After a two-hour visit to TPC Wire & Cable in Macedonia, Ohio, I learned that this local supplier of high-end cables and cable assemblies is considered by some of its customers as the Apple of the cable world. Why? Because when you visit the company’s facility, you learn that TPC specializes in engineering and design, sending its manufacturing out for contract. This helps the company and its customers save money, but more importantly, it allows it to focus on the innovative designs that make it so successful.
Reed Cushing, Vice President, Product Marketing, said that TPC began operations in 1979 and specializes in everything from multi-conductor power cables to Teflon designs for washdown environments and slip ring harnesses used in the wind energy market to antimicrobial cables for food and beverage industries. Its cables range in size from ¼ to 4 in. in diameter and 24 to 35,000 V.
And although Cushing says that TPC’s cables cost more than most of its competitors, their lifespan is so much longer—typically six to eight times longer—that customer costs are quickly reduced. For example, one customer was burning through different cables every couple months, thus was spending a great deal on replacement cables. When TPC cables were used, they were tough enough to last in the harsh application and are still in operation about a year later.
A walk through TPC’s warehouse shows visitors the range of sizes and designs the company designs at its headquarters. While the company is providing more custom designs like quick disconnects, it is seeing a great deal of growth in custom molding, which has allowed it to eliminate backshells for strain relief in cable design, Cushing said.
One key area the company expects growth is in power cables used in mobile substations, as more municipalities, schools, colleges, hospitals and more invest in generators for emergency backup power.
Finally, in addition to design and engineering, TPC tests all of its own cables in-house, unless a customer requests a third-party test. For example, its technicians can test cables up to 100,000 VAC/DC, while an on-site CAT Track tests cables for flexing, bending and other functions. Currently, a design being tested now has probably gone through about 3 million cycles, Cushing said.
All this has allowed the company to focus on growth, Cushing said. He concluded, saying how a careful plan has allowed TPC to grow from being a domestic supplier to offering distribution in Mexico, Canada and now South America. Expansion into the Asia-Pacific region is planned by the end of this year.
TPC Wire & Cable