The history of cable manufacturing at the Bydgoszcz Plant is inseparably connected with numerous crucial and groundbreaking events. Amongst the most vital of these events for us are those directly related to the Polish energy industry and in the formative development of TELE-FONIKA Kable at key stages in our shared heritage. Of greatest importance in this regard are the pioneering 1920s and the year 2003, when the most critical and strategic decisions to build and develop a strong Polish, but ultimately global brand were made. Although, as the years have gone by and the macroeconomic environment has been a constantly changing feature, we are convinced that our investments in the Polish industry and our support for the development and implementation of new technologies have led to the systematic increase of our manufacturing potential.
The unchanging priority in all our activities has been the stable growth of our business based on sustainable development. This involves using resources for our production processes in a sensible and economical manner, with the aim of reducing the emission of harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. This is also connected to the introduction of environmentally-friendly (green) technologies, as well as investment in efficient and smart (automated) production lines. Solutions provided by us are proven and robust with high technological potential, which makes it possible to adapt our cables and wires to entire infrastructure construction projects, whilst ensuring those projects benefit from undisrupted operations. Thanks to the commitment and passion of thousands of our employees, you will find us involved in the most important energy investment projects around the world.
The 100th Anniversary of the Bydgoszcz Plant is an opportunity to emphasise the importance and strength of the Polish cable industry. Furthermore, it is a tribute to not only the experience and wisdom of bygone, visionary people who led this industry in the early days who but also to the modern day workforce that continue to innovate and develop this sector of the industry 100 years after the first cable manufacturing plant in Poland was established.
On 11 November, the laying the new plant’s cornerstone ceremony took place on land between the Bydgoszcz-Fordon Road and the Brda River, previously purchased from the Lloyd Bydgoski shipping company.
The "Dziennik Bydgoski" newspaper reported that the Kabel factory will "produce insulated cables for electrical equipment, telephone cables, high current armoured cables and bare copper wires".
The laying the new plant’s cornerstone ceremony.
Official Production Launch.
Supply of 200 km of telephone cable ordered by the Ministry of Post and Telegraph.
Kabel Polski products were awarded gold medals for their high quality, including in 1927 at Wystawa Wodna (Water Exhibition) in Bydgoszcz; also in 1928 at Targi Północne (Northern Trade Fair) in Vilnius; and in 1929 at the Powszechna Wystawa Krajowa (General National Exhibition) in Poznań.
Thanks to a license purchased from Siemens & Halske in Berlin, the production of long-distance telephone and telegraphic Pupin cables - formerly part of telephone lines - began.
In the 1930s, the production and delivery of marine cables for the Polish fleet began. Bydgoszcz cables were equipped on, amongst others, ORP Wicher and ORP Burza as well as several passenger ships - including the famous ocean liners m/s Batory and m/s Piłsudski.
Just before the outbreak of World War II, the factory was ranked as the third-largest in Poland in respect of employment and sales revenue.
A Voluntary Fire Brigade unit was established in Kabel Bydgoszcz.
The plant had its own quay on the river, for the loading and unloading of goods and raw materials.
The then state-of-the-art Pintsch system equipment were installed in the plant for drying and impregnating power cable paper insulation.
A modern Krupp vertical press was installed for the extrusion of lead sheathing.
Since 1936, the plant has played a significant role in supplying high-quality power cables for the electrification of the Polish railways, including the Warsaw Railway Junction.
In the first years of the occupation, the plant was taken over by the Reichswerke Hermann Göring corporation under the Treuhandstelle Ost in Katowice.
From the first post-war days, using existing stocks of raw materials, the factory commenced production of cables for major cities, including the destroyed Warsaw, and the military.
In January 1945 just before the Soviet offensive, the Germans failed to remove the machines or blow up the factory. In the spring, the machinery bay was saved from the planned transport to the USSR.
In the 1950s, the objective was to reduce the production of cables and wires insulated with rubber materials as it required capital-intensive foreign components (rubbers, stabilizers, softeners), and to replace it with the cheaper and more accessible plastic PVC insulation.
In 1952, a new product division for plastic insulated cables was opened (W-4 with an area of 625 m2).
The number of employees exceeded 1,000.
In the same year, the production of flush-mounted cables was also launched, which revolutionized electrical installations in residential buildings.
A new rubber cable hall and the main warehouse were built.
Since 1959, the factory has operated under the name “Bydgoska Fabryka Kabli”.
In the 1960s, innovations included specialist designs for marine cables for shipyards, also aviation cables for aircraft factories, vehicle cables for the automotive industry, cables for radio and electrotechnical equipment, cables for deep-well submersible pumps and mining cables.
In the post-war period, production output rapidly increased. Assuming a 100% base in tonnes over a five-year period between 1945 and 1950, this increased by 292.6% in the years 1951-1955, to increase by another 19% from 1956-1960, and by 23.3% between 1961-1966.
Since 1969, the plant has developed the concept of further factory development through product specialization. Power cables and marine cables had become the leading range.
In the 1970s, Bydgoska Fabryka Kabli was a leading plant, with a 15% share in production, as part of the activity integrating the cable industry, i.e. the "Polkabel" Cable Industry Association.
In the last quarter of 1976 the W-5 department was commissioned, which attained the power cables monthly production capacity target of PLN 40.3 million on 30 March 1977 – that’s two months earlier than the planned date. The selected employees were also awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, also the Silver and Bronze Cross of Merit.
For the first time in Poland, the Bydgoszcz Cable Factory launched the production of 15 kV polyethylene insulation power cables.
The wires manufactured by Bydgoska Fabryka Kabli were installed in FIAT 126p cars.
1976 & 1979
The factory was awarded first place in the competition for Best Exporter in the Bydgoszcz Voivodeship.
In 1982, the annual production totaled 70,000 km of cables and wires. The factory exported products to 15 countries around the world, producing 2.4 thousand types of cables and wires.
The plant was the only exporter of 63 types of low voltage cables in Poland, and its motto was to "fulfill all customer's wishes".
In March, for the first time in the history of the plant, the W-3 and W-5 departments achieved a production volume exceeding PLN 100 million per month.
Cu wires and power cables were the main export items. In addition, cables for mobile receivers and marine cables were exported. Bydgoszcz cables were used for projects in Bulgaria, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, India, Iraq, Iran, Yugoslavia, Korea, Libya, Lebanon, Mongolia, GDR, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Vietnam and the USSR.
A long-term cooperation with the Finnish company Nokia began. Shared technologies included new polyethylene cross-linking extrusion lines for medium and high voltage power cables.
Nokia extrusion trials started, producing cables rated at up to 30 kV.
On 15 March 1993, the plant was transformed into a sole shareholder company of the State Treasury, under the business name of Bydgoska Fabryka Kabli S.A.
In 1994, the Telecommunication Cables Department, equipped with modern Nokia-Maillefer lines, commenced production in a newly built hall with an area of about 2,000 m2. It had a production capacity of 1 million km of insulated conductors and 15,000 km of cables per year.
A rubber compounds mixing plant was erected on the site.
High Voltage Laboratory was extended.
The factory started the production of fibre optic cables.
The Low Voltage Cable Department was modernized and upgraded.
In 2003 the factory officially became a part of TELE-FONIKA Kable S.A., specialising in the production of power cables.
In 2008, the Bydgoszcz Plant began cooperation with JDR Cable Systems. For one of the first joint projects, the factory produced and delivered nearly 2,000 km of medium voltage cores, to be used in a finished cable for the building of the offshore Greater Gabbard wind farm in the UK.
A new production hall for medium and high voltage cables was built. Three XLPE insulation extrusion lines were installed.
The first order for 127/230 kV extra-high voltage cables was completed by the Bydgoszcz Plant – the cable was made for a customer from South America.
In 2012, a modern XLPE extrusion line for cables rated up to 500 kV, was installed in the Bydgoszcz Plant. It was the eighth line of this type operating in the Bydgoszcz Plant.
In 2017, as a result of the acquisition of JDR Cable Systems (Holdings), the TFKable Group increased its assets by another two production plants located in the UK. Thus, the Bydgoszcz Plant together with the UK plants in Littleport and Hartlepool joined the elite group of direct suppliers of complete solutions for the offshore electricity industry.
In 2011 the Bydgoszcz plant supplied 815 km of sealed conductors to JDR subsea cables, which were used to power 175 turbines installed in the London Array wind farm area.
Installation of a modern XLPE extrusion line for cables rated up to 500 kV.
A modern line for applying metallic coatings made of longitudinally welded aluminum or copper strips was installed. The solution will be used mainly in the construction of high and high voltage power cables.
TFKable Group has a significant share in the development of the Polish and global renewable energy sources market. So far, over 73 projects have been completed, including 39 the offshore wind farm sector and 34 in the gas and oil sector.
In 2020, the R&D Centre will be extended and infrastructure completed for the testing of high voltage AC and DC power cables. The new Extra High Voltage Laboratory will enable extensive research to develop prototypes and technologies for the production of HVAC and HVDC cables.