The details at this point are sparse, but the EU has approved €578 million in funding for a power cable that will cross the Bay of Biscay, connecting Spain and France, a distance of some run for 230 miles.
A report in Spain’s Olive Press said that the power cable to carry renewable energy is needed to ease one of Europe’s worst network bottlenecks. The contract, described as the highest ever, will transmit excess renewable energy between the two countries. The goal is to double current power capacity to 5,000 megawatts.
“Only a fully interconnected market will improve Europe’s security of supply, ending the dependence of single suppliers, and give consumers more choice,” said Europe Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, who was cited in the report. In it, he said that the project would “end the isolation of the Iberian Peninsula and boost interconnectivity between the bloc. “Only a fully interconnected market will improve Europe’s security of supply, ending the dependence of single suppliers, and give consumers more choice.”
The EU hopes the link will stave off dependency on Russian oil, increase renewable energy output and help meet climate goals.
Chase Corporation announced that it has acquired Stewart Superabsorbents (SSA), LLC, an advanced superabsorbent polymer (SAP) formulator and solutions provider, with operations located in Hickory and McLeansville, North Carolina.
A press release said that for its most recently completed calendar year, SSA and its recently acquired Zappa-Tec business (collectively “Zappa Stewart”) had combined revenue in excess of $24 million. Zappa Stewart’s products include materials for diverse markets that include wire and cable, for which it provides direct application of swellable powder, liquid, or hot melt adhesives for substrates such as non-wovens, yarns, strength members and shielding tapes.
The business, the release said, was acquired for $71,382,000, net of cash acquired, pending any working capital adjustments and excluding acquisition-related costs. As part of the deal, Chase acquired the business equity and entered into multiyear leases at both locations.
“This is a highly complementary acquisition for Chase Corporation which leverages our existing channels to industrial markets and allows us to deliver more value to our customers,” said Chase President and CEO Adam P. Chase. “Zappa Stewart’s proven protective materials technology is a great fit with our core strategy and extends our reach into growing medical and consumer applications. Their North Carolina operations will broaden our capabilities, and will add two facilities near the three we already have in the region. The new technologies and additional management talent will enhance our cross-functional operating model, creating logical synergies and value-creation opportunities.”
Chase Corporation will continue to manufacture and market under the Zappa Stewart brands and locations, with plans to integrate Zappa Stewart into its ERP platform in the coming months to further enhance existing operational, development and engineering expertise.
U.S.-based Banker Wire, reports that it has bought property just two miles from its current location in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, where it will build a new, larger plant.
A press release said that the company, which manufactures woven and welded wire mesh for architectural and industrial applications, had to take action for its future. “As we’ve grown and evolved, we reached a point where we had to decide whether we should add on to our current facility or build a new one,” said Banker Wire President Dave Stout. “In the end, we decided to push forward into a new facility. My goal is to build the best, most efficient wire mesh manufacturing location in the world.”
Stout said that the company has gone this route before. In 2009, after acquiring a new building and 20 acres of land, Banker Wire relocated from Muskego to its present location in Mukwonago. In 2012, the company added a 50,000-sq-ft addition that expanded the facility to a total of 152,000 sq ft. The new site, which will be 182,000 sq ft, “will give us the opportunity to gain efficiency and tailor the overall layout in a way that will enhance the work environment for our employees,” he said.
Banker Wire notes that the company has an extensive history in the greater Milwaukee area. Established by Charles Banker in 1896 as C.I. Banker Wire & Iron Works, the company flourished in Milwaukee as one of many by the mid 1970s, it transitioned from a reselling operation to a manufacturer. Today, it supplies pre-crimped woven or welded wire mesh. The new location will include a new wire mesh welder that it said “will be the widest wire mesh machine in the United States.”
Banker Wire, which has 135 employees, plans to hire more staff with the addition of the new welder. The new facility is expected to be fully operational by March 2019.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced that it is investigating claims that Mexico’s Deacero S.A.P.I. de C.V. (Deacero) is shipping narrow gauge wire rod to the U.S. to circumvent an existing antidumping duty (AD) order on carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod.
Per a report in the Federal Register, on Oct. 27, 2017, Nucor claimed that Deaceri was shipping wire rod less than 4.45 mm in diameter to avoid existing orders. “After analyzing the information in the Circumvention Allegation and Supplemental Circumvention Allegation, we determine that Nucor has satisfied the criteria listed above to warrant an initiation of a formal anti-circumvention inquiry,” it said. In 2012 ruling, the Department found that wire rod (4.75 mm to 5.00 mm) produced in Mexico and exported to the U.S. by Deacero did circumventing an existing AD order on wire rod from Mexico.
In another report, Nucor was cited as saying that that Deacero was “engaging in gamesmanship, altering its wire rod in minor respects by further reducing the diameter of its wire rod by a mere 0.35 mm solely to circumvent the (AD) Order.” Nucor further asserts that Commerce should “find that all wire rod regardless of minimum diameter that otherwise satisfies the scope definition of wire rod and produced by Deacero is . . . subject to the Order.”
An epic Canadian project that took nearly four years of engineering, manufacturing, installation and testing has been completed, and Nexans reports that it has completed its contract to supply the longest submarine power cables in North America.
A press release said that the two 200 kV mass impregnated (MI) HVDC cables, each 170-km long and weighing approximately 5,500 tons, are part of the Maritime Link Project conducted by NSP Maritime Link Inc. (NSPML), an indirect subsidiary of Emera Inc. The 175 million euro contract also includes some 50 km of overland transmission cables in Nova Scotia and close to another 300 km cables of overland transmission on the island of Newfoundland. The cables were manufactured at Nexans’ factories in Halden, Norway, and in Futtsu, Japan.
Nexans installed the submarine cables in the Cabot Strait to a depth of approximately 470 meters, protecting them on the seabed and electrically interconnecting the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time. The final high-voltage tests were successfully conducted on the link in September 2017.
“We are thrilled to be part of this exciting project and we are happy to have completed the installation of these two submarine cables, the longest in Northern America, after almost 600,000 hours of designing, manufacturing and laying works,” said Nexans Project Manager Geir Korstad. “This success is undoubtedly the result of hard work and dedication of our highly-competent Nexans teams as well as the seamless cooperation with NSPML and our partners.”
The release described the Maritime Link Project as a new 500 MW (+/- 200 kV) HVDC interconnection that consists of converter stations and associated high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) switchyards as well as two HVDC transmission lines, a 230 kV HVAC transmission line, and associated infrastructure. The Maritime Link Project began in 2011. The project, it said, is part of efforts for Canada, which gets two-thirds of its electricity from renewable resources, to reduce its coal emissions by 50% by 2030. It will also enable Nova Scotia to meet regulations requiring 40% renewable energy by 2020.
TE SubCom and the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) announced that a new submarine cable depot will be built in the Port of Apia, Samoa to service and maintain more than 20 cable systems in the South Pacific region.
In 2017, TE SubCom was awarded the South Pacific Marine Maintenance Agreement (SPMMA), a five-year service agreement between it and 15 cable operators in the region, a press release said. The new depot, to be owned by TE SubCom, will help the company “support and maintain the more than 51,000 km of telecom and power cable systems in the area, as well as support regional installation activities. The SPMMA area covers the South Pacific region from Singapore in the west to Tahiti in the east and from the southernmost point of New Zealand to Hawaii in the north.
The Prysmian Group announced that it has been awarded a contract worth approximately €40 million for a new submarine cable connection between the isle of Capri and Sorrento (Naples) from an Italian transmission system operator.
A press release said that the contract, from Rete Italia SpA, a business of Terna SpA, calls for the turn-key installation of an HVAC 150 kV power cable link between the power stations located in Sorrento and on Capri’s Gasto ecological island, following a 16-km submarine and 3-km land route. The Capri-Sorrento cables will be manufactured at Prysmian’s plant in Arco Felice (Naples), with cable laying done by the Prysmian vessel, "Cable Enterprise." Prysmian will provide all the related network components and required specialist civil engineering works.
The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, follows a prior related contract from Terna, the release said. In 2013, Prysmian was chosen to be cable supplier for the Capri-Torre Annunziata project, a HVAC 150 kV submarine cable connection between Capri and the mainland that was approximately 31 km in length.
"It is a source of great satisfaction and pride to be involved in the creation of infrastructure of such strategic importance and prestige for Italy," said Massimo Battaini, senior vice president of energy projects for the Prysmian Group. The second power link will complete the Capri connection ring, increasing the efficiency and reliability of the island’s power system.
The Prysmian Group notes that it has completed a number of important infrastructure projects in the Mediterranean Basin, such as the SA.PE.I. connections (Sardinia-Italian mainland), Sorgente-Rizziconi (Sicily-Calabria), and Capri-Torre Annunziata in Italy; Spain-Morocco, Iberian Peninsula-Mallorca, Mallorca-Ibiza in Spain; and the recently completed longest connection of the Cyclades submarine ring in Greece.
Brazil’s Gerdau S.A. has agreed to sell Optimus Steel LLC its wire rod mill in Texas, and two downstream facilities, for $92.50 million.
A press release said that the deal will include Gerdau’s wire rod mill in Beaumont. The mill has a melt shop capacity of approximately 700,000 tons, and is capable of producing both wire rod and coiled rebar. The sale also includes two downstream facilities: Beaumont Wire Products and Carrollton Wire Products. Beaumont Wire Products. The former was described as a wire mesh mill and the latter as a supplier of industrial wire into the greater U.S. southern region.
The news follow a previous announcement by Gerdau of the sale of four rebar mills and nearly three dozen downstream facilities to Commercial Metals Company for US$600 million. Once the two separate deals close, Gerdau, which was part of a recent trade case seeking to limit the in-flow of low-cost imported wire rod, will be out of that sector.
Gerdau Chief Executive Gustavo Werneck said that the company will “focus on more value-added products.” It will continue to have a considerable presence in North America, with 18 facilities, 15 in the U.S. and three in Canada that produce merchant steel, structural steel and some rebar.
Nexans announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in BE CableCon, a Danish company that supplies cable kits to wind turbine companies.
A press release said that the investment is part of Nexans’ strategy to reinforce the company’s portfolio of activities beyond cable manufacturing and accelerate growth in the renewable energy sector. BE CableCon designs, engineers and manufactures kits that enable wind turbine companies to simplify the installation of the power, control and communication cable systems in towers and nacelles. It offers low and medium voltage applications including connectors, pre-connected and pre-assembled cable kits and customized packing for complete ready-to-install kits.
“We have developed an excellent working relationship with BE CableCon as a subcontractor for our own kitting projects,” said Alain Robic, Nexans vice president industry solutions and projects. “Bringing them into the Nexans Group is a key step in our strategy to take greater control of critical elements within the value chain so that we can offer customers a complete engineered connection system.”
BE CableCon chief executive Klaus Moller will head the Nexans cable kit subsidiary company
Corning Incorporated announced that the company has officially opened a new cable manufacturing facility in Newton, North Carolina, as part of the company’s expansion plans to meet growing worldwide demand for its optical fiber and cable.
A press release said that the facility, which will employ more than 200 people, is part of Corning’s previously announced plan to invest more than $250 million in its optical fiber, cable, and solutions manufacturing facilities. In North Carolina, Corning is expanding its fiber manufacturing facility near Concord and its cable facilities in Winston-Salem and Hickory, in addition to opening the Newton plant.
“Network operators around the world are challenged to meet exploding demand for high-speed connectivity and data storage,” said Clark S. Kinlin, executive vice president, Corning Optical Communications. “We are adding this cable capacity to help ensure reliable supply of the world’s highest performing optical cable in a growing market. This world-class facility was commissioned in record time, a feat that would not have been possible without our long-serving Catawba County employees, or the support of state and local leaders here in North Carolina.”
Xtera®, a U.S. provider of subsea fiber optic solutions, reports that it has been selected as the supplier of the ARBR submarine fiber optic cable system being developed jointly by Seaborn Networks and the Werthein Group.
A press release said that the 2,700 km open system, 4-fiber pair, 48Tbps, direct PoP-to-PoP subsea cable will connect Argentina and Brazil. The ARBR subsea cable system will allow for direct onward connectivity to New York, via the Seabras-1 system, thereby providing a lower latency route between the commercial and financial centers of Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and New York. The ARBR cable is fully funded. It said.
“This award further consolidates Xtera's position as a strong player in the regional submarine market segment and is a significant endorsement of Xtera's differentiated product offering," said Xtera Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer Stuart Barnes. "Our four pillars of product and service offerings encompass subsea systems technologies, wet and dry upgrades, IP licensing, and OEM / specialist units to selected markets."
The company notes that it offers un-repeatered and repeatered subsea connectivity, using the highest bandwidth undersea amplifiers for up to 40 Terabits on a single fiber pair.
The Prysmian Group announced that it has been awarded a contract by Cobra Wind International Ltd. to provide the cable system to connect the Kincardine Floating Offshore Wind Farm to mainland U.K.
A press release said that the order, Prysmian’s first cable project for a floating offshore wind farm, calls for the design and supply of two export cables as well as inter-array cables and associated accessories to connect the turbines. The Kincardine Wind Farm, is some 15 km southeast of Aberdeen, to the Scottish mainland power grid.
Each of the continuous export cables will serve the 17 km route, using a static cable design combined with a 0.5 km dynamic cable route section to complete the connection to the floating turbine tower. The 33 kV three-core submarine cable will use EPR insulation system, with the static section length finished with single wire armoring, while the dynamic section will employ a double-wire armored design. The submarine cables will be produced at the Group plants in Vilanova, Spain, and Drammen, Norway. Installation is planned during 2018 and 2019.
The Kincardine project is planned to be built in two stages. A single turbine 2 MW first phase is scheduled to be installed this year, followed by a six-turbine second phase with hardware of up to 8.4 MW each. The first phase will consist of a Vestas V80 2 MW machine with a 106-meter tip height and 80-meter rotor diameter.
Germany’s SIKORA AG has started construction of the company’s new production building in Bremen-Mahndorf, with its executive board laying the foundation stone on Dec. 12, 2017, at a ceremony attended by both staff and business partners.
A press release said that the new building includes 7,000 sq m of space for production and logistics, more than triple the capacity of the building it replaces. "The expansion at the production location Bremen is a strategic future investment," said company CEO Dr. Christian Frank, who explained that it will further SIKORA’s goals in further growth and global competitiveness.
The building, scheduled to be completed by November, is being erected on the site of the old production building, which had been demolished. Production had been moved to a building 400 m away in order to maintain short ways to the management, administration and development team. Once completed, the new site—which meshes with two existing buildings—will integrate lean production concepts for an efficient production and have a contemporary design concept, with areas for communication and creativity. The four floors offer more space for efficient production and logistics as well as perfect conditions for communication, creativity and innovation.
A key driver for the project has been the expansion of SIKORA’s scope in measuring and testing, sporting and inspection equipment for wire and cable, optical fiber, hose and tube and plastics, Frank said. As the product portfolios increased, "we reached the limits of our capacity with the existing building," he said, noting that the new building will offer 350% more space.
Equally important is that the building design will integrate modern lean production concepts. An intensive planning phase was implemented to optimize the different processes, from material flows to production to shipping. "The result is a more efficient and innovative production to ensure highest product quality as well as delivery reliability," Frank said. He added that SIKORA has been expanding its workforce, and the new site helps attract qualified employees.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs has signed a deal with the Vocus Group for the initial stages of a new undersea cable system between the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia, displacing Huawei, which had been originally chosen but resulted in concerns over security matters.
Per multiple media reports, a statement from the Vocus Group—which did not mention Huawei—said that the agreement is a $2.8 million deal for conducting a scoping study for the design, construction and procurement of the submarine cable system, the first step of the project. Vocus designed and developed the North-West Cable System and the Australia-Singapore Cable, the latter project was still under construction while the former project was up and running.
As previously reported in WJI, the Solomon Islands and China’s Huawei announced last year that they had signed a contract for the prosubsea ject. That news was not well received as Huawei had been banned from tendering for the National Broadband Network in 2012 because of security concerns. In Australia, nearly six years ago, Huawei was denied any role in supplying equipment to the country’s national broadband network project, following advice by ASIS, one of Australia’s spy agencies.