A manufacturer, who has been making cable insulation products with PVC plastics for many years, was seeking to expend its activity to silicone rubber extrusion to satisfy changing market demand and comply with more stringent fire regulations. The customer wanted to make the change, knowing that silicone linings for electrical wires and cables ensure better insulation and improve safety. In case of fire, for example, silicone-based safety cables can withstand 90 minutes of fire without short-circuiting and produce lower levels of smoke and toxic gas emissions, giving people more time to leave the premises and enabling rescue teams to do their work and save human lives.
This potential customer met Elkem Silicones specialists on their stand at the K-2016 Trade Fair in Dusseldorf. After having carefully assessed the customer's needs, which required collaboration between a wide range of industrial, electrical and chemical specialists, Elkem Silicones was instrumental in setting up a partnership with the customer and an experienced manufacturer of silicone extrusion equipment and systems.
The cable manufacturer had to deal with a series of major challenges to succeed. First, the company had to make strategic decisions concerning the materials and equipment to be used and then find the best solutions to finance and build a profitable state-of-the-art production line. Second, with these new capacities, the customer would be broadening the spectrum of their offer and would therefore need to market and sell higher-level products to more demanding customers. Elkem worked closely with the customer to ensure that all of these considerations were properly managed and that the new facilities were immediately efficient, as well as being sustainable in the long run.
In January 2017, before full-scale industrial production was launched, Elkem Silicones delivered a 250kg batch of a specially tuned Ready-To-Use (RTU) silicone product to the customer in order to perform tests at the extruder production plant. These tests were carried out jointly by the customer, the extrusion manufacturing equipment partner and Elkem Silicones.
Elkem Silicones applied its guiding value principle to the project: "Because We Care". This was a key to the success of the undertaking, consolidated in three strategic meetings that took place from September to April, focusing on key operational issues, including network sharing, the design of supply-chain solutions, technical exchange and training. The customer could appreciate Elkem Silicones' help to reduce risk in this new technology launch.
Today, this manufacturer of silicone cable and wire insulation solutions is producing more high-value-added products and is opening up new market opportunities, serving a wide array of consumer needs and public authority requirements. Elkem Silicones is proud to have contributed to its customer's success to supply better products that ensure people's comfort and safety.