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Prysmian unveils nation's first extra-high voltage cable plant, state's tallest building in Abbeville

GSA Daily Staff Report
Published Oct. 21, 2009

Prysmian Cables & Systems, a worldwide leader in power and telecommunication cable industry, is preparing to begin operations at the first extra-high voltage, vertical continuous vulcanization power cable factory in North America.

The $46 million plant in Abbeville reduces the need for North American imports of extruded extra high voltage technology, paper oil impregnated cable types and overhead power lines – critical goals of both U.S. and Canadian energy policy, the Lexington-based cables maker said. At 373 feet, the tower is the state's tallest building.

Prysmian Photo “The Prysmian investment will address the expected overhaul of the nation’s grid after 30 years of under-investment in the electrical grid reliability and efficiency, and meets the challenges represented by the advance of renewable energy and the emergence of smart grid enabling technologies,” said Martin Hanchard, President and CEO of Prysmian’s North American operations.

“This breakthrough incorporates over 130 years of leading-edge technology and manufacturing know-how developed and deployed globally by Prysmian. Now, that very same technology and know-how is available in North America,” he said.

Building the unique manufacturing tower created some new expertise for area businesses, including the general contractor Yeargin Potter Shackelford, and the architects PE Engineering Associates of Greenville and Keith Architects Inc. of Greenville. The solid concrete tower was built with one continuous pouring operation that took more than a month.

The tower incorporating the VCV process extends the existing Prysmian medium and low voltage cable manufacturing facility in Abbeville by 140,000 square feet. The investment also includes a state-of-the art 460 kilovolt extra high voltage testing capability.

The official inauguration of the new extra high voltage facility will take place Thursday in Abbeville.

In North America, Prysmian operates four production plants: two in the U.S. (Abbeville and Lexington, S.C.) and two in Canada (St. Jean, Quebec, and Prescott, Ontario). Prysmian’s high voltage systems design and installation business activities are located in South Plainfield, N.J.

Prysmian collectively employs more than 500 South Carolina residents and more than 800 workers in North America.

In 2008, North America represented 11.8% of the total Prysmian group’s sales, amounting to more than $896 million.

Prysmian’s North American high voltage customers include major public utilities, utility contractors and private development groups.