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Interviews

Maillefer Extrusion Oy: Competence that Counts

Under ‘Competence that Counts’ theme, Maillefer has coined some ultra-innovative value packages for its customers to select the best fit cable manufacturing processes and extrusion technology to enhance profitability to unprecedented level.

Maillefer is a well-known technologist for the wire and cable industry, with almost over 100 years of know-how in fabricating highly productive machines for the industry. With over 20 patent families, the company has over 50 different technologies covering nearly 20 applications. Besides, Maillefer is a preferred technology destination for the pipe and tube industries.

Maillefer production solutions are available for building and automotive wires, dry or jelly filled fiber optic cables, low, medium, high and extra high voltage cables, rubber cables, telecom, aviation, LAN and coaxial cables. Maillefer consider itself not merely an expert manufacturer of machines, but also a master of wire and cable manufacturing processes.

Under ‘Maillefer Consultation’ the company continuously develops and improves customers’ operations and competitiveness. Maillefer Consultation covers over 30 know-how products, with which customers can maximize the value of their existing technology, access best practices and improve processes based on needs, thereby elevating the overall productivity, product quality and profitability from investment planning to actual production optimization.

Maillefer’s prominent standing as a frontline technology leader may be attributed to its strong R&D commitments to drive innovations making its machines fit to time and customers’ aspirations. The company has recently unveiled the market’s fastest Fiber Optic Cable Secondary Coating Line OEL 40///Explore with a designated speed of 1000 m/min (almost triple the traditional speed), the first already commissioned in China.

On product innovation, customer oriented process expertise, and technological best practices, Maillefer has much to offer as was expressed by Mr. Veikko Nieminen, Director, Sales & Marketing, W&C Business Line, Maillefer Extrusion Oy, at wire 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Let’s read more what he had to say:

Wire & Cable India: Tell us about Maillefer’s continued relevance as a technology leader over the years and what new is happening at the company.

Veikko Nieminen: The core theme for us is “Competence that Counts”, which we also showcased at the exhibition. The theme in itself is self-explanatory why Maillefer is always relevant as far as technology and innovations are concerned. This is something we have developed based on our past. Our roots are deep in the cable manufacturing technology – and not only cable manufacturing, but also extrusion technology in general. Thanks to our customer driven R&D, several technologies in W&C manufacturing today are our innovations. Maillefer’s track record in the industry goes back more than 100 years.

We are not only an equipment supplier, but a customer oriented process expert. Our goal is to continuously develop and improve our customers’ operations and competitiveness. It is our ambition to regularly bring new know-how based offerings to the market under ‘Maillefer Consultation’. And, this we achieve by building deeper cooperation with our customers to understand their products and processes.

We continue to develop our technology and hardware as well as non-material offerings in the form of ‘Maillefer Consultation’.

Moreover, there are many new offerings and several attractive innovations which we also displayed at the exhibition. For example, we recently launched the market’s fastest Fiber Optic Cable Secondary Coating Line OEL 40///Explore with almost triple the conventional speed, and are now commissioning for the first cases.

We also introduced the new Three Layer Co-extrusion Crosshead ECH 200/240 TL which redefines the production of big power cables. It applies all three layers on the cable core simultaneously, and allows the placing of all three extruders on one side of the line. This makes the crosshead extremely user and space friendly.

Further component novelties included the Air Cooled Extruder MXC 120-24D for preventing material over use, Quick Conductor Splicing QCS for greater productivity, and the Nitrogen Circulation System NCS for upgrade opportunities.

Our intention has always been to continuously bring new innovation to the market as per the fast changing need and nature of products.

WCI: Would you please explain a bit more your theme ‘Competence that Counts’?

VN: As part of the theme, we have generated various value packages for our customers. It’s better to explain this by way of an example. For instance, take the Round Value Package Premium, which means 20-50 percent more productivity. Our Round Value Package Premium is tested with more than 25 strictly controlled and comparable trials. The new revolutionary curing technology increases VCV line curing capacity and simultaneously improves HV and EHV cable core roundness. As a result, cable manufacturers may not only gain 20-50 percent more productivity, but they also get excellent cable core roundness and increased product quality with material savings up to EUR 500k annually in insulation and jacketing.

Cable manufacturers often come to us with their imperfect cable roundness and ask if we could make it round and amend their VCV line producing the cable. Of course, we can! We offer them our Round Value Package Premium, where we make modifications in their line with a guarantee for perfectly round cable. Moreover, we can also increase the line speed, and many other similar improvements in their line. The ultimate motive of such corrections and modifications remains only in increasing quality, productivity and profitability.

Like the Round Value Package Premium, we have many other value packages in the portfolio from which our customers may choose as per their requirements.

WCI: With over 20 patent families, it’s obvious that Maillefer takes innovation in all earnestness. Share with us some of your R&D related information.

VN: Yes, R&D is a non-stop process at Maillefer and of course, the very means of our survival as a technology leader. What we do in our R&D activities is very difficult to explain in mere words. Let’s take an example – the vertical pilot line at our R&D Center in Finland. It is the sole vertical pilot line in the industry for fast prototyping, as we did for over 40 customers last year. You can solve your process problems efficiently and safely, and complete your R&D project even 50 times faster with our experts.

You know that a vertical CV line is very big for which you need a high tower and a huge building. Once you have the vertical CV line in operation, it’s very difficult to stop for doing R&D work. Based on these facts, we have developed the R&D center where we have built several lines for different applications. On these lines, we are able to simulate our customers’ processes by copying their manufacturing conditions. It’s great value for customers, and for us too for the sake of R&D.

And, yes, we are wholly dedicated to our R&D process and spend a significant percentage of our revenue on it by constantly improving the hardware and processes. Maillefer R&D centers offer a unique collaboration platform to test ideas and pilot new technologies.

WCI: Explain ‘Maillefer Consultation’.

VN: The principal idea is to support our customers with over 30 know-how products, which maximize the value of existing technology and elevate their productivity, product quality and profitability from investment planning to actual production optimization. We provide several immaterial products to our customers, beyond just selling the technology to them.

We can find the most profitable and sustainable production solution to complete customers’ feasibility study. For example, our ‘Plant Definition Study’ gives a view on raw material flows, cable constructions, needed production processes and machinery, the main operational requirements and implementation schedule, and the size of the investment. An initial factory layout and utility consumption calculation are part of the study.

WCI: You said earlier that you have commissioned the market’s fastest Fiber Optic Cable Secondary Coating Line OEL 40///Explore for a few customers already. Can you give us some detail?

VN: We have delivered the line to one of our customers in China. Commissioning was finished just last week and we were able to obtain speeds up to 840 meters per minute.

WCI: What kind of potential do you see for this line in India?

VN: Well, I see very big potential. The existing lines in India are generally in the speed range of 200-350 m/min, which is quite slow by today’s standards. Imagine triple the speed compared to the traditional one! There would be immense gain on productivity, profitability and saving of the input material. This sounds like a good investment, especially for companies which are on the high-end of basics.

WCI: Your strategy on the Indian market?

VN: We have been developing the Indian wire and cable market together with our customers in the past few decades. The first modern cable production lines were delivered to India already in the early 1980s. Our ambition to continuously bring new products to the market has been well received also in the Indian market.

We can provide tailored service to our Indian customers through our office in Mumbai. Our strong local presence helps us to understand the customer needs in order to provide the market with the most advanced and competitive solutions.

We look forward to the Wire & Cable India 2016 exhibition in October in Mumbai in order to present our latest technology news and to meet our local customers, partners and friends.

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