Industry Spotlight

While cable and component maker Belden (www.belden.com) has informed about 170 workers at its Mohawk ...

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Belden to close Mohawk facility, but brand in tact

While cable and component maker Belden (www.belden.com) has informed about 170 workers at its Mohawk (www.mohawk-cable.com) cable manufacturing facilities in Leominster, MA that it will cease operations there effective next July as part of a corporate restructuring plan, the Mohawk cabling brand will remain unchanged.

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Despite a company restructuring, Belden says its Mohawk brand of structured cabling products (such as PlenumPlus copper cable, shown here) remain a key part of the company's product line.
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Gene Pfeiffer, Belden's manager of corporate communications, says that while production from the Leominster plant will shift to company manufacturing facilities in Monticello, KY and Nogales, Mexico, “There is nothing negative regarding the Mohawk brand going forward—it's an important part of our overall business plan.”

The 210,000-square-foot Mohawk Drive plant in Leominster—one of two Belden-owned facilities in the central Massachusetts city—has produced copper, optical-fiber, and hybrid wire and cable used in cabling infrastructures for markets that include data centers, broadcasting, and security. Known variously as Mohawk Cable Company, Mohawk Wire & Cable, and Mohawk/CDT over its nearly 50 years of existence, the company most recently was acquired by Belden through a merger with Cable Design Technologies in 2004.

But the economy's deep impact on the worldwide structured cabling market prompted Belden to announce a company-wide restructuring in December 2008, affecting 1,800 jobs and manufacturing consolidation. In March, Belden said it would close its Manchester, CT Mohawk manufacturing plant (slated for next September), impacting 135 employees. Most of the production, it was reported at the time of the closure announcement, was to be transferred to Belden's recently opened manufacturing facility in Nogales where labor costs are significantly less.

The $30 million Nogales plant is Belden's third manufacturing facility in Mexico, and at the time of its opening in 2007 prompted the phasing out of production at Belden coaxial and twisted-pair cabling facilities in Tompkinsville, KY and Fort Mill, SC. But Pfeiffer says that while “there are no details or specific plans yet” for the Nogales or Monticello facilities concerning the Mohawk/Leominster production load, the Leominster plant closing is “one of the last pieces of the puzzle” in the company's restructuring.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2009, ending late July, Belden reported revenue of $343.8 million and operating income of $4.3 million, compared to $556.3 million and $65.9 million respectively for the same time in 2008.—Steve Smith


Short runs…

ARLINGTON, VA--The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA; www.tiaonline.org) has hired Cheryl Blum, a senior manager at Alcatel-Lucent, as vice president for Standards and Business Development. Blum has been active in TIA Standards Development for more than 15 years, with a focus on wireless core network development, including its evolution to IP-based networks, and in developing Public Safety/Homeland Security standards for Lawfully Authorized Electronic Surveillance (CALEA), E911, Wireless Priority Services and Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS). She has served as chairman of Engineering Committee TR-45 Mobile and Personal Communications Systems Standards for more than eight years,and was recently elected as vice chairman of the Wireless Communications Division. Blum also represents TIA as the Head of Delegation to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2), and is also the 3GPP2 Steering Committee chairmanfor 2009-2010.

PUNE, INDIA—Sterlite Technologies Ltd. (www.sterlitetechnologies.com) says it will increase its optical fiber manufacturing capability from 6 million km to 20 million km by 2011, which it says will make it one of the top three optical-fiber manufacturers in theworld. Sterlite's Aurangabad facility is already under expansion for 12 million km production. The expanded facility, as well as a possible additional location, will manufacture the company's current optical fiber products as well as new products for global high-bandwidth applications.

CORNING, NY--Corning Inc. (www.corning.com) has been awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 2009 IEEE Corporate Innovation Recognition, which recognizes the company's contributions to optical-fiber technology and, in particular, the recent development of its ClearCurve singlemode optical fiber. The IEEE's award is presented for “outstanding and exemplary contributions in the field of electro technology by an industrialentity, governmental or academic organization, or other corporate body.” ClearCurve technology, says Corning, isan ultra-bendable fiber that can behandled like copper cables, but provides the near limitless bandwidth of opticalfiber.

SPARTANBURG, SC—AFL Telecommunications (www.afltelecom.com) recently manufactured and shipped its 150,000th kilometer of Optical Ground Wire (OPGW), said to be the first such achievement in the industry. The company first began OPGW manufacturing at its Duncan, SC plant in 1985 and has shipped the high-tech cable to more than 65 countries. OPGW serves as the ground wire for power lines while providing a path for the transmission of voice, video or data signals by incorporating optical fibers into the design. It is placed at the highest point on power utility structures.

CHELMSFORD, MA—Three of Axis Communications' network video courses have been accepted by BISCI for Continuing Education Credits and by the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) for Continuing Education Units. Network Video Fundamentals, Advanced Encoder Training, and AXIS CameraStation are part of Axis Communications' Academy training program, designed to educate and certify partners enrolled inits Channel Partner Program. TheAcademy offers courses starting at an introductory level and going on to higher levels with a focus on more specialized topics. Network Video Fundamentals,Axis' certification course, educates partners on the company's network video technologies and products, and has graduated more than 12,000 individuals in the past four years. The Camera Station and Advanced Encoder classes are advance, technical courses.


TIA urges global cooperation on communications standards

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA; www.tiaonline.org) and other participants at an inter-national gathering of the world's leading standards developing organizations meeting recently in Geneva, Switzerland highlighted the challenges of climate change as a key concern, particularly for developing countries. Participants agreed that information and communications technologies (ICTs) that are based upon global interoperable standards are critical in dealing with the climate change issue.

Studies show that the use of ICTs can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other industry sectors,especially energy generation, transportation, buildings and waste disposal. These conclusions are supported by TIA's work in launching a new Green Addendum to its annual ICT Market Review & Forecast, and developing a Green Bootcamp at SUPERCOMM in October. Also joining TIA at SUPERCOMM is The Climate Group, which is working on development of best environmental practices.

The 14th meeting of the Global Standards Collaboration (GSC) provided an opportunity for TIA to meet withother standards organizations to consider common challenges, exchange information and collaborate to address the challenges, with a goal to accelerate standards development and reduce duplication of work.

According to TIA president GrantSeiffert, the meetings “provide an excellent opportunity to meet with our worldwide colleagues and share views on emerging technologies, such as smart grid, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), 4G for IMT.ADVANCED, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications that are driving our industry to economic recovery. At the same time, we are also focusing on important issues such as accessibility, climate change, cyber security, privacy, identity management, emergency communications, intellectual property rights, reconfigurable radio systems, broadband wireless access, NGN (next-generation networks), home networks, and interoperability.”


General Cable acquires Gepco International

General Cable Corp. (www.generalcable.com) has acquired the combined companies of Gepco International, Inc. and Isotec, Inc. Gepco (www.gepco.com), a manufacturer of high-end cabling products for the professional broadcast and entertainment markets, reported 2008 revenues of approximately $46 million.

The Gepco brand products encompass a complete line of professional broadcast, entertainment and audio/visual cable; cable assemblies in both standard and custom configurations; interconnect and cable-related accessories; and a range ofoptical fiber solutions.

“With the acquisition of Gepco International and Isotec's specialty electronic cable business, General Cable expects to significantly expand its share of this important U.S. market as well as leverage [its] global sales infrastructure with this technically superior brand of multimedia cables in markets all over the world,” comments Jay Lahman, vice president and general manager for the Carol, Gepco, and Isotec brand products. We expect the market for these products to grow at roughly two times GDP in the U.S. and somewhat higher internationally due to ongoing global analog-to-digital conversions.”

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