Founded in the UK in 1998, Cimteq is the market-leading software provider for the global wire and cable manufacturing industry. Powered by state-of-the-art technology, Cimteq’s innovative software and support services enable manufacturers across the globe to implement fully integrated Industry 4.0 solutions, allowing enhanced profitability through improved productivity and streamlined business and manufacturing processes. Cimteq software solutions are currently used in over 250 plants in 44 countries. Interview with James Concannon, Commercial Account Manager at Cimteq Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? James Concannon: At Cimteq, we work with manufacturers of all sizes in the wire and cable industry to help them embrace Industry 4.0. Essential automation practices and the establishment of a fully synced and integrated system is vital for any wire and cable manufacturer looking to future-proof its business and maximize the efficiency of their manufacturing processes. Reducing downtime of machines, reducing scrap and waste, and identifying errors and bottlenecks early on, can all be achieved through automation and smartification. In addition, systems can be implemented alongside existing assets to move towards a smart factory cost-effectively with speed and little disruption. We offer a full suite of integrated Industry 4.0 solutions for wire and cable manufacturers across the globe, from initial design and quotation to manufacturing processes, MES and ERP. We enable our customers to embrace smart factory processes to maximize assets, increase productivity and maximize profitability. E.E: What’s the news about new products? J.C: Our most recent product launch saw us strengthen our CableBuilder offering, with CableBuilder Go – developed specifically for single-factory and smaller wire and cable manufacturers. CableBuilder Go offers a new way for manufacturers to have the flexibility to act with greater speed and efficiency, and to respond to changing customer demands by enabling seamless cable design, costing and quotation functionality. Mike Braddock, CEO at Cimteq, said: “With the introduction of CableBuilder Go, we are now able to assist manufacturers of all sizes within the wire and cable manufacturing industry. Our expertise in providing specialist manufacturing software has positioned us as market leaders, so we are confident that CableBuilder Go will be a sound investment for any single-factory manufacturers looking to grow.” Chris Huntly, CableBuilder Product Manager, said: “The many benefits this software brings will give customers improved control over their design and quotation process by accurately calculating material quantities and production costs. This is used to generate quotations for customers as well as BOMs and machine routings for production. For most clients, CableBuilder Go requires a maximum of two weeks implementation time, meaning users are up and running and building financial returns within a matter of weeks.” Additional features and benefits of CableBuilder Go include: Protects financial margins;Avoids over-pricing or under-pricing products;Produces professional and accurate customer quotations;Replaces in-house systems;Access product information on-demand and from anywhere in the world. Chris Huntly continues: “The wire and cable marketplace is ever-changing, so having the right tools available to meet these challenges is crucial in today’s market. CableBuilder Go is one of these tools. Designs and quotations can be produced in as little as 30 minutes, giving our customers the competitive edge.” CableBuilder Go is available now for demonstration and implementation. E.E: What are the ranges of products? J.C: Alongside CableBuilder Go, described above, Cimteq offers two additional solutions that take industry 4.0 implementation to next level CableBuilder Enterprise Cimteq’s design and costing software, CableBuilder Enterprise, is now used in hundreds of factories worldwide to simplify the complex management of cable-design data, from the initial design concept through to delivering the full bill-of-materials directly to the ERP system. One benefit CableBuilder Enterprise is having an accurate understanding of what it takes to produce a cable before the manufacturing process begins. Achieving accurate designs and having a complete understanding of costs is paramount, and through this specific software program, cable designs and customer quotations can be produced accurately. Real-time quotes, including variable-length cost calculations and up-to-the-minute raw material costs, are an added benefit in preventing over or under-pricing. In addition, the hugely valuable “What if?” scenarios for individual designs allow manufacturers to see what impact different scenarios, such as a change of material or routing, would have. Having access to process details such as set up, run time, speed, and cost has advantages in that schedules, staff rotas, and machine allocation can be planned precisely. This robust software system allows for centralized management of all designs providing many benefits that positively impact all departments of any manufacturing plant. By having to no longer depend on software developers to define what and how outputs are calculated, Software Dedicated to Cable Design Processes & Quotation Procedures CableBuilder allows teams to set up their specific standards and rules according to their exact needs. Additional design process benefits include: The entire design structure and process is accessible via a “design tree”;The ability to design from scratch or copy-and-design (“Same As But…”);Design alternatives allow alternate RM suppliers/machine routings across plants;Design versioning. Who did what, when and why;BOM and Routing into Excel allowing “What ifs”;Mass extraction of design parameters/materials into Excel;Mass update feature via a software module or Excel uploads;Mass design creation feature from Excel;Set up of cable datasheets to be automatically generated from the design onto specific templates;Catalogue generation. Furthermore, centralised design knowledge achieved through CableBuilder Enterprise can significantly save time and improve efficiencies. More often than not, in plants where smart factory software doesn’t play a role, design knowledge is distributed across Excel sheets, certain individuals and homegrown databases resulting in information silos that bring with them a whole host of potential issues. CableBuilder Enterprise can capture the data and knowledge from these silos and make it accessible to the right people at the right time. Harnessing existing expertise and the invaluable expertise of crucial personnel allows for a bespoke set-up that works to specific standards and helps achieve targets. Modular licensing across design, quotation, manufacturing and QA modules ensures that manufacturers have a system relevant to their unique daily processes. CableMES For CableMES, we applied our +20 year pedigree to developing the system; it is the only MES on the market that is bespoke to wire and cable manufacturing. This powerful vehicle for business process affords continuous improvement throughout the manufacturing value chain and acts as a catalyst for cultural change. Investing in MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) enables manufacturers to monitor, control and execute real-time cable production. Furthermore, CEOs and CFOs will be assured that the most robust data supports business-critical decisions. Together with one of the world’s best-known automation software providers, Wonderware by AVEVA, CableMES supports wire and cable manufacturers to effectively plan, manage and control every aspect of the manufacturing process. This software uses the latest industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technology to optimise large-scale cable manufacturing operations. In a recent case study with one of our customers, we learned how CableMES helped save the company $40,000 worth of scrap, thanks to early warning systems. Our customer said: Before our investment in CableMES in 2016, we simply would not have been aware of the defect until the final test before shipping, as this is the first point at which the product is optically tested. Scrapping an entire reel (which we estimate at $40,000) would have been costly enough. Add to that the outlay of rearranging shipping and committing machines and operators to a second run, and the cost to our business would have risen exponentially. It’s hugely reassuring for us that the ever-vigilant CableMES is there to give us an early warning of production issues. Unnecessary cost, frustration and product delivery delays avoided!” Our products can be implemented as stand-alone systems and easily integrated with existing manufacturing systems. Conversely, we can offer a full suite of software solutions that enable manufacturers to digitalize their operations, including design and quotation software, MES and ERP. Demonstrations of all products and consultations are available. Visit: https://cimteq.com/en/book-a-consultation/ E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? J.C: Industry 4.0 and the term “smart factory” is everywhere in the world of manufacturing, and whilst many might question the logic behind embracing “smart” processes – based on the premise that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – there is a real danger that avoidance could prove costly in terms of long-term profitability and productivitWire and cable manufacturers who choose not to “move with the times” and embrace smart factory processes run the risk of being left behind their competitors and manufacturing at a slower, sub-standard and more costly pace. Our mission is to ultimately help our customers and the industry to improve manufacturing processes to maximise productivity and profitability. Essential automation practices and establishing a fully synced and integrated system is vital for any wire and cable manufacturer looking to future-proof its business and fully understand how efficient their manufacturing processes are. Smart factory processes will undoubtedly improve engineering operations and bring significant benefits to shop floor processes. Still, it is also essential to look at the bigger picture and see how smart factory integrations positively impact all elements of a business. > Cost reduction: One of the most costly occurrences in the factory environment is waste or scrap. Specifically, not identifying an issue with non-conformance until it is too late. With 70%- 80% of cable cost relating to raw material alone, any optimization in this area presents an immediate opportunity to improve the bottom line; > Error reduction: With increased competition, the margin for profitability may already be slim, and a manufacturer cannot afford any issues that add to the sale cost through rework or late delivery penalties. The loss of a customer’s trust and confidence in a supplier’s ability to meet contractual requirements is perhaps the most costly and long-lasting of all; > Competitive edge: As well as retaining more customers, companies investing in smart factory processes can expect to win additional business. The capabilities offered by digitization, data and software reassure customers that they are partnering with a technologically-advanced partner able to drive down end-product cost through optimum resource management and with the highest production visibility. Our customers range from small single factory manufacturing plants to multi-plant, global businesses. We operate worldwide with customers in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia. Our vast experience in the wire and cable industry spans many industry sectors with specific requirements. These sectors include Energy Cables, Communication Cables, Industrial Cables, Fibre Optic Cables, Offshore and Subsea Cables and Speciality Cables. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? J.C: The recent pandemic hit many industries hard, but the wire and cable industry weathered the storm pretty well. Power cable demand continues to drive the market with high voltage connections and grid interconnections expected to fuel the industry. In addition, the upgrading of power grids in the US, the subsequent power transmission and distribution requirements and the establishment of smart grids will drive the industry along with the demand for submarine and underground cables. Another significant factor in the industry’s growth is the rising urbanization and rapidly growing building infrastructures. Investments in infrastructure and networked environments globally increase power demand. Furthermore, the increasing demand for renewable energy requires specialist products to assist with increasing offshore wind farms and electric vehicle markets. We help our customers position themselves perfectly to embrace the demands of their customers and meet the ever-changing needs of the growing industry. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? J.C: The world of manufacturing is awash with smart factory systems with numerous software program claiming to bring innovation to the wire and cable industry Cimteq is the only software solutions provider designing and implementing products aimed solely at the wire and cable manufacturing industry. This sets us apart from other providers. Industry experts design our unique software programs specifically for the industry. By having a clear understanding of the daily pain points wire and cable manufacturers face, our team of experts can design products and support services dedicated to alleviating these issues. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? J.C: We take pride in our deep knowledge of not only the industry in which we operate, as solution providers to manufacturers and the markets, but also the market in which our customers operate. We are fully aware of political, environmental and regulatory implications on the industry as a whole, ultimately helping our customers pre-empt buyer and industry demands. We will continue to develop our existing product range and work closely with customers and other industry experts to look at ways to enhance our offering. The future of the wire and cable industry looks extremely promising. As our customers themselves grow and diversify, we will work tirelessly to provide the best solutions for them as they flourish.