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How is the construction boom affecting the local cable industry? Jonathan Vail, general manager, technical of manufacturer Ducab outlines the company's plans for the future and the factors that are influencing change in the sector.

How is the construction boom affecting the local cable industry? Jonathan Vail, general manager, technical of manufacturer Ducab outlines the company's plans for the future and the factors that are influencing change in the sector.

Who are you?

Jonathan Vail, general manager, technical of Ducab.

Prior to joining Ducab in 2001, I was the technical director of BICC Cables UK. I am a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a chartered engineer and board member of the British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC).

What products and services does Ducab provide?

Ducab is a leading manufacturer of power cables and supplier of the Ducab Connect brand of cable components and accessories. Its product range includes medium voltage power cables up to 33kV; low voltage power cables in the range 1-3.3kV; building wires; control and auxiliary cables; lead-sheathed cables for the oil, gas and petrochemicals industry; fire performance cables; Ducab Connect cable jointing systems and accessories. The firm also provides jointer training and certification.

In which countries does Ducab supply products?

Ducab supplies cables to the local and regional markets as well as selected international markets. Its market includes the GCC countries, Iran, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jordan and the UK.

How long has the firm been active in the Middle East?

Ducab was established in 1979 as a joint venture between the government of Dubai and the UK's BICC Group. In 2000 Ducab became a 100% UAE company, with equal ownership between the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Ducab started with a single facility in Jebel Ali industrial area; it now operates facilities in Dubai (Jebel Ali) and Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Industrial City).

Do the products require any special materials to suit the environmental conditions of the Middle East region?

Yes, as the regional climate has very high ultraviolet (uv) levels it is important that the materials used have uv-resistance and are colour-fast. In addition to this, precautions need to be taken during manufacturing to ensure that the high temperatures and humidity, particularly during summer months, do not affect the product quality.

On which Middle East projects are Ducab's products currently being used?

Ducab's cables are being used in many major local and international projects. Some of the major projects on which the products are currently being installed are Dubai International Airport expansion; Burj Dubai; Jumeirah Beach Residence; Jumeirah Lake projects; Bahrain City Centre; Bahrain World Trade Centre; Qatar Gas project; Ras Gas Project, Qatar; and GASCO OGD3 in the UAE.

What prompted the firm's recent expansion plans?

The Middle East economy over recent years has grown spectacularly. GCC countries are expected to continue with their strong economic growth path. Development is not only confined to the real estate sector, but is also in the oil and gas, tourism, industrial and power generation sectors. Realising the regional growth and to meet customer demand for quality cables, Ducab is expanding the production capacity in both of its Dubai and Abu Dhabi factories.

With the increased investment we are seeing in the construction sector and the growing demand for power and electricity that goes with it, the demand for quality cables will naturally increase. Ducab, being a leading manufacturer of cables in the Middle East region, strives to be at the forefront of the regional development, fulfilling demands for quality cables and complete cable solutions.

What additional products and services are being introduced and why?

The company's expansion in the Middle East will focus on the manufacture of power cables, building wires and cables of specialist designs at both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi factory sites.

Operations in the two factories will be reorganised to give dedicated state-of-the-art production facilities for particular ranges of cable.

Will more staff be employed as a result of the recent company expansion?

The new expansions will definitely create opportunities to employ more staff in all areas of the development. It will also enable career development for the firm's current staff.

How will the change in cable core colour use in Hong Kong affect Ducab?

The changes to cable core colours in Hong Kong involve the adoption of the European harmonised colours now given in the British Standards. Ducab is happy to supply cable in these colours and currently does this for some export markets.

For the regional market in the Middle East, it would be necessary to have a co-ordinated action between the various authorities to change core colours without incurring a safety risk.

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