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Prysmian Group’s innovation journey to make a big step forward in 2019

A MORE GLOBAL, CUSTOMER-CENTERED FOCUS WILL KEEP OUR GROUP AHEAD, SAYS CHIEF R&D OFFICER SIRIPURAPU.


Prysmian Group is rolling out a new innovation process, and 2019 will be a very important year in this journey, explains Srinivas SiripurapuEVP and Chief R&D officer. Here are three main reasons why.  

Firstly, the group is aiming to improve its innovation track record in the three-to-five-year window. Prysmian Group already has a good track record in short-term innovation in terms of making products be as efficient as possible.  And it excels at long-term innovation because of its ability to look out at a five-to-ten-year horizon.

The focus on improving near and mid-term innovation is customer driven, says Siripurapu.“We want to put ourselves in customers’ heads and shoes,” he affirms. "We want to spend more time in the field with our customers and understand how to make our products work better for them.

Innovation therefore does not take place in an ivory tower or solely in a lab. The key to being customer driven is to understand end use and to think about innovation that can benefit the customer. FlexRibbon is an example of a recent successful innovation that came out of an understanding of how customers use our products, Siripurapu says.

Prysmian Group already excels at innovation, and has a strong position in core technology platforms such as fire resistance, design modeling, material science and process technologies for both Energy and Telecom Cables. It has a total of 5,627 patents worldwide. Investments across Prysmian Group on research, development and innovation during 2018 totaled around €105 million, confirming a strong commitment to sustainable growth over the long term. We are positioned well for growth through innovation in emerging areas such as long distance HVDC transmission networks, high depth submarine cable systems, 5G/Internet of Things applications and autonomous driving.

For longer term innovation projects, the focus is on nanotechnologysurface sciencesustainable materials & processesfiber sensing and electronics.

Prysmian has developed strong competencies in Fiber Sensing and Electronics over the last decade. The main idea is to create intelligent cable systems that the customer can use to make decisions operationally such as condition monitoring for failure prevention and preventive maintenance.

Prysmian has launched Corporate Hangar an innovation incubator to accelerate our Open Innovation efforts. In 2018, this team has contributed to 32 different projects in collaboration with business units and functions of the Group.

The year 2019 is important, secondly, because the integration with General Cable is bringing benefits to R&D.

 “We are becoming truly global with a strong presence of 25 R&D centers close to our customers all over the world.” Prysmian has long been the innovation leader in High voltage submarine cable systems and Fiber Optic cables. Acquiring General Cable has added a strong position in advanced overhead transmission and data communication cable technologies.

Another relevant advantage of the integration is in the increased footprint of university relationships, he says. Prysmian has agreements with some of Europe’s leading universities and research institutes, such as Politecnico di Milano, while General Cable has similar accords with leading US institutions like Purdue University. The integration means that Prysmian Group now has a relationship with 50 world class universities. These partnerships help scout emerging technologies and continue to strengthen Prysmian’s competency in our long-term innovation platforms.

Lastly, this year Prysmian is launching a Global Innovation Contest for its employees to suggest ideas that have potential to strength the Group’s business

We want to harness the potential of our people and give them a voice to share innovations,” says Siripurapu. “We want to motivate people to be close to the customers and not be afraid of taking risks around innovation. Ourmantra in R&D is to be close to customers, and don’t be afraid to stick your head out. Your idea can change the future of the company.

The combined company now boasts the broadest product portfolio in any part of the world. Here are highlights of R&D innovations in 2018.

 

Submarine Cables:

Submarine interconnections trends are driving suppliers towards higher transmission capacity, therefore higher voltage and bigger conductors, and on the other end installations on greater water depth. Prysmian has reached significant results on both areas using advanced submarine cable designs using aramidic armor

Terrestrial Cables:

Successfully completed qualification of two new 525kV HVDC Cable Technologies based on XLPE and P-Laser insulated cable systems. P-Laswer superior performance offers best solution for HVDC transmission.

Overhead Lines:

E3X Technology is the utility industry’s first heat dissipating overhead conductor innovation, featuring a thin, durable coating applied to the surface of any overhead conductor.

Industrial Cables:

In 2018, Prysmian achieved a complete Solar product range optimization and harmonization at global level. Wind tower cable systems were developed and successfully launched to reduce the amount of manpower needed in the field during installations. A full range of products for electric vehicles is in the development phase including fast charging cables. Sensors with related electronics or other added value features are deployed in heavy duty cables such iQ Protolon Crane and high visibility Mining cables.

Elevator Cables:

We successfully developed the first copper-based solution for Cat5e-compliant ethernet inside travelling cables.

Prysmian Electronics:

Two main products have been developed and implemented. The first is designed to apply the “Pry-Cam Gate” concept to HVDC connections with permanent monitoring systems. The second consists in the new GUI (Graphical User Interface) to manage all the information acquired by Pry-Cam products on a unique platform. 

Optical Cables: 

FlexRibbon™ products launched, designed to maximise fibre density and duct space utilization. MassLink™ with FlexRibbon™ technology products pack the maximum fibre count (up to 6912F) into the smallest cable possible.

Data Communication Cables: 

The industry’s smallest diameter and most advanced 10Gig Category 6A cables was introduced in 2018 for our North American customers.