Tratos Cavi Spa, has invested £1 million in its Tratos Ltd. manufacturing facility in Knowsley, Merseyside to ensure its long term survival as one of the last remaining cable manufacturers in the country.
The investment has primarily been made in equipment, including a new £450,000 drum twister and two extrusion lines purchased from the receivers of B3 Cables in Ireland, which have been completely refurbished.
The extrusion lines are 150mm PVC/PE extrusion line for insulation of power cable conductors or sheathing cable up to 30mm diameter and a multi-purpose line for sheathing cables up to 60mm diameter with PE or PVC plastics; the latter has been purchased with Skaltek pay-off and take-ups.
Tratos has made this substantial investment as part of a strategy to increase output and grow worldwide, at the same time distinguishing its product from low cost, poor quality, unsafe cable entering the UK market. This is in line with the Approved Cables Initiative, which aims to publicise the issues of faulty or counterfeit cables and those that are non-compliant with British, European or International Standards.
John Light, Managing Director of Tratos Ltd., explains the decision to invest: “The company in Knowsley was purchased by the Tratos group nearly three years ago. I put considerable pressure on the Italian board to commence a UK manufacturing operation due to my strong views on the decline of the cable industry here. In the last year alone, B3 in Ireland went into receivership, Prysmian have now merged with Draka and AEI cables were only recently saved from bankruptcy because their creditors accepted a small proportion of their debts; even so, they have made many redundancies.
“The UK manufacturing industry as a whole has suffered from lack of investment over the years, alongside inflated senior management salaries and dividend awards. Tratos is different. We invest our money to improve the quality of our output and quality of life for all of our employees. We hope other industries will follow our example and start to invest in manufacturing again – now is not a time to be afraid, but to take action.”
Investment in manufacturing is at the heart of the Tratos group ethos, with the UK investment following on the tails of a €6 million extension to Tratos factory in Arezzo, Italy to house Tratos’ new Continuous Vulcanisation line for completely dry curing of polymeric high voltage cables up to 132kV.
Dr Maurzio Bragagni, Export Director of Tratos, comments: “there are many black clouds hanging over Europe, but if we don’t invest, Europe as a manufacturer is finished. As a company with €150 million turnover, we have invested €10 million on new equipment in the last year alone to modernise our factories. We have high ethical and environmental goals which only modern factory facilities can meet and a desire to continually increase our competitiveness and profitability. Hence we have new, faster machines that allow us to compete with emerging countries.
“Before we bought the UK cable manufacturer that was to become Tratos Ltd., it had received no investment for nearly 30 years. You can’t expect to stay in business if you are not prepared to invest in modern machinery and in people as well. Old machines make for lack of competitive pricing which essentially equates to job losses. We believe in the capacity Great Britain has to recover itself but we must make changes in our industry to make it happen.”
In the UK Tratos manufactures and stocks an extensive product range including single and multi conductor high temperature, Fire Resistant, Low Smoke & Fume, Rubber, Energy Cables from Low Voltages up to 132kV, Railway, Motorway, Data, Fibre Optic, Oil & Gas, Shipwiring, Drum Reeling and Telecommunications, as well as Cathodic Protection, Airfield Lighting, Composite and bespoke cables.