ATC's optical fibre production to be trebled by early-2002
9 May 2001
ATC Africa's sole manufacturer of optical fibre and leading manufacturer and supplier of turnkey communication cabling projects has grasped the opportunity presented by the world shortage of optical fibre and its favourable impact on pricing to expand its optical fibre manufacturing capacity.
Cobus Malan, Managing Director, ATC
The company has decided to treble its fibre manufacturing capacity over the next 12 months. In addition, the optical fibre cable plant's capacity will be increased to match that of the fibre plant.
Says Optical Fibre Division General Manager Graham du Preez: "It is estimated that the world shortage in optical fibre will continue until 2004. Our expansion is due for completion by March next year, so we will be in a position to take advantage of this and at the same time establish ourselves more firmly in the world market as a supplier of optical fibre cable."
The expansion, which is already under way, will be done in two phases:
* The current R10m first phase, due for completion in March this year, will increase current capacity by 35%. It entails equipping the second shaft of the existing dual-shaft 22 m high drawing tower, and acquiring additional test equipment.
* The second phase, due for completion by March 2002, will increase optical fibre production capacity by a further 80%. This involves erecting a second 22 m high optical fibre dual drawing tower, upgrading the glass preform process to produce 200 km preforms instead of the 100 km preforms produced at present, and acquiring additional test equipment.
Phase 2, which will cost R60m, includes extension of the fibre cable plant, in which production capacity will be increased by 65%.
Equipping the other side of the existing 22 m high optical fibre dual drawing tower
"This is a really exciting development - it represents by far the biggest single capital expenditure since the inception of the plant," is Du Preez's comment about the Phase 2 expansion.
Wilfried Müller, Manufacturing Executive, says among its positive effects will be an approximate 30% increase in the optical fibre cable plant's workforce.
Work on Phase 2 commenced recently, some of the equipment having been ordered in early February.
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