Ducab HV – Powering Region

Ducab took off in 1979 on the wings of a budding yet ambitious nation. The goal was to meet the anticipated needs of an expanding infrastructure and to power the United Arab Emirates into the group of industrialised countries. Thirty years later, the company is the leading provider of cables to the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the Federal Electricity & Water Authority of the UAE and Kaharmaa, the utility services provider in Qatar. Ducab operates five factories across the UAE with over 1,100 employees and a manufacturing capacity of 110,000 copper tons annually.

In 2009 Ducab first announced the start of an AED 500 million (approx. EUR 104 million) high-voltage project, Ducab-HV, a joint venture between Ducab, ADWEA and DEWA. On November 29, 2011, H.H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated Ducab-HV’s new factory in a ceremony attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court. Senior managers from the joint venture partners, key suppliers and other regional leaders were also present at the event. Ducab-HV aims at manufacturing and selling cable systems in the voltage range 66kV to 400kV, thereby covering the highest voltage currently used in the GCC.

The new plant covers a built area of 30,000 sqm on a 93,000 sqm premises at the Ducab Jebel Ali site and has the capability of manufacturing 1500 km, or 30,000 tons, of high- voltage underground cable per year, using 15,000 tons of copper.

The brand new company has a state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory for specialised testing and world-class R&D. The laboratory construction is based on a Faraday Cage design to minimize electrical interference, and the facility carries out testing at elevated temperatures to simulate fully load- ed conditions.

The laboratory offers voltage testing to 600 kV, and lightning simulation to 1,900 kV. At the opening ceremony of Ducab-HV, we met Jon Vail, CEO of Ducab-HV.

Mr. Vail, what are Ducab-HV’s key selling points?

“Ducab-HV offers high quality cabling products that meet and exceed the highest voltages currently used in the GCC, which will reduce the need to import these products from other suppliers.

One of the biggest selling points is Ducab’s unre­mitting commitment to quality. The plant’s most prominent characteristic is a 148 m tower hous­ing state-of-the-art extrusion equipment designed to ensure that the very high-voltage products are manufactured to the highest standards necessary to provide faultless service. The tower also con­tains a series of clean room facilities in the top lev­els to ensure no contamination of the critical cable insulation.”

Mr. Vail, what are your sales expectations over the next five years?

“We are expecting sales of AED 500 million (approx. EUR 104 million) by 2016.”

What makes Ducab-HV environmentally sustain­able?

“The Ducab-HV plant makes extensive use of natural lighting to reduce power consumption. It also recycles its waste water, and uses technology that prioritizes efficient water use. An advanced building management system optimizes resources and energy consumption.”

What is the size of the Ducab-HV team?

“Ducab-HV is expected to have a full complement of 130 employees when at peak operation. At present moment, UAE nationals make up 25% of the managerial and staff ranks. Ducab-HV is committed to the training and development of lo­cal engineering talent. At the same time, we have three highly experienced international managers from three separate continents that bring international experience and global best practices to the venture.”

Mr. Vail, what are the key factors when choosing your suppliers?

“HV and EHV (Extra High Voltage) projects require the most advanced wire and cable technology. The quality and reliability of each component in the entire system is critical to the success of projects. Therefore we expect our suppliers to strive for perfection in everything that they do, from technological innovation and exceptional quality of the final product through to utilising best-in-class supply chain prac­tices and incorporating all relevant environmental and social aspects in their business activities.”

This is the reason why Sampsistemi is so proud to be one of Ducab-HV’s key suppliers. A complete twin rod breakdown line has been successfully installed at the new Jebel Ali facility. The line comprises two automatic pay-offs for jumbo coils with automatic changeover; one dual wire rod breakdown machine with wire inlet 8.00 mm dia. and wire outlet 1.50; one dual wire continuous annealer and one manual dynamic spooler with the possibility of winding two wires of max. 2.6 mm dia. on one reel.

Alessandro Spagnuolo, Sales Area Manager of Sampsistemi, declared: “We were delighted to accept the invitation to attend the launch of Ducab-HV and witness a tour of the new production and laboratory facilities, which are really impressive. Ducab is one of Sampsistemi’s longest standing customers in the region and we look forward to continued fruitful co-operation.”