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World-class cable manufacturer expands through M&A

World-class cable manufacturer expands through M&A

By Bartlomiej Zgryzek, vice-president, board member – IT, Treasury and Investor Relations, TFKable Group

Over recent years, we have built up an extensive track record and experience, competent knowledge and a broad range of skills in the design and development of new products for our markets. We are active in a number of energy and communication market sectors such as mining, power generation, rail, shipbuilding, automotive, telecoms, automation and renewable energy. Our business is focused on delivering products to enable major infrastructure investment and capital projects to succeed.  We constantly aim to improve our business through the implementation of state of the art technology, and increase our global market share through increasingly efficient utilisation, thus maximising the benefits to our customers.

Our objective is to establish a stable and fully supported growth plan for our business, based on sustained development across our energy and communications businesses. To achieve this plan and our long term objectives we welcomed JDR Cable Systems (Holdings) Limited (JDR) to our group in August last year. JDR holds advanced, qualified and field proven technologies for the design and manufacture of innovative and cost effective solutions in the global offshore oil & gas and renewable energy industries.

Comprehensive and innovative solutions in the field of renewable energy.

We began our collaboration with JDR in 2008 with the supply of medium voltage cores for the then largest offshore wind farm, Greater Gabbard, located on the Suffolk coast of the UK. During our 10-year trading relationship, we have completed more than 60 investment projects in various regions of the world. In that time, the TFKable Group was an important business partner and a key supplier of low, medium and high voltage sealed insulated power cores for the final assembled cable products manufactured by JDR.  With the total amount of insulated power cores delivered being 7,000 km, this enabled JDR to emerge as the market leader with the largest amount of Intra-array cabling deployed and operational on the seabed in offshore wind applications over the past 8 years.

Our joint progress has demonstrated that close collaboration and integration of the technological and  manufacturing potential of both companies resultes in even greater capabilitiesNetwork of experts when exploiting the opportunities and challenges which appear in the global business environment. Theinnovative submarine cable systems of JDR, used in the oil & gas and renewable energy industries globally, has enabled their clients to maintain reliable continuity of their offshore opeartions with full confidence, as well increasing the scope of cable solutions, manufactured and offered by the TFKable Group.

It's worth highlighting some of the most important project ventures which the TFKable Group and JDR have engaged in together. From 2008-2013 our companies collaboration to build the Array Cable for the 500MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind power plant. At that time this was the worlds largest offshore windfarm and  consisted of the delivery of 200km of 3-phase 30kV submarine cables to delive the power generated, along with an optical fibre essential to ensure communications within the windfarm.  The cables were manufactured, tested, delivered, and installed at water depths of 23m, enabling the connection of 140 turbines each producing power at up to 3.6MW per turbine. Following the Greater Gabbard project, together we delivered another 200 km of submarine array cables for 175 turbines installed in the 630MW London Array offshore wind farm. JDR also designed and delivered these submarine 33kV power supply cables with TFKable sealed copper wires with cross-sections of 150 or 500mm2, installed and then buried 1.5m below the sea bed.

In 2015-2016 we achieved another first for our two companies when we delivered 70 km of submarine 33kV power supply cables with aluminium conductors, with cross section of 240 or 800mm2. These cables were delivered and installed in water depths down to 34m, as part of the offshore wind farm Nordsee One, located in the German sector of the North Sea.

One of our latest offshore wind projects is the Eurpoean Offshore Wind Development Centre - Aberdeen Bay.  This Offshore Wind Farm represented another first with the delivery of our innovative submarine 66kV array cables with a conductor size of 400mm2, used to connect the 11 x 8 MW wind turbines.

  We provide tried-and-tested solutions of the highest available quality. 

We comply fully with all of the requirements and obligations, required by domestic and international regulations. Therefore, our cables and conductors are subject to a significant level of testing to confirm their high quality, meeting our highest standards and the demanding expectations of our partners.

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To ensure such levels of quality and reliability we continuously improve our manufacturing processes, investing in highly specialised equipment, including control and measurement instruments and laboratory research equipment. Consequently, our Fire Test Laboratory, located in our Kraków-Wielicka production facility, is equipped with apparatus that enables a wide variety of national and international tests to be carried out, from basic flame propagation tests on single samples to tests of flame propagation on cable bundles.  These tests are intended to define how the selected cable structure and materials will affect the flame propagation process in case of fire. We have an extensive range of equipment for smoke density tests and corrosive gas emission tests, in accordance with the applicable standards. We also check for wire continuity and any possible earthing faults, using a special fire-proof table, subject to mechanical shock and fire, directly acting on a wire, for a certain amount of time. We perform several hundred flammability tests each year for a variety of clients across many cable types.

Another element, equally important for us in terms of delivering robust and tested quality products, is the High and Ultra-High Voltage Laboratory, located in the production facility in Bydgoszcz. Our significant investment in four Faraday-Cage chambers is completed and operational, with three test suites used to perform routine tests on production cables, with one test facility allocation for development of new cable products and continuous improvement of existing cable types and cable systems. There is also a surge generator with dedicated test field for qualification tests with a 500kV assay system and 5000A heat transformer sets. We are one of a few manufacturers in Europe possessing highly specialised apparatus for cable tests. The laboratory in Bydgoszcz cooperates with a number of scientific and research centres, such as VDE, KEMA, DEKRA, CESI or STRI. Cable designs tested by us are witnessed by independent verification as well as industry notified bodies, and we hold more than 380 quality certificates and accreditations.

Network of expertsTo respond to the increased demand, and following the increase in ongoing efficiency and effectiveness of offshore and onshore technology, we have recently completed a major investment in a modern technological line for manufacturing communication cables. These cables will be incorporated into hybrid systems which, due to the innovative solutions used, will offer the industry highly effective of connections for oil and gas industrial facilities.

These above are just some of the examples of the market leading projects and the specialist testing we subject our cables to.  As a result of our extensive experience and investing in product innovation, continuous improvement and demonstrating cable quality and reliability we are now leading the way across our markets.

As a result of the JDR acquisition, the TFKable Group now possesses some of the largest and most modern production plants, with our Hartlepool and Littleport facilities in the UK, together with offshore service and mobilisation centres in the US and the UK. These facilities and leading the industry in the provision of power cables and umbilical and associated services for global Oil and Gas and Renewable Energy applications.