In 2011, Nexans North America celebrated its 100th anniversary in business. The original company, Canada Wire and Cable Company, is now part of a global organization with nearly 26,000 employees and operations in all areas of the wire and cable market.
Much has changed in the business during a century but some fundamental features remain the same: continual product innovation, a customer service focus, operational excellence, and excellent people.
Nexans is a responsible industrial company. Its approach to sustainable development is founded on innovative products, solutions and services, employee development and engagement, safe industrial practices, and limiting environmental impact.
Nexans North America is headquartered in Markham, Ontario and in 2012 employed 1,700 people, the majority of whom were employed at eight manufacturing facilities. North American operations are made up of four divisions: Energy, Berk-Tek, Electronics Cables and The Valley Group.
Among the many kinds of copper and aluminum power cable and wire products manufactured by Nexans North America are armoured or unarmoured cables for buried applications, armoured cables for installations with exposure to physical or environmental damage, unarmoured wires and cables which can be used in damp, dry or wet locations, overhead and underground primary transmission cables and secondary distribution cables, and cables designed to address unique installation or service requirements. Products are used in conduits and raceways or as general building wiring in industrial, commercial and residential premises, on the factory floor as control cables for industrial automation systems and machinery, in electric utility overhead and underground power transmission lines and power distribution lines, in floor radiant heating systems, and on exposed or buried structures in cathodic protection systems.
For communications networks the Company manufactures unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and foil screened twisted pair (FTP) copper local area network cables, including Category 5e and Augmented Category 6 cables. The Company’s tight buffered and loose tube fiber optic cable offering includes pre-terminated cables, cables for installation in interbuilding network backbone structures, and cables for harsh network environments. Nexans North America also manufactures integrated power and data cable systems for security and surveillance systems, and coaxial cable television cables. The Company’s OneReach integrated power and data cable solution extends service beyond the 100 meters of conventional Power over Ethernet solutions.
Nexans North America manufactures a wide range of high-temperature and high-performance electronic wires and cables utilizing conventional thermo-plastics, cross-linked materials and high-temperature fluoropolymers. These products are employed in communications, control, instrumentation, signal and power applications by the aeronautics, space, defence, shipbuilding, automotive, industrial and appliance manufacturing markets. The Company’s expertise in materials technologies enables it to offer a variety of materials for insulating, jacketing and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. Among the electronic cable products supplied by the Company are the power, control and signal cables used in NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity robots, which began exploring the surface of Mars in January 2004.
The CAT-1 Transmission Line Monitoring System provides accurate real-time thermal ratings for overhead transmission lines by monitoring mechanical line tension. Rating information allows electric utilities to increase the amount of power running through their transmission lines. Offered in conjunction with the CAT-1 System, the RateKit Thermal Rating Toolkit is a software tool for facilitating rating calculations.
In Montréal-Est, Québec, Nexans North America owns a continuous cast copper rod mill which produces more than 200,000 tonnes of copper rod per year. Copper cathode input is supplied by the nearby copper refinery of a major international mining, smelting and refining company. Customers for copper rod output comprise Nexan’s own cable and wire manufacturing operations, other cable and wire manufacturers in Canada, customers in the United States, and international customers
The Nexans Energy Division designs and manufactures cables used in power and communications cables with wide application. Facilities in Fergus, Ontario and Chester, New York manufacture low voltage building wire, commercial cable and industrial cable, while a facility in Weyburn, Saskatchewan manufactures medium voltage cable. Berkeley County, South Carolina is the site of Nexans' extra high voltage underground cable manufacturing facility.
Berk-Tek manufactures high-performance copper local area network (LAN) cables at its New Holland, Pennsylvania facility and fiber optic cables products used for high-speed voice, data and video transmission at its facility in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
Nexans Electronic Cables, located in Elm City, North Carolina, manufactures high-performance wire and cable for defence, aerospace, shipboard, industrial and automotive applications.
The Valley Group of Ridgefield, Connecticut engages in the development and sale of the CAT-1 Transmission Line Monitoring System.
The Nexans Data Communications Competence Center is located in New Holland, Pennsylvania. This is a specialized research and development facility which evaluates the latest technologies in order to develop new, advanced network cable and wire products.
Nexans began in North America as Canada Wire and Cable Company Limited, founded in Toronto in 1911. The impetus for Canada Wire’s establishment was the expansion of hydro-electric power generation in the Province of Ontario at the beginning of the 20th century and the resulting need for primary and secondary distribution cable to transport electricity to Ontario communities.
Production began in the Canada Wire’s original plant on the banks of the Don River in Toronto. The Company’s founders had originally intended to manufacture both electrical wires and steel wire rope. Copper wire, specifically copper conductor wrapped in cotton braid and saturated with a weatherproof compound, was much in demand by Ontario’s electrical-power transmission company and Ontario municipalities, so the new company quickly added to its production equipment to meet this demand. The market for electrical wires proved to be so large that the company’s production of steel wire rope did not get under way until 1919.
In 1913 Canada Wire acquired equipment enabling it to produce building wire, used as feeders and branch circuits in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The Company’s initial building wire products consisted of single or stranded copper conductor with a rubber compound applied on top and then covered by cotton braid finished with wax. In addition the Company started supplying another manufacturer with bare rectangular copper wire and thereby began its involvement with magnet wire production.
A major opportunity arose during the 1920’s when a major copper deposit was discovered in northwestern Quebec. The deposit’s owner, Noranda Mines Ltd., opened a refining plant in Montréal-Est in 1929 and bought a significant interest in Canada Wire in 1930. In 1931 a copper rod mill was opened adjacent to the Noranda refinery in order to provide a supply of raw material to the Canada Wire plant in Toronto and to satisfy U.S.-based demand for large quantities of wire. In 1982 the copper rod mill was modernized as a continuous cast mill.
At the time of the First World War Canada Wire had established a plant in the Town of Leaside (later a part of Toronto). This plant was used as a munitions manufacturing operation to supply the needs of Great Britain. During the 1920’s and early 1930’s much of the plant complex was used by the Durant Motor Company for automobile production. During the 1930’s Canada Wire began utilizing the entire complex for its wire and cable production and expanded the facilities there. The complex was to remain the primary Company production location for many decades.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s Canada Wire expanded its sales and manufacturing locations across the country in order to serve its growing, nationwide customer base.
In 1965 Noranda Mines Ltd. made Canada Wire a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Also in the mid-1960’s a cable manufacturing facility was constructed in Fergus, Ontario as a joint venture between Canada Wire and partner Essex Wire under the name Fergus Cables. In 1968 Canada Wire and Cable acquired Essex Wire’s interest and renamed the facility Canwireco.
The Chester, New York plant was founded in 1945 as Chester Cable Corporation. In its early years the plant manufactured simple electrical wire and cable for defence and consumer applications. During the 1960’s production shifted to cable for electronics applications. In the early 1980’s lightweight cable for high technology applications was added. The business was acquired by Alcatel in 1979.
In 1991 Alcatel Cable S.A. purchased Canada Wire from Noranda Inc. and began operating all its existing North American cable operations under the name Alcatel Canada Wire.
In 1992 Alcatel acquired a plant in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. This facility, which produced data transmission cables and copper telephone cables, was originally known as Western Wire and Cable and had opened in 1952. The plant was restructured and expanded shortly after its acquisition and relaunched as a power cable production facility. Further plant expansions occurred in 1996 and 2000.
Berk-Tek was acquired by Alcatel in 1993. Originally named Berkshire Technical Products, the company was founded in 1961 in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania as a manufacturer of high-temperature wire products. The company was moved to New Holland, Pennsylvania in 1985, by which time it was expanding into fiber optic cable production. In 1990 a second production facility was established in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
In 1996 Alcatel sold the plant complex in Leaside and moved the headquarters for its North American cables business to Markham, Ontario.
In 1998 Alcatel acquired the Elm City, North Carolina facility, which was manufacturing high temperature cable for aerospace and industrial applications. The Elm City plant had been established by its original owner in 1957 and had specialized in high performance cable manufacture throughout its history.
During 2001, in a global reorganization, Alcatel separated its Alcatel Cables and Components business from its telecommunications equipment and signalling businesses to establish Nexans, a stand-alone public company focusing on energy and communications cables.
A major acquisition in the North American market, made in 2007, was the acquisition of the Valley Group. The Valley Group was founded in 1990 in Ridgefield, Connecticut with the mission of finding a more accurate method of providing thermal ratings for transmission lines. This lead to the invention of the CAT-1 Transmission Line Monitoring System in 1991.
A greenfield development in Berkeley County, South Carolina became the site of Nexans' new extra high voltage underground cable manufacturing facility. This facility was placed into production in 2014.