HUBER+SUHNER supplies premium product solutions to the wind industry. Its range of fibre-optic cables and turbine connections reliably transmit data to and from control centres in the harshest environmental conditions. Rico Schoeni, market manager for industry, discusses the evolution of the company's C-parts, and how it is scaling its products in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.
Please could you tell us a bit about the importance of having future-ready and robust C-parts?
Rico Schoeni: Our parts are generally handled under the big section of C-parts as the value of the parts does not justify any higher ranking. However, the importance of having a future-ready communication network can't be denied, as future applications will demand more bandwidth. With a future-ready solution, any upgrade or shift in bandwidth can be handled with much less or even without any significant investment in adapting the network. When you consider how vital it is to ensure there is reliable data transmission for big wind-energy operations and generator parts remain protected despite the harsh operating conditions, it is clear how important these C-parts are.
What are some of the major challenges in C-part production and how does HUBER+SUHNER overcome them?
One of the major challenges is that the cost pressure on C-parts in general is very high. HUBER+SUHNER, therefore, focuses on using the most cost-effective components to keep prices down. The high performance required of these C-parts and the special environments in which they operate necessitate that there is no compromise on quality whatsoever.
There are strict installation requirements for C-parts. How do you ensure your products are user-friendly?
We work very closely with design and maintenance engineers and use their experience, insight and knowledge to help us. Working collaboratively significantly improves our products and makes them the most user-friendly option on the market. Another key point we try to remember as a company is not to settle for what we have done before. We don't want to be satisfied by our past achievements, but rather strive to improve in the future. Especially when it comes to important commodities such as wind turbines, every seemingly minor improvement can help to optimise the overall costs.
How is the company increasing the scalability of its products while still keeping costs down and its environmental footprint light?
HUBER+SUHNER constantly evolves, raising the current standard higher with each product. We focus on our footprint, density, installer-friendliness as well as technology shifts. By having all of these different parameters in mind, we can always be working towards the solutions of tomorrow. Ultimately, by valuing forward thinking, we can focus on keeping costs down.
In what ways does the company keep ahead of the changing needs of the wind industry?
We are an innovative technology company, so we pride ourselves on staying ahead of our competitors and the evolving demands of our customers. By focusing on finding creative and effective solutions that are cost-effective and future-proof, we manage to produce relevant and globally available products. The last point is important, as we believe that the need for global availability will be an essential feature for manufacturers and suppliers in the near future.
What can we expect to see from the company in the future?
We will continue to focus our energy on maximising density and optimising user-friendliness. Beginning in 2017, we will be able to terminate up to 24 fibres within our harsh-environment outdoor connector, which will double the capacity of existing connectors. In addition, we will look at how we can improve our inside-cabinet solutions to reduce complexity even further and move the fibre-optic transition parts closer to the active equipment.