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Industry News (177)

The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund, known as OYAK, has entered a deal through its Ataer Holding subsidiary, to acquire British Steel by the end of the year.

Per multiple media reports, OYAK signed an exclusive agreement on Aug. 16 to buy British Steel, which has some 5,000 employees and represents about a third of the U.K.’s steel production. The company's product lines include wire rod. The price was not disclosed, but several reports cited a figure of £70 million.

British Steel has operations in the U.K. that include the Scunthorpe steel works where 3,000 people work, and it employs another 800 in Teesside. Per a BBC report, those sites "are a major strategic asset to our country," said Gareth Stace, general secretary of UK Steel, a trade association.

The government’s Official Receiver said several bids had been received, and described the one from Ataer, Oyak’s investment arm, as its "preferred buyer," the BBC report said. It cited the Official Receiver as saying that, "I am pleased to say I have now received an acceptable offer from Ataer. ... I will be looking to conclude this process in the coming weeks, during which time British Steel continues to trade and supply its customers as normal."

Ataer owns nearly 50% of Erdemir, Turkey’s biggest steel producer, which employs 11,530 people.

Per a report in The Guardian, Oyak has told the U.K. government that "it wants to inject £900 million into the Scunthorpe steelworks to more than double its output."

A Platt report cited the following comments. "We, as OYAK, Turkey’s largest professional pension fund, believe in the importance of merging world league players into our group," said OYAK General Manager Süleyman Savas Erdem." Accordingly, we have achieved one of the biggest achievements of the Turkish steel industry and signed a preliminary agreement to buy the industrial giant of UK, British Steel. We will continue to evaluate opportunities globally inline with our growth-oriented vision and we will continue our investments to provide sustainable high benefit to our members.

Times Microwave Systems (TMS) has completed a major expansion of its operations in Mesa, Arizona, moving from a smaller plant to a new one that has 62,000 sq ft of space.

A press release said that investing in the larger facility was part of the company’s plan to support growth initiatives and more closely service key customers in the western U.S. Production is up and running, with a current staff of 65, and plans to hire an additional 95 employees over the next few years. TMS, a business of Amphenol, is in the same industrial park as other Amphenol companies. The inauguration was celebrated at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city, state and company leaders.

TMS General Manager Bill Callahan said that the new operation was a step forward for the company. “It creates a manufacturing center of excellence in the Western U.S. that complements our Connecticut and Florida facilities, allowing us to more effectively service our customers coast to coast. This investment delivers increased capacity, additional capabilities and provides a risk mitigation measure to ensure uninterrupted manufacturing of our products.”

Nexans, a leader in advanced cabling systems, solutions and services, has completed the final test to qualify its state-of-the-art 420 kV XLPE subsea cable for installation at a world-record depth of 550 meters (1,804 ft).

A press release said that the cable testing, carried out by Nexans Norway, was done to meet a specific customer need. The cable is to be used for a project that requires a subsea power interconnector crossing Fensfjorden—a fjord close to Bergen in Norway—which is approximately eight km wide and 526 meters at its deepest point.

The Fensfjorden project is part of a broader plan by BKK Nett AS, one of Norway’s largest power companies, to strengthen the electrical grid in Western Norway. That plan includes a new 420-kV connection between Modalen-Mongstad that will ensure a stable and reliable power supply to over 420,000 residents, businesses and industry facilities throughout the region.

“We have every reason to be proud of what we have accomplished,” declared Nexans Project Manager Ivar Rolfstad. “We have pushed the technological boundaries and (beaten) our own previous world records!”

The new record tops the prior one that had been set by Nexans, for a 20-km 420 kV XLPE cable that was installed in water that was 390 meters deep in the fjord of Hjeltefjorden, Norway.

Nexans developed and produced the Fensfjorden cable at Nexans Norway facility in Halden. Installation on the bed of the fjord will be performed by a Nexans cable-laying vessel, the C/S Nexans Skagerrak, later in 2019, the release said.

 

Hubbell, which is based in Connecticut, announced that it will close two plants in the state over the next five to six months, and move that production to other locations.

A statement from the company said that it plans to close its plants in Newtown and Bethel, which would result in 194 jobs being cut. Per an article in The Newtown Bee, the Newtown location, which opened in 1960, “currently houses commercial and industrial wiring device manufacturing,” with about 140 employees there. The Bethel facility employs 54 people, according to a notice filed with the Department of Labor. Most of the work will move to a larger Hubbell facility in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. Most of the work at the Bethel plant, which Hubbell acquired in 2009, will move to another company plant in Alabama.

Per the article, Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said that he was told by a company official that the Newtown facility was in good condition, but that it was only operating at about 40% of capacity, manufacturing the exact same product line that was also being made at the Puerto Rico plant. He added that the same situation existed for the Bethel plant.

A company statement said that the closure of the Newtown and Bethel plants are “part of an ongoing operational efficiency initiative that involves Hubbell operations across the company.” In the article, officials for Hubbell, which is based in Shelton, Connecticut, note that the company still has 650 jobs in the state. Hubbell has offices and plant locations across the U.S. and globe, including Puerto Rico, China, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.

NKT announced that it has won a contract from Energinet and National Grid to supply power cable for the Viking Link interconnector project that will connect Danish and British transmission grids.

A press release said that the order from the owners of Viking Link, worth approximately €90 million, will see NKT provide approximately 150 km of 525 kV MI high-voltage DC onshore power cables. The NKT power cables will be manufactured in Karlskrona, Sweden, with production expected to start in 2020. The power cable will run from the Denmark shore to the power grid substation in Revsing, southern Jutland.

NKT Interim CEO Roland Andersen said that the Viking Link is a key project for the North-European transformation towards renewable energy supplies. "The award is a recognition of our technological competences also in the growing extra high-voltage interconnector segment from Energinet and National Grid."

The release said that when completed, the760-km long DC interconnector line will help balance wind production and demand across countries, and closer integration between transmission grids is important for the efficient transition towards a green energy future. Implementation of Viking Link is a vital step towards achieving ambitious renewable targets in both Denmark and the U.K. The interconnector line is scheduled for commissioning in 2023.

The Prysmian Group, a world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, has been awarded a contract from National Grid Viking Link Limited and Energinet to supply the majority of the power cable that will be needed for Viking Link, the first submarine cable connection between the U.K. and Denmark.

A press release said that the contract for Prysmian, worth close to €700 million, includes the turn-key design, manufacture and installation of the world’s longest interconnector. The project will require 1,250 km cable for the submarine route, and some 135 km of the land cables for the U.K. side. A separate related award for land cables was issued to NKT.

The High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector will operate at ± 525 kV DC. It will allow up to 1,400 MW of power to be transferred between the two countries, passing through U.K., Dutch, German and Danish waters, using single-core, mass-impregnated paper-insulated cables. The system will connect the converter station located at Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire, U.K., to the converter station located at Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark.

"This project further confirms our undisputed market and technology leadership," said Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects, Prysmian Group.

Prysmian plans to manufacture all cables for the project at its operations in Arco Felice, Italy, with the offshore cable operations to be carried out by its new installation vessel. Jointly owned by Energinet and National Grid, the Viking Link interconnector project is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2023.

"We are proud to have the opportunity to support two of our most important customers, National Grid and Energinet, in the development of such a strategic infrastructure, which will represent a milestone for the upgrade of the entire EU power transmission grid," said Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista.

Germany’s Leoni announced that it is considering plans to either sell or float a stock market listing for its Wire and Cables Solutions (WCS) business, based on a broad review of the company’s group structure, and a decision to focus on its Wiring Systems Division (WSD).

A press release said that the company had considered the optimal future ownership structure of both the WCS and its Wiring Systems Division (WSD) to determine how both divisions could achieve their full potential.

The WCS serves a wide range of growing end markets, such as healthcare, factory automation, transportation and automotive. The release noted that with its LEONiQ technology, "WCS is well positioned to become the front runner for intelligent cable solutions."

The WSD, which supplies engineered cables and interconnect solutions, and is anchored by the automotive field, "is on the way to sell not only products, but increasingly provide services in engineering, architectural design and simulation," the release said.

Leoni’s Board of Directors found very limited synergies between both divisions, and intends to increase their operational independence, the release said. In this context, corporate support functions will transfer from the holding company to the divisions.

"We believe that both divisions will benefit from a separation," said Leoni Chief Executive Aldo Kamper. "This creates two clearly focused businesses, whose individual market and technological developments as well as investments can be better and more quickly implemented."

The decision to separate WCS from the group and focus resources on WSD will strengthen our ability to further strategically develop this business, Kamper said. "This would create two clearly focused businesses, whose  individual market and technological developments as well as investments can be better and more quickly
implemented."

With its focus on WSD, Leoni expects to be in a better position to focus on operational improvements and continue to build on its leading position in automotive wiring systems. It could concentrate its resources on being a global solutions provider for the automotive sector while seeking emerging opportunities on the energy and data side. With its WSD becoming a systems supplier and development partner to its customers, Leoni is on the way to sell not only products, but increasingly provide services in engineering, architectural design and simulation.

Bruno Fankhauser, a member of the Board of Directors of Leoni with responsibility for the WCS division, agreed that the split made sense. "We have shown strong growth in recent years and have maintained a leading position as a provider of intelligent cable solutions and services. With today’s decision, we want to put the WCS division in a position to realize its full potential more quickly with a different ownership structure."

While either a sale or stock market exit is envisioned, a partial sale is also possible, the release said. "To date, no final decision has been taken in this regard. However, following a potential separation, Leoni’s primary focus would be on the development of its WSD division. To this end, Leoni has begun to mandate respective advisors."

The company notes that implementation of its VALUE 21 program is on track to achieve sustainable gross cost savings targets of €500 million per year by 2022, with 75% of the savings expected to be realized in WSD.

Mathiasen Machinery, Inc. (MMI), announced that it has entered into an agreement to represent technology offered by Austria’s Wire and Cable Machinery GmbH (WiCa) in the Americas.

A press release said that MMI, based in East Haddam, Connecticut, and run by brothers Mike and Mark Mathiasen, will market and sell wire fabrication and extrusion equipment from WiCa, which is based in Punitz, Austria, to market and sell its wire fabrication and extrusion products in North, Central and South America.

WiCa manufactures wire and cable machinery that includes high-speed stranding machines, payoffs and take-ups, capstans and extrusion lines/sheathing lines. It also offers custom-made equipment for SZ-stranding, tubular stranding, and steel bow stranding, among other lines.

The release said that WiCa’s technology is designed to provide customers technology that offers precision, efficiency, safety and reliability. For more details, go online to www.mathiasen-machinery.com to access a 32-page catalog of WiCa’s full product line, or contact Mark Mathiasen.

Outside the U.S., contact Deutsch Christoph or Gassler Christian via www.wica.at.

Earlier this year, the Carbon Trust picked five winners of a dynamic export cable competition within its Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (Floating Wind JIP).

A press release said that the successful companies were Norway’s Aker Solutions, Japan’s Furukawa Electric, Greece’s Hellenic Cables, JDR Cable Systems in the U.K. and Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable in China. The goal is to draw on the expertise of existing offshore wind cable suppliers and the oil and gas supply chain to "support the design, initial testing and development of dynamic cables ranging from 130 kV to 250 kV to enable the efficient transmission of power from floating wind turbines to shore."

The results of the first phase of the project, which will conclude in March 2020, could help to "inform subsequent project phases to support the deployment of dynamic export cables across the industry," the release said.

"The lack of dynamic export cables has been identified as a hurdle that needs to be overcome by industry to ensure the commercialization of floating wind farms, and we are excited to begin work to ensure that this technology is ready in time for commercial floating wind projects," said Carbon Trust offshore wind manager Rory Shanahan. "We are delighted with the response we got from the industry and we are looking forward to working with the five competition winners."

BPP Cables is supporting the competition, which aims to ensure that this necessary technology is a viable option for developers for commercial floating wind projects within the next five to 10 years.

At its website, the U.K.-based organization describes Carbon Trust as "an independent, expert partner of leading organizations around the world, helping them contribute to and benefit from a more sustainable future through carbon reduction, resource efficiency strategies and commercializing low carbon technologies."

In 2017, the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) initiative "launched a new global innovation competition to find and fund the development of innovative solutions to a challenge facing the offshore wind farm industry today: how to monitor the condition of subsea cables to ensure that they are not damaged during the load out and installation process. The competition seeks to identify and support the development of novel condition monitoring systems for subsea cables. "Looking at £213 million in insurance losses from 28 UK offshore wind claims between 2002 and 2015, 68% were directly due to cable faults occurring predominately during the construction phase."

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.

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