered to simplify material mobility. This allows facility managers to not only minimize risk of injury, but also improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
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Nu-Star Inc., parent company of PowerPusher®, is a global manufacturer of engineered solutions for material handling needs since 1959, and operates facilities in the US and UK. Learn more about their years of experience as a leading designer, manufacturer and innovator in the industry who provides state-of-the-art, reliable, cost-effective load-moving solutions that deliver tangible productivity and safety benefits in a wide variety of applications. Learn more at www.powerpusher.com and view the complete line of PowerPusher electric material handling tugs. To contact PowerPusher directly, call 800.800.9274 or visit https://powerpusher.com/contact/.
Three officials of U.K.-based Alloy Wire International (AWI) have purchased the business from the owners through a buy-out.
A press release said that Managing Director Tom Mander, Technical Director Andrew Du Plessis and Finance Director Adam Shaw have completed the deal. “This is another major milestone in the history of AWI and gives us the platform to capitalize on recent growth and massive export opportunities,” Mander said. He noted that the owners have over 45 years’ combined experience of working here. “It was a natural progression for us to step forward and take the business on, with previous Managing Director Mark Venables moving to Chairman for the next five years and R&D Director Angus Hogarth taking a consultancy role.”
Per the company website, this marks the third such MBO change for the 77-year-old company. In 1991, the management team of Bill Graham, Len Deeley, Martin Cobb, Paul Wiltshire and Tony Tonks led a management buy-out. Mark Venerable joined the company in 2010 and became managing director in 2011, with Graham becoming chairman. In 2013, the management team of Venerables, Angus Hogarth, Ian Fitzgerald and Pete Lambe bought the company. “There’s something very special about this business and this MBO ensures we maintain and cultivate this for the next 75 years,” Manser said.
The company notes that it has a solid global customer base that is 6,000 strong. It has targeted annual sales of £15 million, which would be a new high. Supporting that goal, the company plans to make investments of nearly £1 million this year that will include new wet drawing and single-hole dry drawing machines, an annealing line spooler and several hundred metric tons of raw material.
AWI has two state-of-the-art factories and a network of 45 international offices. It supplies sectors that include aerospace, nuclear, automotive, chemical, electronic, medical and oil and gas.
Venables said that he is delighted that the new owners have come from within the company. “The new management team are well versed in the Alloy Wire International culture and will also bring a youthful exuberance, passion, and eagerness to innovate traditional processes and industry norms. They have already ring-fenced significant investment for the next five years and are keen to work on increasing our international network of agents, with discussions currently taking place on establishing a bigger presence in Egypt and the Middle East. ... I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tom, Adam and Andrew take the business forward.”
Superior Essex Inc. has signed an agreement to purchase Lacroix + Kress GmbH, a leading oxygen-free copper (OFC) drawing manufacturer in Europe, from Mutares SE & Co. KG.
A press release said that the strategic acquisition further solidifies a commitment by Superior Essex to the growing EV market. OFC, it noted, is a key component in electric vehicles (EVs). The deal will allow Superior Essex to create vertically integrated operations in Europe between its magnet wire businesses and a joint manufacturing site in Bramsche, Germany. A second plant in Neunburg vorm Wald, Germany, will also expand the specialty wires offerings. The two plants have approximately 250 employees.
“This is an exciting investment into not only the future but also the present,” said Klaus Borstner, president of Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire Europe, Essex Energy Italy and Global IVA Enamels in Europe and China. He believes the acquisition will create synergy between the plants and more rapidly advancing innovation for the automotive, energy, and industrial industries. “Having the two plants share a location in Bramsche can immediately improve efficiencies, and increase innovation, while the new location in Neunburg vorm Wald allows us to expand our product portfolio. ... We believe that this acquisition will help add value to our existing customers as well as create new opportunities as we honour the existing relationships that originated with Lacroix + Kress.”
The sale of Lacroix + Kress to Superior Essex follows Mutares’ exit strategy to find the best new owner. “We believe that Superior Essex can leverage significant synergies not only due to the already strong business relationship between the two companies but also due to their shared local presence in Central Europe,” said Johannes Laumann, CIO of Mutares SE & Co. KGaA.
Both Superior Essex and Lacroix + Kress were previously affiliated through a European Joint Venture with Nexans in 2005. This acquisition brings the two companies once again under the same ownership. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2023.
Messe Düsseldorf, the world’s largest organizer of trade events for the wire and cable industry, announced a new investment that will see it be active in Turkey as well as an offer for 2024 wire Düsseldorf exhibitors.
A press release said that on May 24-27, 2023, Messe Düsseldorf will hold two new trade fairs—wire Eurasia and Tube Eurasia—for the first time in Istanbul. They will initially be run as an investment business venture during two Turkish trade fairs: Wire Tech Istanbul and Tube + Steel Istanbul. These two events are held by Tüyap Fair Istanbul, a leading Turkish trade fair organizer and venue operator since 1979, at the Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center. From 2025 on, wire and Tube Eurasia will be organized as independent trade fairs at two-year intervals.
By way of this cooperation Tüyap and Messe Düsseldorf strengthen their concentrated expertise in the metal fairs segment. “The expansion of our metal trade fair portfolio towards Turkey is important and necessary to ensure continued growth in the market and to match our exhibitors’ changed needs,” said Daniel Ryfisch, director of Messe Düsseldorf’s wire, Tube and Flow Technologies portfolio. More information will soon be accessible at www.wire-eurasia.com.
Messe Düsseldorf also announced that, for the first time, early-bird discounts will be offered to exhibitors at wire Düsseldorf, to be held April 15-19, 2024. The discount will be available for wire 2024 at www.wire.de/1330 (German link) and www.wire.de/2330 (English link). wire 2022 saw 1,822 exhibitors from 50 countries presented on around 93,000 sq m for the combined wire and tube events.
SMI cancels 2023 event, reports an agreement has been reached with CASMI to combine their events for 2024
The executive committee of the Spring Manufacturers Institute (SMI) announced that it has canceled its Metal Engineering eXpo event, which had been scheduled for Sept. 12-14, 2023, at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A press release said that SMI has entered into an agreement with the Chicago Association of Spring Manufacturers, Inc. (CASMI) to combine their trade shows in 2024. The combined CASMI SpringWorld and the SMI Metal Engineering eXpo will now take place Oct. 2-4, 2024, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The 2024 event will combine the strengths of the two associations into one trade show for the good of the industry where SMI provides technical education and CASMI provides the venue.
“In light of the recent decision to combine the shows, we made the decision for the good of the industry to cancel our show so we can put all our energy and resources toward the event in 2024,” said SMI President Gene Huber, Jr., of Winamac Coil Spring.
SMI had been scheduled to host the next ISO/TC227 meetings on Sept. 14-15, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada, in conjunction with the 2023 Metal Engineering eXpo. SMI will continue to host the meetings with a date and location to be announced soon.
SMI serves as the technical advisory group to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for ISO/TC227. The role of the U.S. delegation is essential to ensure that the interests of American spring manufacturers, designers, and consumers are represented in international standards development.
Exhibitors who reserved space for the eXpo will receive a refund for any payments made.
América Móvil and Telxius announced that they will deploy a new subsea cable linking Guatemala and the United States that will be supplied by ASN.
An announcement said that the cable, named “AMX3” by América Móvil and “Tikal” by Telxius, will be a high-capacity undersea cable that connects Puerto Barrios in Guatemala with Boca Raton in the U.S., with an additional possible landing in Cancun, Mexico. The line will feature an initial estimated capacity of 190Tbps and will serve a key route in the Caribbean with reliability and security, the companies said in a release. It should be operational in 2025.
The supply contract is already in force with ASN and will offer options to increase capacity and to incorporate additional branching units to serve other destinations.
For América Móvil, the project is a new step to build a substantial subsea network in the Americas, delivering a capacity through more than 197,000 km, including the AMX-1 submarine cable that extends 18,300 km and connects the U.S. to Central and South America with 13 landing points.
Taihan announces HVDC advance
South Korea’s Taihan recently announced that it has completed the development of a 500kV LCC (Line Commutated Converter) XLPE HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) land cable system and obtained internationally accredited certification.
A press release said that 500 kV is the highest voltage for deployed LCC XLPE HVDC cable systems. Taihan is the first South Korean company to accomplish KEMA international certification and the second in the world after Japan to complete KEMA internationally accredited certification for 500 kV LCC XLPE HVDC cable.
By obtaining the certification, Taihan is officially recognized for its technology and stability while at the same time securing an opportunity to participate in large-scale projects. This certification has high significance in that the test was conducted by applying technical specifications higher than international standards, so the cable can be immediately used in large-scale HVDC projects scheduled to be conducted in Korea.
Further, Taihan also succeeded in the KEMA international certification test for the VSC (Voltage Source Converter) 500 kV HVDC cable. As a result, Taihan is equipped with technical capabilities for all conversion methods, such as XLPE LCC and VSC, including the 500 kV MI-PPLP HVDC developed in 2017, which allows Taihan to be able to respond to the market actively.
“It is very encouraging that Taihan has been recognised for its HVDC technology through international certification at a time when the global demand for long-distance transmission and the spread of new and renewable energy sources are becoming active,” said Taihan President
Na Hyeong-gyun. “We will actively seek business
opportunities in projects that are in full swing in Europe and the United States, etc., as well as participating in large-scale HVDC projects scheduled to be carried out
I wanted to share my thoughts in regards to the technical status of the wire and cable industry. As you might have guessed, I’m concerned, although the picture is not bleak. I was pleased to read about global R&D activity by the industry in the November 2022 issue of Wire Journal. Yet as an active consultant since 2005, I look at the overall industry and I see problems.
It’s not surprising that my activity has almost shut down completely since the onset of the Covid pandemic. I haven’t lost my desire or ability to travel, but overall, personnel are traveling to and from plants less. I may not be physically at plants, but I keep in touch with people, and I hear that many of these plants have the same processing and quality issues that occurred just a few years ago. It’s easy to cite Covid, but I believe what is going on predates that: many companies just do not have personnel with sufficient tenure or knowledge to solve these issues.
It appears that, outside of companies like Southwire and Prysmian, relatively few people with a STEM background are now employed in the wire and cable industry. I’m convinced that the percentage of employees at most wire and cable companies with a solid knowledge base has continued to decrease, and it only gets worse as more veteran employees retire. At the same time, more technical or R&D corporate facilities have either been reduced in size or even eliminated to cut overall costs. You don’t have to have a PhD to know that that is a bad combination. The result is that there are far more common production problems, such as wire breaks, excessive amounts of wire drawing fines, poor surface finish, and internal defects within castings and wires. The origin for those are well understood. They shouldn’t be happening, but they do.
There’s another contributing factor, and it’s related to hiring. Companies may be able to hire young people to fill key positions, such as engineers, but often they leave after just a few years of service because they can get higher salaries in other fields. It makes it hard to groom someone to get beyond the early stages where they are learning to be the ones who can be depended on.
Consequently, many plants in our industry do not have employees with a strong enough background to help solve the aforementioned quality issues. Although global in nature, this problem seems to be worse in North America. And I’m sorry to add to my list of perceived woes, but I think another trend that overall has made things worse is that many face-to-face conferences and meetings for technological societies have been replaced with virtual activities. There is less interaction, and while the virtual sessions may be easier to attend, the learning experience just does not have the same sense of depth. Finally, I see fewer technical articles being prepared and presented because many companies see little benefit.
So what does all of this mean? My above comments could be seen as what today is called a “soft quit” or “quit quitting.” Per Google, “Employee disengagement occurs when an employee backs off from their typical or expected levels of productivity. They quit going above and beyond in their role. Instead, many employees are prioritizing a better work-life balance by refusing to do extra work beyond their defined job descriptions.”
Albert Einstein once said, “The source of knowledge is experience.” When young employees are already more inclined to not stay in the same job—any job—for a long time, the industry needs to find a way of making the field a place where it can foster growth to that level.
IEWC Receives "2023 Top Workplaces USA” Award
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – IEWC has been named a “2023 Top Workplaces USA” award-winner. This is the second consecutive year that IEWC has been recognized with the Top Workplaces honor. In 2022, IEWC received its first Top Workplaces award as a regional winner. For 2023, IEWC has been recognized as a national winner.
The Top Workplaces honors are awarded by Energage, a company that specializes in surveying employee engagement. The awards are given to those companies that demonstrate “exceptional workplace cultures.” The global survey allows US-based companies to measure their performance against other companies, and awards are given for regional, national, and market-specific categories.
IEWC performs this annual survey for its 600+ global employees, measuring employee engagement and assessing various aspects of IEWC’s culture. The employee feedback is used to identify and ultimately address areas where IEWC can continue to improve as a company. It’s that commitment to continuous improvement which allows IEWC to build upon its successful culture.
“The fact that we are being recognized in two consecutive years, and that we’re being recognized on a national level, is something all of us at IEWC can be very proud of,” said Brian Hinton, Chief Human Resources Officer at IEWC. “Our wonderful culture is built on a foundation of strong values, none of which is possible without an incredibly engaged workforce. The IEWC team is thrilled to be recognized once again as a “Top Workplaces” winner.
“The companies recognized as Top Workplaces have high performance, people-first cultures,” said Greg Barnett, Ph.D., Chief People Scientist at Energage. “These companies are successful because they put their people at the center of all they do. By prioritizing the employee experience, they are known to out-produce, out-innovate, and out-deliver the competition.”
About IEWC - (www.iewc.com)
IEWC is a global distributor of wire and cable products, manufacturer of custom fiber assemblies, and provider of value-add solutions that advance a connected world. As a partner to thousands of companies in a wide array of manufacturing and infrastructure industries, IEWC has been an entrusted partner supporting customer supply chain, logistics and product quality initiatives for 60 years. IEWC is an employee-owned company with nearly 30 locations in seven countries, serving customers in almost 100 countries. Having grown organically and through acquisition during its 60-year history, today IEWC spans the globe with divisions in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe (under the Premier Cables brand) and serves the telecommunications industry under the Cablcon brand.