2021 Market Trends Podcast Series: Wire & Cable

February 2, 2021 • Posted in Market Insights, Podcasts

Welcome to M. Holland’s 2021 Market Trends Podcast Series! At the turn of each year, M. Holland’s market managers take time to reflect on the past year and anticipate the year to come. What drove their market segments? What can the industry expect to see in the coming months? Typically, we share these insights and predictions in a blog, but this year we decided that a podcast format is more fitting.

Listen in over the next few weeks as these market managers give us an insider’s look at the plastics industry. This episode is all about wire and cable. We’re joined by Todd Waddle, Director of Wire & Cable at M. Holland, who’s talking about the many digital advances from 2020, and looking ahead to all that’s to come in this market in 2021, including an increased focus on renewables and a lot more digital advancement, as well.

Play the podcast below.

MHolland Podcast Image

Host:

Welcome to M. Holland’s 2021 Market Trends Podcast Series! At the turn of each year, M. Holland’s market managers take time to reflect on the past year and anticipate the year to come. What drove their market segments? What can the industry expect to see in the coming months? Typically, we share these insights and predictions in a blog, but this year we decided that a podcast format is more fitting.

Listen in over the next few weeks as these market managers give us an insider’s look at the plastics industry. This episode is all about wire and cable. We’re joined by Todd Waddle, Director of Wire & Cable at M. Holland, who’s talking about the many digital advances from 2020, and looking ahead to all that’s to come in this market in 2021, including an increased focus on renewables and a lot more digital advancement, as well.

Todd Waddle:

I’m Todd Waddle, the Director of Wire & Cable for M. Holland. I am based in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m also a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Cleveland section, and also the Wire Association International. My responsibilities at M. Holland are for supplier and product management. I oversee that along with our Commercial team in the United States and Canada and our technical resources associated with Wire & Cable. We primarily focus in Wire & Cable on our products for our customers and serving their needs, mostly polymers for installation and jacketing. But we also handle tapes, gels, fillers and other conductors used in cable construction.

Host:

As you reflect on the wire and cable industry for 2020, what stands out to you as a key learning point?

Todd Waddle:

For wire and cable this year, bar none, how essential wire and cable is in our journey for going digital as a society. On the onset of the pandemic, with offices and schools closing, people started to set up shop in their bedrooms and in their kitchens, and the need for Wi-Fi bandwidth grew tremendously overnight. What most impressed me, and the key learning point, was how fast the telecommunications industry was able to mobilize and take advantage of this, both in manufacturing, telecommunications, mostly fiber optic cables, and also the installation of that. We’ve all been on videoconferences with varying internet connections, strength and reliability — folks who have some that are better than others.

And certainly, we know areas of that are increasing as far as the bandwidth need. It was interesting, the CEO of Microsoft noted we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months, that demand with Netflix and all the video content, the PowerPoints, the video chats and the instant messages really cranked up. It was amazing as the wire and cable industry, like I mentioned in the telecoms industry, really grew in the United States, almost double-digit growth in that area. We saw that in our business as well, where some of the areas, the regions throughout the world, were not able to take advantage and really crank up production in those areas.

Host:

Is there a materials application that really won the year for you?

Todd Waddle:

The fiber to the home, the fiber to the business. The fact that that’s done with fiber optic rods that are glass made from sand is fantastic from a renewable resource. It’s an inexhaustible resource to us and it’s also recyclable. But at M. Holland, a lot of our suppliers were able to create new products in this marketplace. Water blocking tapes and gels is very critical to surround the fiber optic tubes. And a lot of these gels are being developed from our suppliers that are bio-based, they’re using naturally based oils that go into this, that fill in right perfectly with the OEMs’ objectives for sustainable products within their businesses.

Host:

And Todd, putting 2020 behind us, and looking ahead to 2021, what are you most excited about in the wire and cable industry?

Todd Waddle:

Our nation’s slow transition that’s ramping up from oil and gas to the renewables. Both solar and wind, both onshore and offshore. We’re seeing significant growth there and will for the years to come. Many OEMs have large objectives for reducing CO2 emissions. You see it on the commercials at night, with a lot of people making statements of lowering their CO2 emissions.

Certainly, there are these renewable clean technologies, the cost of the NACE cells, the wind farms, the solar panels are coming down and all this needs to be connected. All this needs to be able to bring the power from those sources to the areas which need power, and the wire and cable industry certainly has taken advantage of that. And I would add onto that, as well, the electric vehicles and the hybrids needing a lot of wire and cables for those applications.

Finally, Tesla’s got it right. They have a vehicle that’s not just a green vehicle, but one that’s fun to drive, and that people actually enjoy, and they love the technology within it. You look at the battery costs coming down and all the wire and cable required for the batteries and the motors, and also hybrids. Hybrids are doing fantastic, great energy sources from a miles per gallon standpoint, Toyota’s lineup of vehicles is fantastic. Again, it’s a bunch of vehicles that people want to drive and feel good about.

Then, also, all the sensors that are being developed that needed to be connected within the vehicle. We were all impressed when there was one backup camera that was connected that we could see on our dashboard. And now you’ve got 360-degree views. So, more cameras, more sensors, more safety items, with lane changing, and also the ability to connect with your app to your car, to see what the status of the car is. The lock doors, the amount of gas that’s in the vehicle, things like that, all require wire and cabling throughout — and connectors — throughout the vehicle itself.

Host:

Thanks Todd, for a great conversation, and thank you for listening to this installment of our Market Trends Podcast Series. Continue to tune in and learn what 2020 meant and what 2021 will bring from markets, including Healthcare, 3D Printing, Wire & Cable, Electrical & Electronics, Flexible Packaging, Rotational Molding, Color & Compounding, Automotive and Sustainability. All episodes can be found on the News & Insights page on the M. Holland website. We’ll see you next time.

Featuring:

Todd Waddle

Director, Wire and Cable

M. Holland Leadership Todd Waddle

Todd Waddle is M. Holland’s Director for both the Wire & Cable and Sustainability market segments. In these respective areas, he works to identify market trends, highlight exceptional technologies and uncover new business opportunities. He focuses on introducing new products and services that create value for M. Holland’s client base. Todd began his career with Glastic Corp., as project engineer managing key international OEM accounts. He later served in technical, product development, and sales and marketing roles with Premix Inc. Todd also worked for A. Schulman in various managerial positions focused on developing market-specific plans and product strategy. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Kent State University School of Technology with polymer science as his area of study, and earned an executive MBA from Kent State. He is a board member for the Cleveland Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

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