Two short years after the end of the war, the United States experienced explosive growth as consumers sought to meet pent-up demand for goods and services. Part of that growth resulted in millions of miles of new power lines installed across the country.
During this time, Tom Peterson, an engineer, was working on a new concept for the industry. His idea was to preform rods into a helix with an inside diameter smaller than the outside diameter. The thinking was that helically preformed rods, when applied over the conductor, could provide a secure fit without end clamps to "armor" and protect the conductor from abrasion and fatigue. The PREFORMED™ Armor Rod was born, and with it, Preformed Line Products. New product development quickly followed, including GUY-GRIP® Dead-ends and ARMOR-GRIP® Suspensions, and Preformed Line Products became recognized for setting new standards in power industry support.
The early years in business were so successful the company purchased its first facility in Cleveland, Ohio and opened its first branch plant in Palo Alto, California soon after. Growth beyond the U.S. wasn't far behind. An inquiry from a Canadian pole line hardware manufacturer resulted in the licensing of that company to produce PREFORMED™ Armor Rods.
Guiding PLP's growth and expansion is a corporate philosophy as important today as in 1947.
"To design and develop products that are of consistently high quality, are technically superior, provide dependable service, and offer practical, safe, and innovative solutions for our customers' needs. To maintain standards of excellence consistent with the requirements of the industries we serve. To assure that in the design and manufacture of these products these standards are continually maintained through ongoing laboratory and field testing. To assure that products' quality and reliability are not sacrificed or compromised."
1957 Growth at Home and Abroad
As the needs of the utility industry grew, Preformed Line Products was there. Helically formed spacers, dampers, splicers, wrap ties, and guy guards were developed and produced from various materials and in a variety of sizes. A cornerstone of PLP's success has been the ability to anticipate customer needs and solve those needs quickly and effectively.
In order to better serve its customers, the company developed its own Research and Engineering Center. Technicians and engineers could, in-house, simulate a wide range of external conditions faced by its products to ensure quality, durability, and performance. Customers valued PLP not only as an efficient supplier but as an effective problem solver and partner.
Growth at home was matched by growth abroad. During the 1960s, the company was manufacturing products in Canada, England, Germany, and India, and Australia became a licensee in 1962. In 1964 Preformed Line Products received the Presidential "E" Award for "significant contributions to the export expansion program of the United States."
1967 Strengthening the Foundation
With its reputation in the power industry, Preformed Line Products branched out into the telecommunications industry in 1968 with the acquisition of the Smith Company in California. Smith was known for its innovative line of products designed to enable telephone systems to be installed completely below ground. Closures ranging from the two-pair SERVISEAL to the Stainless Steel Splice Case quickly became successful PLP products.
One year later, a Marine Systems Division was formed to serve the offshore gas and oil industry, as well as the United States Navy. This group manufactured a wide variety of underwater cable terminations and support systems and provided design and special engineering services for one-of-a-kind marine applications. Additional avenues for growth were found in more specialized industries, including metal building, cable TV, and vineyards.
PLP continued to expand internationally with full ownership of manufacturers in England, joint ventures in Spain and Japan and subsidiaries in Brazil and Mexico. Through our growth at home and abroad, PLP consistently delivered the highest quality products with superior customer service and training, fully supported by a strong research and development team.
In 1974, the company opened its new world headquarters in Mayfield Village, Ohio, where it remains today.
1977 Delivering Where It Counts
As its markets and product lines continued to grow, Preformed Line Products realized the need for an expanded Research and Engineering facility. Built at the headquarters location, the facility opened in 1979 and continues to be one of the most sophisticated in the country. Engineers and technicians test everything from tension load to the impact of wind speed and humidity on product performance and durability.
Supporting the company's strategic growth abroad, Australia became a wholly owned subsidiary and we began a joint venture in South Africa.
Customer service began to take on a new face at PLP. We expanded our services to include practical, hands-on areas with customers. We offered more on-site demonstrations and training, on-site diagnostics and advanced inventory and tracking systems, all geared to helping customers do their jobs more easily and efficiently.
1987 Strategic Growth and Development
Downsizing, rightsizing, restructurings ... new words in corporate vocabularies and new opportunities to demonstrate PLP's abilities as a problem solver and partner. As many companies needed to do more with less, they needed a partner who could bring value to the relationship, not just product. Our guiding corporate mission, to find solutions for our customers' needs, positioned us to do just that. Purchasing, inventory management and training were just a few of the "non-traditional" areas where we were able to develop new systems and programs to meet customers' needs.
In 1993 we purchased Superior Modular Products, a producer of high-speed data cross-connect systems for communications networks. This purchase contributed to the expansion of our telecommunications product mix and strengthened our ability to meet the complex and rapidly changing needs of communication networks. Once a small niche market, the proliferation of cable television spurred new growth opportunities for PLP.
The COYOTE® Closure, a high-quality closure for fiber optic cables, was introduced in 1995. Telephone, power and CATV customers were quick to realize the benefits of the product and made it our most successful product launch ever. We extended the COYOTE name to a full line of fiber optic products. Once again, PLP research and design efforts identified a need and we were quick to respond with the right product for our customers.
As its role in the global marketplace continued to grow, Preformed Line Products secured ISO 9001 certification. This international recognized standard of quality guarantees that all Preformed Line Products meet the highest levels of quality manufacturing anywhere in the world. Our global reach continued and PLP now distributes products to more than 100 countries across the world.
2007-2008 Alternative Energy
Culminating years of investigation into the solar energy market, just the right partner was found. DPW Solar, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico was acquired in 2007. DPW Solar specializes in engineering, designing and installing turnkey photovoltaic systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. It is also a major manufacturer of photovoltaic racks and equipment and battery enclosures. In 2008 we began to take our solar power capabilities to our traditional power utility customers and distributors under the PLP Solar brand.
2009 - 2010 Global Expansion
PLP continued to strengthen its ability to respond to market needs both globally and locally,
In 2009 PLP acquired the Dulmison product line and its facilities, located in Indonesia and Malaysia. Dulmison was a former licensee from 1960-1977, then became a formidable competitor in both the transmission and distribution product markets. The successful seven year acquisition project increased PLP’s position in the Energy market which now offers the most comprehensive line of products in the industry.
2010 ended with another acquisition. Electropar, a company that designs, manufactures and markets pole line and substation hardware for the global electrical utility industry. Electropar is headquartered in New Zealand with a subsidiary operation in Australia. This acquisition strengthened Preformed’s position in the power distribution, transmission and substation hardware markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region and will provide a strong and established channel in New Zealand for PLP’s global offerings.
2012 Ranchmate® Expands the Special Industries Markets
Launched by PLP in 2012 Ranchmate® is an innovative line of wire fencing construction and repair products. Ranchmate enables farmers and ranchers to build and mend wire fences like utility lineman have built and fixed overhead conductor lines for years. This product line became PLP's first venture into the retail market.
2013 French and Russian PLP Locations Established and World Headquarters Facility Expanded
PLP France was established in February of 2013 at INNEOS and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products. PLP has always marketed a wide range of transmission, distribution and communications products in the French market and this new location will enhance the excellent customer service PLP provides its customers.
PLP Russia Ltd. was established in November of 2013. With its Sales and Engineering offices located in Moscow, PLP Russia will focus on the transmission and distribution power sector, with the goal of setting up a manufacturing facility located in the territory of the Russian Federation.
PLP completed an addition at World Headquarters which featured a major expansion of its laboratory and testing facility.
2014 PLP Acquires HELIX Canada and Builds New Injection Molding Facility at PLP Arkansas
In February of 2014 PLP acquired Helix Uniformed Limited, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. HELIX Uniformed Limited's extensive research and engineering expertise, as well as established manufacuturing operations, will significantly enhance the service and support PLP provides its customers in the Canadian market.
At the PLP Rogers, Arkansas facility, a new 40,000 sq. ft., state of the art injection molding facility was completed.
Today - Preformed Line Products - The Connection You Can Count On®
When it comes to the future, Winston Churchill once said: "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." At Preformed Line Products, we can look back over our first 75+ years and know that our future is strong and bright. Built on an entrepreneurial foundation of innovation, quality and service, we are uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of the next generation.
While much about the future is unknown, we can expect that the continued growth of foreign markets, industry consolidations, regulatory changes and new technologies will be part of the picture. As lines between the power and telecommunications industries blur, we see this as an opportunity to solidify our position as the leader in safeguarding conductors and cables, whatever industry. Our commitment to research and design keeps PLP first in customers' minds.
Our past has prepared us to anticipate change, view it as opportunity and meet it with the same diligence Tom Peterson brought to his first product design. The talent, commitment and dedication of our people is unmatched anywhere in the world. At home or abroad, PLP is the connection you can count on. Preformed Line Products.