BLOG:JDR CABLES – YEAR IN THE LIFE

: A global business success story in the wind, oil and gas sector with strong roots in the North East is seeing significant demand for its products and embarking on an ambitious growth plan in America.

As part of the TFKable Group JDR Cables with bases in Newcastle, Hartlepool, Cambridgeshire, and Houston manufactures and delivers power cables and hydraulic umbilicals linking energy production facilities like wind farms and oil rigs to grids around the world.

As well as the manufacture of cables a key part of the business is its in-house service division which is headed up by Neil Brown.  With a Royal Navy career behind him and 18 years with JDR Cables, he has the perfect background to manage the team which ensures the products are fitted, commissioned and work at optimum capacity no-matter where they are sited.

The in-house Service Team relocated from Cambridgeshire in 2017 to the former Shepherd Offshore facility on the banks of the Tyne.  This substantial site gave JDR Cables the opportunity to grow the team and benefit from designers, engineers, and service technicians all being based under one roof.

This dedicated team has proved to be particularly invaluable since the challenges presented by COVID 19 as technicians work in locations around the world

Neil Brown said: “We are one of just a handful of companies in the sector to have such a range of skills in-house but it really pays off and provides our clients the critical support they need.”

The logistics team had to work round the clock to ensure technicians were able to return to the UK safely from projects in India and Qatar before flights stopped and with global travel situations changing on an hourly basis.

Now the attention has shifted in how to get technicians back out to the jobs safely.  Neil Brown said this travel is a significant challenge at present but thanks to the specialist knowledge and some ingenuity, their teams are getting back on site.  One way around the lack of flights has been technicians quarantining with a ship’s crew so they can then travel on the vessel to undertake work.  We have also used ferries to get technicians to a Belgian windfarm.  A total of 60 team members will work on this basis, with 30 people working for four weeks before rotating with another 30 technicians.

America also offers a huge potential market for JDR Cables and it is securing a contract to play a key part in the country’s first commercial size offshore wind farm off the Massachusetts coast.

Neil Brown explained the company’s unique approach was key to them being preferred for the work.  He said: “As part of our contract we commit to training and developing the local workforce, combining local customs and regulations with global procedures, health and safety and best practices.  In many ways, the US East Coast has a similar economic history to the North East, where traditional industries have declined and there is a huge appetite for innovative sectors that will help create jobs.”

The business also has a keen eye on the future workforce with close links to Newcastle College and the Blyth-based ORE Catapult (formerly Narec) who help JDR Cables, train apprentices. JDR currently have four apprentices in the Service Team based in Newcastle which Neil Brown describes as their conveyor belt of talent.

He said: “The North East has a great future in our industry and our young people are very much part of that.  Here in the UK and the EU the offshore wind sector, in particular, has matured and there is now a growing appetite for this type of power generation in other parts of the world such as Taiwan where we are delivering projects. With the potential of the American market as well, we are in a good position to take advantage of substantial opportunities.”

A global business success story in the wind, oil and gas sector with strong roots in the North East is seeing significant demand for its products and embarking on an ambitious growth plan in America.

As part of the TFKable Group JDR Cables with bases in Newcastle, Hartlepool, Cambridgeshire, and Houston manufactures and delivers power cables and hydraulic umbilicals linking energy production facilities like wind farms and oil rigs to grids around the world.

As well as the manufacture of cables a key part of the business is its in-house service division which is headed up by Neil Brown.  With a Royal Navy career behind him and 18 years with JDR Cables, he has the perfect background to manage the team which ensures the products are fitted, commissioned and work at optimum capacity no-matter where they are sited.

The in-house Service Team relocated from Cambridgeshire in 2017 to the former Shepherd Offshore facility on the banks of the Tyne.  This substantial site gave JDR Cables the opportunity to grow the team and benefit from designers, engineers, and service technicians all being based under one roof.

This dedicated team has proved to be particularly invaluable since the challenges presented by COVID 19 as technicians work in locations around the world

Neil Brown said: “We are one of just a handful of companies in the sector to have such a range of skills in-house but it really pays off and provides our clients the critical support they need.”

The logistics team had to work round the clock to ensure technicians were able to return to the UK safely from projects in India and Qatar before flights stopped and with global travel situations changing on an hourly basis.

Now the attention has shifted in how to get technicians back out to the jobs safely.  Neil Brown said this travel is a significant challenge at present but thanks to the specialist knowledge and some ingenuity, their teams are getting back on site.  One way around the lack of flights has been technicians quarantining with a ship’s crew so they can then travel on the vessel to undertake work.  We have also used ferries to get technicians to a Belgian windfarm.  A total of 60 team members will work on this basis, with 30 people working for four weeks before rotating with another 30 technicians.

America also offers a huge potential market for JDR Cables and it is securing a contract to play a key part in the country’s first commercial size offshore wind farm off the Massachusetts coast.

Neil Brown explained the company’s unique approach was key to them being preferred for the work.  He said: “As part of our contract we commit to training and developing the local workforce, combining local customs and regulations with global procedures, health and safety and best practices.  In many ways, the US East Coast has a similar economic history to the North East, where traditional industries have declined and there is a huge appetite for innovative sectors that will help create jobs.”

The business also has a keen eye on the future workforce with close links to Newcastle College and the Blyth-based ORE Catapult (formerly Narec) who help JDR Cables, train apprentices. JDR currently have four apprentices in the Service Team based in Newcastle which Neil Brown describes as their conveyor belt of talent.

He said: “The North East has a great future in our industry and our young people are very much part of that.  Here in the UK and the EU the offshore wind sector, in particular, has matured and there is now a growing appetite for this type of power generation in other parts of the world such as Taiwan where we are delivering projects. With the potential of the American market as well, we are in a good position to take advantage of substantial opportunities.”