Cable production in the DNAAug 23, 2022
The production manager has been with the same company for 50 years. His experience is worth its weight in gold now that the biggest heating cable news in many years is being launched.
Jon Snesrud started at Nexans in 1972 as an apprentice, and has since gone through the ranks in the group. In the course of 50 years, Nexans has changed fundamentally from manual fabrication and pulling of cables, to today's advanced and automated production. The number of employees has gone from 4,000 in 1972 at STK's main factory on Økern, to 120 today at one of the company's special factories which is now in Langhus.
- Ever since we started the factory, we have focused on becoming good at specialized industrial production. It is always about working smarter to be as competitive as possible. Much of this is about logistics and how we must constantly get the raw materials in at the right time. It is a well-known fact that it is expensive to produce in Norway, where we have up to 20 per cent higher wage costs. Therefore, we have to work smarter than everyone else, and we have succeeded in that, he says.
Nexans has launched its biggest news in many years. Get to know the new heating cable TQXP here
High degree of automation
Part of the recipe for success is a flat organizational structure. The shifts are run without middle managers, and the employees receive good training and defined responsibilities for their own working day. Equally important are the advanced and modern production park and machines.
- The production lines have been upgraded with smart control systems, and deliver high industrial quality. To ensure that we constantly work smarter, the degree of automation is constantly being raised, he says.
In the production hall, there are hundreds of machines for various purposes, and as many as six advanced extruder lines in addition to machines for condensation and packaging, says Snesrud.
This year he completes 30 years as production manager in the company.
Believe in the people
The factory at Langhus is one of the world's most advanced for the production of everything from industrial to specialized cables, including heating cables. Every day, 70-80 tonnes go out the doors.
It produces from two to three shifts in the factory, somewhat depending on the season, and activity is greatest from April to October.
The factory has long been a company that gives young people - and those outside the working world - the opportunity to learn a trade.
- We are keen to get people into work, and are happy to take on young apprentices. Most come in as seasonal workers, and those who persevere and are good, we offer permanent employment, he says.
Produced for Norwegian conditions
Snesrud is careful to point out that Nexans is a quality supplier that puts great resources into making products for Norwegian conditions.
- The products must work as best as possible on Norwegian construction sites and are supplemented with components that make the cables particularly well adapted to the climate we have here. We have taken the best from the international requirements and added what is required to have the best product for Norwegian conditions, he says.
Nexans was the first in the world to patent a heating cable back in 1927, and this innovation has followed the company ever since.
- We are constantly working to create solutions that are better than those already on the market.
One of the company's latest innovations is that the cables have hidden joints; i.e. smooth coat over the joints.
- We are the only ones with this function on the market. It provides easier working conditions, better quality in execution and fewer sources of error for those who install, he says, and clarifies that the local connection is worth its weight in gold in the aftermarket when customers need quick access to the manufacturer.
Should always raise the list
The production team constantly has an ambition to find new methods and techniques that provide smarter and more sustainable processes in the production hall.
- We must constantly raise the bar and create new standards for what provides the best working conditions for Norwegian electricians.
The culture of innovation also contributes to high levels of well-being and low turnover in the workplace.
- The fact that people don't quit here contributes to a very good working environment, and not least safer production. We constantly try to do what is best for the employees, because the better they are, the higher the quality of the products, he says.
This also applies to the new blue heating cable TQXP, which replaces the market leader TKXP.
- We have been working on replacing the lead cable for several years, and have been particularly concerned with achieving equally good or better laying properties. Here we have worked together with installers in the development and achieved a very good product that provides even better working conditions for the installers.
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