Interview Alejandro Saenger and Xavier Cesari,of FACEL
Secretary General and Technical Secretary of FACEL,Association of Manufacturers of Electric and Optical Fibre Cables and Conductors.
What relevant facts define the evolution of FACEL at national and international level?
FACEL, acronym standing for the Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Electric and Optical Fibre Cables and Conductors, was founded in mid 1978 and, within the Spanish electrical/electronic sector, it is one of the oldest and best known professional Associations due to the dilated experience it has in defending the interests of the sector.
I would highlight as relevant the gradual inclusion of new manufacturing sectors in the association’s scope, the latest one being that of distribution cable accessories. Currently, the statutory activity groups are the following:
- power cables for industrial use
- power cables for electricity companies
- cables for telecommunications
- winding wires
- intrumentation/data cables
- cable accessories
What are the main difficulties or challenges that FACEL will have to face in the near future?
The most important difficulty in the short term, and bearing in mind the current crisis that our industry and economy are experiencing, is to be able to face up to the decrease in activity and turnover that directly affects in this context the profit and loss accounts of our adhered and associate Companies
The guidelines to be followed, since a downward trend is expected during 2013, especially at national level, and also in terms of exports, would be to limit all costs not considered strictly necessary, increasing productivity if possible and adapting to the market demands hoping for a future reactivation, not foreseen before 2014.
What do you appreciate most of ceis as provider/collaborator?
There is no doubt that what our sector appreciates most of ceis is its effort to continue being a reference laboratory in Spain, both regarding low and medium voltage cables. And not only do we refer to investments made to preserve the quality of testing equipment, but also to its active participation in all the standardisation and certification forums linked to our products
What new projects are you involved in at the moment?
At this moment in time, one of FACEL’s top priorities is related to the future application of new legislation that will affect electric and optical fibre cables, that is the Construction Products Directive, particularly in terms of fire resistance and reaction to fire.
We are jointly arranging with CEIS and AENOR a series of information conferences aimed at our Associates where, in addition to going into the theoretical aspects of this regulation in depth, access to the new facilities will be granted, more precisely to the fire spread and fume emission dynamic test chamber.
What would you highlight of FACEL’s attitude regarding quality management?
Facel has always fostered quality management among our Associates. A good example of this is the fact that in our Articles of Association we have as an essential requirement that all members shall have the relevant Registered Company certificate.
At internal level, at the Association we have a quality management system. I would like to highlight that the secretariat activities of committee AEN/CTC 042 are included (and audited) as part of the ENAC certification on electric cables that AENOR has.
What is your opinion of the current situation of the market and of the position of FACEL in it?
The situation of the cable market on 31 December 2012 registered a general average decrease of 20% with respect to the previous year, mainly in the internal market since the great decline in the civil works sector and sectors derived from construction, both tertiary and residential, where there is excessive supply, and the standstill of investments by the Large Electrical and Telecommunications Networks, have a direct influence on the reduction of the productive activity of our Manufacturers.
The average turnover of our Manufacturers in 2012 was of around 1.8 Billion Euros, 60% of which comes from Exports. In the year 2013 we are detecting an average decrease of 20/25% in the internal market.
What plans have you set out to continue growing in the future?
We have to face up to the current economic crisis, fostering innovation and the search for new international markets.
The Manufacturers have to focus on the restriction of costs and on adapting their productive skills to the market demand hoping for a future reactivation of the internal market.
Moreover, in terms of payment times, we should adapt to the current regulations in force that foresee a maximum of sixty days for payment in commercial operations.
In this sector, safety, standardisation and certification are concepts of great value. To what extent does FACEL focus on them, and what actions and solutions do you propose?
There is no doubt that the concepts mentioned – safety, standardisation and certification of electric cables – are one of the raisons to be of FACEL, more precisely the technical department holds the secretariat of Technical Standardisation Committees 211 “Electric Cables and Winding Wires” and 212 “Telecommunications and Optical Fibre Cables”, as well as that of the Working Groups reporting to the latter.
In the certification field, we hold the secretariats of Technical Certification Committees AEN/CTC-042 “Electric cables, communication cables, winding wires and accessories” and AEN/CTC 075 “Bare conductors and electric cables for transport and distribution of electric power, and their accessories”.
Attention should be drawn to the fact that Spain is currently the 4th country at European level in number of licenses of the harmonised HAR Mark, something that illustrates the high level of Spanish manufacturers and their commitment to the safety of their products.
In a different field, Facel takes part in diverse Advisory Commissions of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, such as those dealing with Electrical safety, Telecommunications legislation, etc. Furthermore, we participate in advisory activities regarding inspection actions and dissemination of legislations applicable to our products that are conducted by the Public Administrations.