Topic of the Month May 2010

Picture 1: More than 69,000 visitors in five days turned the exhibition centre into a vibrant place Source: Messe Düssedorf

From April 12 to 16, 2010 companies from the wire, cable and tube industry showcased their latest technological developments at the trade fairs wire 2010 and Tube 2010. With more than 2,400 exhibitors from more than 60 countries wire and Tube underscored their status as the global No 1 trade fairs of their respective industries.

Every two years, for five days trade fairs wire and Tube turn the exhibition centre in the German city of Dusseldorf into a huge factory building. It is one of the fairs' special features that exhibitors bring their machinery and run it on site. Being conducted together for the twelfth time in a row, both trade fairs could once more increase the number of exhibitors compared to the previous record year 2008. Of course, cable, wire and tube manufacturers have also felt the effects of the global economic and financial crisis. However, says Friedrich-Georg Kehrer, director of wire and Tube, “in difficult times companies focus their activities on the No. 1 trade fair of their industry.“

Following their successful premiere in 2008 pipelines and Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) sectors participated for the second time. For example, Bergrohr from Germany presented a large diameter steel pipe with a copper-nickel liner inside. It allows for transportation of severely corrosive media such as sour oil and gas as well as seawater averting damage of the pressure resistant carbon steel case. For the first time ever, the sectors profiles and profile technology showcased machinery and systems manufacturing profiles in a variety of materials and shapes.

Efficiency and quality management were two of the dominant themes this year. The German Sikora AG, specialist for measuring, control and test equipment for the wire and cable as well as the tube and hose industry, showcased amongst others a new generation of laser diameter gauges for precision diameter measurement with 2,500 measurements per second and measuring up to 0.2 micrometers precisely. Zumbach Electronic AG from Switzerland showed an advanced surface inspection system for, amongst others, cables, pipes and hoses. State-of-the-art image processing is supposed to allow for perfect surface inspection, says Keith F. Donahue, Vice President Sales at Zumbach.

Picture 2: Lubricants for each kind of wire Source: Condat GmbH

For years, cable, wire and tube manufacturers have been bothered by rising and fluctuating commodity prices (see Topic of the Month October 2009). Thus, another important theme of this year's trade fairs was the reduction of material costs by substituting expensive metals such as copper and nickel. Cable maker Nexans Deutschland presented its selection of bimetal wires with steel and aluminium cores, reducing the amount of copper and thus reducing material costs. In many applications, the fact that the electrical conductivity of the core is not as high does not play a role, says Peter Forkert, Director Sales & Marketing for Bare Conductors at Nexans Deutschland
GmbH. Instead, aluminium cores offer weight advantages while steel cores offer high tensile strength. Responding to fluctuating nickel prices over the last years, Viega GmbH has designed nickel-free tubes for drinking water installations, using high-quality stainless steel instead.
New environmental and health regulations require advancement of lubricants. Condat and Lubrimetal presented lubricants and coatings with little or no borax at all since lubricants containing more than 6,5% Borax have been classified as toxic by the European Commission.

Both Dusseldorf-based trade fairs have once more lived up to their reputation of attracting qualified visitors with serious buying intentions. „You never get so many potential customers in one place at one time”, says Phillip Knight, Executive Secretary of the International Tube Association (ITA). This time, more than 69,000 visitors strolled through what Stephen Wood, Chairman of the International Wire & Machinery Association (IWMA) calls the “most comprehensive showcase of the world” of the wire, cable and tube industries. Exhibitors reported constructive talks and a vivid buying interest, nurturing hopes for a vibrant post-exhibition business.

Florian Wassenberg

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