Phil Smith and I recently attended the opening of a new factory in Swindon by a major, global telecommunications company, AFL.
AFL has an annual turnover of $1.2bn (£872m) and manufactures fibre optic cable for a range of application. Headquartered in the US, AFL is wholly owned by Fujikura Ltd a $7bn (£5.8bn) annual turnover Japanese advanced engineering company.
AFL has been manufacturing fibre optic cable in Swindon for over 30 years, with a focus on highly engineered fibre optic cable solutions.
Applications for their products range from live-line installation of fibre optic cables on overhead power lines up to 400kV to optical cables incorporated into the subsea inter-array and backhaul cables for the UK’s offshore windfarms.
They recently introduced a new patented fibre optic cable technology called “SpiderWeb Ribbon®” to the UK telecom operator market which dramatically speeds up installation rates meaning companies such as Openreach are now better equipped with the means to deliver on the government’s aggressive national fibre to the home (FTTH) rollout targets over the next 5 years.
In response, AFL have opened up a new location, doubling their size and the commissioning of the first new production line for these cables.
The new factory will start production this month and will make a valuable contribution to the local economy, including the creation of 30 new jobs. AFL was honoured to have H E Mr. Hajime Hayashi, the Japanese Ambassador to the UK open the new facilities.