Draka Comteq consolidates, reaches out to specialty cable markets

Draka Comteq, in an effort to differentiate itself in the market, has consolidated its operation while simultaneously branching out of its structured cabling focus and dabbling in specialty cable markets.

Jan 1st, 2003
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Draka Comteq, in an effort to differentiate itself in the market, has consolidated its operation while simultaneously branching out of its structured cabling focus and dabbling in specialty cable markets. As of this month, the company will be known as Draka Comteq USA Inc. (www.drakausa.com). The company was formerly known as Helix/ HiTemp Cables and Chromatic Technologies.


Draka Comteq USA Inc. was formerly known as Helix/HiTemp Cables and Chromatic Technologies. Both companies, which marketed under the brand name of Draka Comteq, have consolidated their two manufacturing facilities into one location at 20 Forge Park, Franklin, MA. Above is a braiding line at the revised manufacturing facility.
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Both companies, which marketed under the brand name of Draka Comteq, have consolidated their two manufacturing facilities into one location at 20 Forge Park, Franklin, MA. The company consolidated to reduce costs while increasing cable output.


A worker at Draka Comteq USA Inc. boxes cable.
Click here to enlarge image

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"Both will be under the Draka umbrella, but act as distinct operating units," says Jeff Mahall, director of marketing for Draka Comteq USA Inc.

The company will keep structured cabling product manufacturing at the core of its focus. It has good reason to do so—last year, the company had $2 billion in sales. Ninety percent of these revenues came from the structured cabling business.

In keeping with this strategy, the company will keep the Chromatic Technologies and Helix/HiTemp Cables as brand names. These products include twisted pair, coaxial and composite cables used in a variety of industries and applications. Optical-fiber products under these brand names include outdoor, indoor, armored and aerial designs for campus backbone and fiber-to-the-workstation.

But, due to the still struggling telecommunications market, Draka Comteq USA will also use the union of these two companies to provide products for non-traditional structured cabling markets, including robotics, military and defense, medical facilities and power plants.

Mahall says Draka Comteq USA expects that revenue from the specialty markets will eventually outpace the datacom market. "We won't leave the datacom market, but we do share that with other manufacturers," says Mahall. "This will allow us to broaden our technology, expand our customer base and market potential."

The decision to consolidate did not come easily. Bill Dungan, corporate vice president of sales and marketing for Draka Comteq USA, says the company was forced into decision-making mode when it considered the myriad of brand names it was using. "All of a sudden, we had all of these brand names," says Dungan. "We are overbooked when it comes to brand names; there's no question. Now, we will do something that is simple and easy."

Draka Comteq USA Inc. is a subsidiary of Draka USA, the North American companies under the parent company of Draka Holding, NV—comprised of 60 companies in 25 countries in Europe, America and Asia. Draka Comteq USA is now joined with three other North American companies, including BIW Cable Products, Tamaqua Cable Products, and Draka Elevator Products. In addition, the datacom and telecom product division of Draka Comteq USA is an integral partner of the global Draka Comteq communications marketing alliance, also under Draka Holding NV. Eleven different worldwide companies produce copper and fiber products under Draka Comteq.

Up until now, all manufacturing facilities for Helix/HiTemp were located in the building at 20 Forge Park. All optical-fiber manufacturing took place across the street in Building 9, where Draka USA's corporate headquarters are located. Now, the company has revised its 165,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, which houses both copper and optical-fiber engineering, research, customer service, and manufacturing. Manufacturing will continue to operate a three-shift schedule for fiber and copper production. Included in the facility is a newly constructed 10,000-square-foot atmospherically controlled clean room housing that's critical for fiber operations.

The revisions will create a manufacturing plant within a plant, adding four additional lines of optical fiber. The new factory is expected to produce more than $75 million worth of cable and components per year. "We want to allow our strengths to feed off of each other, and get a greater market share," adds Mahall.

Photos by Carol Everett Oliver

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