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The Basics

The essential information on facts, stories, and principles in the wire and cable industry.

Wire Reel Moving Devices: A Proactive Approach to Safety that Improves Productivity and Profitability

Sponsored by PowerPusher

Super PowerPusher with reel attachment.

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.

Please visit our site to see the Compact Walk-Behind Electric Pushers & Tugs for Any Application.

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/.

Last modified on February 13, 2023

Dr. Horace Pops, an industry guru/presenter on the causes of wire breaks and fines, has continued to share his expertise as a consultant. The Past WAI President (1992-93) believes the industry has not fared well the last few years, and that there is more than one reason why. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

Editor’s Note:
This occasional section will present information and perspectives in multiple fields by experts from the industry, think-tanks, associations, academia and other sources that provide thoughtful “big picture” analysis. Have an issue you’d like to discuss? Send the details to WJI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last modified on February 6, 2023

This occasional section has shared information from very smart people on cutting-edge technology, only a changing industry has different needs. And one is that more people come to a company knowing next to nothing about a given field. That’s why the best help one can provide them is not articles about advanced techniques but basic—really basic— information.

And that is what ‘Got Grooves?’ by industry veteran Eugene Klein Sr., president of Parkway-Kew, does for the realm of capstans and drawing blocks. It will not turn new employees into industry gurus, but it will make them feel more comfortable when there is a discussion. In surprisingly few pages, he answers a range of potential steel process woe questions.

• What are grooves and how are they formed?
• How do grooves cause process problems?
• Why are grooves worse for high-carbon steel?
• If slip causes grooves, why is some needed?
• Can grooves be avoided?
• What are cold starts, short holing and block swapping?

Klein, who has previously written columns for WJI, also discusses treatment of blocks, the value of having spare blocks and resurfacing blocks. He also shares his thoughts, among others, about goodwill inside a plant, matching equipment to a product line and why a bottom-line focus can be short-sighted.

More importantly, this publication, which is small in terms of page numbers, will be appreciated by a new employee as it is the easiest of reads. In less than 20 minutes, the reader will have some basic knowledge, which is a good starting point. Further such publications are planned.

To obtain a copy, contact Michael J. Hoffarth, vice president of business development, Parkway Kew, tel. 701-306-5160, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For technical questions, readers can contact Eugene Klein Sr., at tel. 743-398-2100, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3 bonus tips from past columns by Eugene Klein Sr. for WJI 

1. On a continuous machine, if the wiredrawing blocks are not filled with wire wraps for 66% to 75% of the face of the block, you are creating excessive slip and experiencing inferior line speeds. You may hear excuses that you have to do it that way, but the reality is the taper can be adjusted to eliminate this problem and to maximize production and minimize wear.

2. Water cooling is increasingly important as the carbon level of the wire is increased. Extraordinary production increases can be realized with higher carbon wires by making sure the interior water cooling is working properly. The use of an inexpensive infrared heat gun is invaluable in spotting problems.

3. Larger bundles can be realized on bull blocks by adding a step to the contour. If a step is already present, it can be enlarged. Grind the step angle on a 15-degree ramp so the wires do not overlap. Also, if necessary, increase the taper slightly after the step.

Editor’s Note:
This occasional section is meant to be a place where a company can discuss its technology in more detail than possible in the Products section yet not be a technical paper that has to go through the presentation process. Submissions can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last modified on September 2, 2022

7/2/2022 - In 2018, plans were announced for a new fiber-optic cable system from Montréal to Toronto that would include a submarine segment through Lake Ontario between Kingston and downtown Toronto. Per a report at www.subtelforum.com, those plans changed. Below are excerpts from that article about why that happened.

Announced in 2018 as a venture between Metro Optic and Crosslake Fibre along with Utilities Kingston, the Maple Leaf Fibre cable system was to have a terrestrial segment between Montréal, Ottawa, and Kingston, and a submarine segment through Lake Ontario between Kingston and downtown Toronto.

Per a report in Capacity, However, a shortage of cable-laying vessels has led to a change of plans, and now the entire cable system will be terrestrial, running from Toronto via Kingston to Montréal. Crosslake CCO Fergus Innes explained, “Vessel availability [is] one of the reasons we have pivoted from a subsea design to a full terrestrial build on our Maple Leaf Fibre project.”

Earlier this year, the companies were still planning to install the Toronto-Kingston section of the Maple Leaf Fibre on the bed of Lake Ontario. In 2019, Crosslake Fibre laid a cable between Toronto and New York. The cable ship C.S. IT Intrepid had to sail through St. Lawrence Seaway and a series of locks from the Atlantic Ocean to the lake.

The cable lands at Equiix TR2 at 45 Parliament Street and the 151 Front Street West carrier hotel in Toronto, running to Equinix NY4 in Secaucus, New Jersey with an interconnect in Buffalo, New York. It is currently the only cable running under Lake Ontario, and no other cables run under any of the other Great Lakes.

According to the ISCPC, there are around 60 cable ships in the world. According to SubTel Forum’s 2021/2022 Annual Industry Report, no new-build cable ships were delivered between 2004 and 2010 after a glut of investment around the turn of the millennium. Only five ships were delivered between 2011 and 2020.

The report notes that new ships aren’t being added at the same rate older ships are being retired. Only eight ships are younger than 18, with most between 20 and 30 years old. 19 are over 30 years old, and one is over 50.

Last modified on July 2, 2022

6/2/2022 - Stories about installed or stored copper being stolen for its raw material value are so common that WJI seldom prints them, but thieves in South Africa platinum mines have stood out, and not in a fun or quirky way. This story is just tragic. Below are edited excerpts from multiple media reports about a story where everyone loses.

Copper cables thieves in South Africa have found a deep, dark place to swipe copper cable: South African platinum mines. A stream of media reports has outlined how gangs have sneaked in deep underground, and set up camp in the vast network of tunnels from which they strip metal from power cables. It is a remarkably deadly pursuit.

The gangs are syndicates of thieves known as “zama zamas,” a Zulu name that means “take a chance.” Illegal mining has long been a problem in South Africa, but the focus now is on stealing copper. When copper was stripped at Sibanye’s Thembelani shaft in March, it led to a fire that forced 140 workers to evacuate. The company had 120 theft incidents last year and recovered about 5.1 tons of stolen copper. Year to date, there have been 45 incidents/3.2 tons recovered.

The thefts are difficult to stop because of the vast warren of tunnels. Over time, the thefts became far more complex, with gangs setting up their own supply chains. Descent is often made via ropes or handmade ladders. The copper is stripped and hidden away in unused tunnels before being taken away at night using pre-arranged transport.

As many as 500 thieves may be in a given mine at any time. They can spend days underground, and some of the illegal miners have been known to set booby traps or ambushes for mining staff or even rival gangs. It can take a full week to replace some of the key copper cables, so the loss is not just in the cable but in mining of platinum, a key element for making catalytic converters.

Just as there is no lack of thieves, there is no lack of potential bad endings. Last October, owners of one mine sealed off a ventilation shaft that illegal miners had been using to come and go. Per reports, a trickle of trapped gang members tried to escape, helped by fellow members above ground. At one point the zama zamas clashed with police in a shootout that saw eight of the thieves die. Several months earlier, the decomposed bodies of some 20 gang members were found. They were believed to have been killed in a gas explosion underground.

Per reports, the gangs have not been deterred. What remains is a sad statement that transcends wire.

Last modified on June 2, 2022

4-/1/2022 - Responding to world events, the WAI Poland Chapter has changed the focus of its panel discussion for its 9th International Drawing Conference, to be held May 18-20 at the Hotel GALAXY in Cracow, Poland.

The panel discussion has evolved from a pure technical theme to one that addresses the European reality in dealing with Covid-19 and the war in the Ukraine. The panel discussion theme will be, “The economy of the
metal and drawing industry during the post-Covid crisis and the turbulent global geopolitical situation.”

The panel discussion, to be moderated by Piotr Milewski and Jakub Siemiński, directors and managers at DRUMET and TELE-FONIKA, will see panelists try to answer increasingly difficult questions in the metal sector that relate to the current situation of the world economy and where it is headed. Five participants selected from large and medium-sized companies in the metal sector, who together with the conference participants, will talk about the outlook for the metal and drawing industry after the current crises. Attendees will hear about important technological and economic issues for the metal and drawing sector that relate to the development of principles and methods for wire and
cable companies to better function during the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic and war.

“It is sad that such topics should be the focus of a technical conference, but they are realities for the industry, and not just in Europe,” said WAI Chapter President Jan Pilarczyk. He noted that this will be the second time that there has been a discussion panel, the first held in 2019, where all participants shared their observations on the new directions needed to maintain the continuous development of the metal and drawing industry both in Europe and in the world. The panel discussion will be the final educational event at the conference.  

Pilarczyk said that he was pleased with the support the event has had so far from industry. The main sponsors are Drumet, a member of WireCo World Group; Schlatter; WiTechs; the MFL Group; Vassena; and Lubrimetal. Other sponsors include MET-PRIM Sp. z.o.o.; TELE-FONIKA Kable S.A.; CMC Poland Sp. z o.o., operating in Poland, a member of the CMC Commercial Metals Group; Witels Albert; and Wilhelm Tatje KG.

The focus for the conference is “Modern methods of metal forming and drawing processes and production of wire rod and wire.” Topics include: selected issues from the theory and technology of the drawing process and
other plastic forming processes; directions of drawing technology development in the field of devices, tools, accessories, lubricants and cooling agents; quality problems for production of charge materials, wires and final
products; new materials and new application areas for drawn products; and operational issues – ropes, cables, wires, welding wires, springs, etc. 

Event participants are expected from: CMC Poland, Arcelor Mittal Poland, TELE-FONIKA Kable, DRUMET Wire Corp. Poland and MET-PRIM Radomsko, WIŚNIOWSKI Sp. z o.o., ITALMEC Sp. zo.o., Fabryka Drutu Gliwice., all from Poland; the MFL Group, Vassen and Lubrimetal, all from Italy; WAFIOS and Witels Albert, Germany; Bekaert Bohumin and ZBD AS, Czech Republic.; and Schlatter, Switzerland.

The co-organizers of the conference include Pilarczyk; Knych, the 2015 winner of the WAI’s Mordica Memorial Award; and Prof. Adam Zieliński, of the Institute for Ferrous Metallurgy. It will also include a plant tour of TELE-FONIKA. The Conference Honorary Patronage is by Prof. Norbert Sczygiol, rector of the Czestochowa University of Technology. 

Of note, the event is being held in May, which marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Poland Chapter. For more information, visit the Poland Chapter website at www.msc.wip.pcz.pl.

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Last modified on April 1, 2022

From Wire Journal International's February 2022 Feature

Thomas J. Rosen, president and CEO of Wire & Cable Consulting, LLC, has nearly 40 years in the industry, holding executive positions with companies such as IWG High Performance Conductors, Phelps Dodge Corporation and Nesor Alloy Corp. Below, he shares his thoughts about the supply chain. He can be contacted at tel. 973-228-5589, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.wirecableconsulting.com.

We are living in new times. Nobody foresaw what was coming in terms of Covid and labor issues, the great resignation wave and everything else that’s happened the last few years. The days when you could depend on overseas suppliers to deliver in five or six weeks are gone. That same timeframe can be four or five months. That causes problems for our customers, which I want to make clear here make value-added products.

The supply chain and the wire and cable industry need to understand how to handle the ebbs and flows of the business. But first I want to address something that is part of the equation, even if it might not seem so. The industry will always have issues—and sometimes, like now, they may be quite harsh—but I have learned over the years that you cannot overestimate how important it is to value the human element.

People are extremely important, and we need to offer or meet issues on the physical and mental health that help keep them together. People need more family time. Working 60-plus hours a week is not a long-term solution. People need more time off pursuing things that bring them a sense of purpose. If they achieve short-term and long-term success as individuals, that will help them in their work roles. They become part of your solution that you won’t find in a spreadsheet. Think about it.

Now for the supply chain. First off, it won’t come as a surprise when I say that there are no easy solutions, but that does not mean you can’t take some measure of control. You know what you need and when, but how well do you know what your suppliers can and cannot do? Relying on them just to “do” or “not do” is not enough. You have to work with good suppliers, and that means companies that are investing in their businesses.

You have to work the supply chain all the way back. Capacity obviously is a key issue, but so is their personnel. Is the company stable? Does it have the cash flow and resources to invest in its future? Some may not be strong enough, so sticking with a supplier without knowing more about them is not wise. Learning more about suppliers may ultimately force you to look elsewhere. If you don’t want to do this, then find another business, because your future maybe in doubt.

Beware of suppliers that stick to the outdated 80/20 principle. One of our clients had such a supplier, which had contracts and agreements, and took care of the 20% clients first. They didn’t like minimum quantities, specials or anything “out of the norm.” Our client, who started manufacturing cable assemblies for Steinway, could not get product from his supplier. We found him a new one. We explained the business and provided the specs to the new supplier that had not been active in this niche, and was interested. Both our client and the customer benefitted.

We encourage our clients to develop new suppliers. You hear a lot about supply not being available, but generally speaking, I have found that materials can be found, even in small quantities. I have one client that will, and he’s very good at it. He also gets paid well for it. And guess what? He’s getting more and more business because the big guys don’t want to do small quantities anymore.

There’s a flip side to this too. How well do you treat your suppliers? A lot of big companies don’t excel at that. I always made sure that I personally engaged suppliers, and enjoyed meeting them and seeing their operations. That’s changed in the last two years, but it’s still possible through zoom and the like. If you keep in close contact, you may find opportunities. Also, keep in mind that the wire and cable industry is a supply chain unto itself, as many companies sell to cable manufacturers, who in turn sell to OEMs.

It’s a difficult time for companies that need rod and metals that either require large sizes or require special technology for different applications, as they are not as easy to source overseas as they are in North America. There are limited places people can go, so such manufacturers are basically held hostage, which is why high value product makers are better off.

I have one client that buys redraw and fine wires, and silver-plated wires and alloys. Those products are limited in the supply chain, but because we were able to show the supplier our needs six months out, we were able to get what we needed. That takes planning. If you cannot show vendors your plan, you can’t expect them to commit to late requests. You want to ask the supplier what they can do to help.

I don’t see conditions changing much in the next year. I think we’re stuck in a conundrum here. We all know the symptoms of the supply chain, but I keep thinking about the one element that gets lost in the discussion of what needs to be done, and that goes back to people. They make it all possible.

I spend a lot of time helping clients with their long-term plans. Anyone who isn’t—or thinks that conditions will revert back to what they were, and that we can all go back to walking our dogs the way we used to—is dreaming. This is the new norm. We have to figure out how to navigate it, to be flexible, quick and nimble.

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Last modified on March 31, 2022

3/4/2022 –

In January, WJI presented the 10 Stage 1 winners in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric applications (CABLE) conductor manufacturing initiative. Below, Francisco Flores, senior materials engineer, NanoAL, LLC, discusses the focus of his team’s winning entry. For more about the company, go to www.nanoalllc.com.

WJI: How did your team form?
Flores: NanoAL is a materials research and technology company that designs, develops, and commercializes high-performance aluminum alloys. The company was founded by two Northwestern University professors and a post-doc in 2013 after 17 years of research on advanced aluminum alloys.

WJI: What is your contest focus?
Flores: Our contest focus is designing and developing a new conductive aluminum alloy with specific strength equal to that of high-strength steel. This advanced aluminum alloy would potentially be a direct substitution for the typical high-strength steel used in applications carrying heavy loads. In the case of traditional steel-reinforced conductors for power transmission, this substitution would significantly boost the overall conductivity of the power lines.

WJI: How did the collaboration with the Prysmian Group help?
Flores: Through its subsidiary company, General Cable, Prysmian Group has been one of our long-term R&D partners. NanoAL and Prysmian Group have jointly developed multiple advanced aluminum alloys and conductors for overhead cable, automotive and industrial applications. The people we have worked with from Prysmian understand both the science and the applications, and have been a champion of research and innovation in the wire and cable industry. They have helped us define customer and application requirements for a new product, evaluate performances of lab-scale and prototype samples, and implement scale-up processes.

WJI: Where do you see your CNTs most benefiting wire and cable?
Flores: We see this technology playing an essential role in improving the efficiency of electrical energy transmission and distribution systems. Our ultra-high-strength, highly conductive aluminum alloy achieves a tensile strength of 500 MPa and electrical conductivity of approximately 48% of standard annealed copper. Its specific strength is higher than the traditional steel core, while its conductivity is nearly eight times greater than steel. The potential aluminum/steel substitution in a transmission cable’s core can significantly increase the conductor’s efficiency. As a result, it saves money and reduces carbon footprint by reducing energy loss from the power grids.

WJI: Can your process be commercialized on a large scale?
Flores: Our aluminum alloys and processes are highly scalable. However, since replacing steel with a high-strength aluminum alloy in a traditionally steel-enforced conductor is highly disruptive, we need to achieve several more product development and application milestones to achieve commercial success. This is why the CABLE competition is such a good opportunity for us to advance and mature this technology further toward commercialization.

Prysmian Group perspective
Aluminum is ideal for electricity transmission/distribution, but its inherent low emissivity retains heat, leading to energy losses and conductor sag. The U.S. has more than 450,000 miles of active overhead transmission lines, most over 50 years old. The Prysmian Group supports innovative materials to enhance transmission efficiency. NanoAL’s development through the CABLE prize has the potential to create a sustainable and high-performance solution for energy products. Dr. Sathish Ranganathan, North America R&D Director, Prysmian Group.

Last modified on March 3, 2022

1/31/2022 – CABLE contest winner: Clean Carbon Conductors/DexMat

Last issue, WJI presented the 10 Stage 1 winners in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric applications (CABLE) conductor manufacturing initiative. One winner, Clean Carbon Conductors/DexMat, focuses on carbon nanotubes. Below, DexMat CEO Dimitri Tsentalovich discusses his work. A second winner will be presented in March.

WJI: How did your team form?
Tsentalovich: DexMat began commercializing Galvorn Carbon NanoTube (CNT) conductors in 2015 and teamed up with Rice University to solve critical R&D challenges for scaling the production of CNT materials over the years. The DexMat/Rice team that has substantial combined experience in academic research, engineering, and product development. In 2021, DexMat and Rice partnered with Prysmian to form the Clean Carbon Conductors team and take advantage of Prysmian’s significant expertise in the development and introduction of new materials in their wire and cable products. Rice University Professor Matteo Pasquali is a cofounder of DexMat.

WJI: What is your contest focus?
Tsentalovich: The objective of the Clean Carbon Conductors effort is to produce higher conductivity Galvorn CNT conductors. DexMat has a low-cost, scalable fluid phase process for manufacturing CNT conductors out of raw CNTs. By partnering with Rice University and Prysmian to deliberately focus on enhancing electrical conductivity, we believe that within the next 10 years, our team can produce CNT fibers and yarns with >65 MS/m electrical conductivity (over 112% IACS) through a process that will be cost-competitive with Cu wire production, but with a substantially reduced climate impact.

WJI: How did the collaboration with the Prysmian Group help?
Tsentalovich: The Prysmian Group has been a tremendous resource for our team. Prysmian’s R&D team has contributed valuable insights to the importance of considering factors such as manufacturing costs, product life-cycle environmental impact and the commercialization pathway for enhanced conductivity Galvorn conductors.

WJI: Where do you see your CNTs most benefiting wire and cable?
Tsentalovich: CNTs are positioned as the most promising solution for reducing the weight of aircraft wiring. DexMat has already demonstrated a 50% weight reduction by replacing the Cu braid EMI shielding layer of an RG-316 cable with Galvorn CNT film. Enhanced conductivity Galvorn CNT conductors would enable a 70% reduction in the mass of most electrical cabling on any commercial aircraft, resulting in a total weight reduction of several hundred kilograms per aircraft; this would result in significant fuel savings, and thus a reduced climate impact as well.

WJI: Can your process to be commercialized on a large scale?
Tsentalovich: Galvorn CNT fibers, yarns, and films are commercially available and can be purchased directly from DexMat. Over the next few years, we plan to scale-up Galvorn conductor production by a factor of at least 100, while continuing to work on increasing conductivity and other properties. Working with institutions like Rice University and companies like Prysmian is sure to help accelerate the path to both large scale production and enhanced conductivity. For more information, contact DexMat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.dexmat.com.

Prysmian Group perspective
For the past decade, we have been exploring and testing engineered nanocarbons that offer great potential as strength members and electrical conductors. The holy grail is a lightweight material, with high electrical & thermal conductivity, high tensile strength and low coefficient of thermal expansion, produced with a minimal environmental impact. We believe DexMat has made significant strides with their Galvorn CNT fiber technology in this regard, both in terms of product performance and process scalability. Luca De Rai, vice president of Energy R&D.

Last modified on February 1, 2022

1/7/2022 – ArcelorMittal Global R&D was tasked with exploring and identifying alternative ways to capture dust emissions that resulted from the transport of sinter and other materials within blast furnace operations. This was an extremely complex issue as conventional aspiration and filtration units were not available nor applicable due to the configuration of the operations and equipment.

ArcelorMittal’s research center in Asturias, Spain took the lead in testing alternative technologies capable of reducing secondary sinter dust. The objective was three-fold: improve working conditions for fine particulate matter, decrease dust emissions that release through openings of buildings and appropriately manage humidity levels in order to protect the sinter and its performance in the blast furnace.

The initial dust suppressant alternatives were based on water injection. The use of water was poor for humidity levels and was rejected by the blast furnace as a potential solution. ArcelorMittal Global R&D proposed and optimized the application of a potato-based, biodegradable dust suppressant applied as foam to minimize the water impact.

Last year trials were developed and implemented at ArcelorMittal Gijon, where the foam was applied over conveyor belts to cover the raw materials and prevent the dust emissions that occurred during the transport and transfer of material to the bunkers. Adjustments were made to the quantity of the foam as well as the water needed to create the foam. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis was used to assess the impact of the dust suppressant.

Dust emissions were dramatically reduced after the foam application with no significant impact in the humidity of the sinter to the blast furnace. The results of the R&D trials showed a more than 80 percent reduction of inhalable particulate matter (PM10) and a reduction of more than 85 percent for fine inhalable particulate matter (PM2.5).

"The use of a biodegradable product allowed us to suppress the diffuse dust emissions without any negative impact on the process or the product. Additionally, the solution avoided costly investments that had no guarantee of success. And, perhaps most importantly, the solution has had a significant impact on the environment, eliminating emissions from ventilation openings of the tower and improving the ambient air quality and visibility of the area, thereby offering better working conditions,” said Beatriz Gonzalez Fernandez, R&D engineer, ArcelorMittal Global R&D.

As a result, ArcelorMittal Global R&D Asturias, where the trials were developed, industrialized the solution for all the belts in the tower of the blast furnace hoppers in Gijon. The diffuse dust emission problem at Gijon has been resolved with no impact on the blast furnace due to humidity. This new formulation is now available to other operations with similar conditions and constraints.

Last modified on January 7, 2022

12/6/21 – If you have a loved one who is an audiophile and money is no object, The Cable Company, a supplier of premium cables, can provide just what you need: a pair of two-meter-long Emperor Double Crown Speaker Cables from Siltech Cables. The cables start at $50,000 ($74,000 for a three-meter model) and go up an additional $5,000 for a Biwire option. Below, the manufacturer explains why the emperor cables deserves your respect (and loot).

For over 25 years, Siltech Cables have been made exclusively in Holland. Siltech pioneered the use of silver as their primary cable conductor, now combined in their top models with gold which is impregnated to smooth silver's crystal boundaries. The Siltech Royal Signature Emperor Double Crown (Mono X-tal Ag + G7 technology) high-end loudspeaker cables embody every last ounce of Siltech’s knowledge and technology.

The twisted twin co-axial construction used in the Classic Anniversary and Explorer series delivers a perfect balance of performance, price and practicality, its elegant self-shielding topology eliminating both unnecessary elements and the performance compromises that go with them. But once performance becomes paramount, the rules change. An external, circumferential shield can produce even better results – but only if you can space it far enough away from the conductors. Thick and stiff external insulation imparts added mechanical isolation. That means cables that are heavy and less flexible, but once heard we think you’ll agree, that’s a small price to pay given the performance on offer.

Those substantial casings contain our latest G7 silver/gold alloy or, in the Crown Series cables, our revolutionary (and incredibly costly) S8 silver mono-crystal conductors, combined with advanced insulation materials and precision manufacturing techniques to create a genuinely state-of-the-art family of eight interconnects, five speaker cables, three power cords and no fewer than eight digital cables, including USB and FireWire. Breathtakingly accurate and musically involving, the Royal Signature Series are the best cables that Siltech can make: in a world of uncertainty, history suggests that that makes them the best cables you can buy.

For more details, or perhaps to make this the most memorable Christmas ever for a certain person, go to www.thecableco.com, and to learn about the cables, go to www.siltechcables.com.

Last modified on January 4, 2022

11/4/21 – We take rapid communication for granted with 5G cell phone service and high-speed Internet. But all technological marvels tend to have modest but ambitious beginnings.

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid in 1858 by the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, which was founded just for this project by businessman Cyrus West Field. The cable connected Newfoundland to Ireland and had a capacity of transmitting a few words per hour. The first official communication was a message in Morse code from Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan. 

The cable broke down a few weeks later, and two more attempts were made to provide a successful, lasting connection, which was achieved in 1866. That’s when the speed improved to 6–8 words per minute. But this “faster” rate came at the high price of $10 per word for a 10-word minimum. $100 back then was about two months’ pay for a skilled laborer. The primary users were entities with big pockets, such as the British and American governments and large corporations.

In 1956, TAT-1, the first transatlantic telephone cable system with a total cable length of 326 nautical miles, had a capacity of 36 telephone channels. The inaugural call linked AT&T and FCC company officials in New York with officials in Ottawa and London. By 1976, cables carried 4,000 telephone channels, and in 1996 the capacity was 2 x 5 Gbit/s. Expanding exponentially, by 2001 the Atlantic VSNL (TGN) had a capacity of 2 x 2,520 Gbit/s.

Those early growth years of technology were essential to being where we are now, and yes, advances come with a heady price, but what we take for granted today would have long been considered totally unimaginable. 

Last modified on November 4, 2021