Page 50: of Marine Technology Magazine (May 2017)
South Bay Cable Celebrates 60
In 1957 gas was 24 cents/gallon, a loaf of bread cost 12 cents, Dwight
D. Eisenhower was President of the U.S. and South Bay Cable opened its doors. A lot has changed since 1957, however the basic company principles have remained steady; innovation to meet customer requirements.
rom humble beginnings, founders Gordon and Joyce best suited for this diverse product range, and their production
Brown designed and laid up customer speci? c cables department re? ned the manufacturing processes.
Fin their garage in Southern California. These ? rst cable By the early 1970s South Bay Cable was designing and products consisted of standard off-the-shelf electrical compo- building cable for many of the pioneering companies in un- nents that were readily available. By arranging various ele- derwater technology. South Bay provided the interior and ex- ments together, a cable speci? c to the customer’s needs, could terior cables for the U.S. Navy deep-dive personnel transfer be built. capsule, created Sea Plow’s umbilical cable for the installation
The demand for specialty cables quickly grew and more than of transoceanic telephone lines and tether and umbilical ca- garage space was needed. In September 1957 the company bles for the then-emerging remotely operated vehicle market. relocated to an industrial facility in Gardena, Calif. By the As technology improved the push was on to build deeper late 60s South Bay Cable had outgrown the Gardena facility systems, which needed longer cables. Conventional steel re- and in 1970 the company relocated to its present location in inforced cables were simply too heavy, many of these longer
Idyllwild, Calif. Idyllwild is a small mountain town approxi- cables were designed using new light-weight, high-strength mately 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles. In 1986 a second synthetic materials. Synthetic strength members presented manufacturing facility was opened in Temecula, Calif. The their own unique set of manufacturing challenges which re- two facilities are located within 50 miles of each other and quired extensive prototyping, testing and building of special- have complimentary capabilities. ized equipment. Today, South Bay Cable operates numer- ous production lines that can produce synthetic cables with
Cable Advancements strengths ranging from a few hundred pounds up to a quarter
The earliest cable constructions consisted of different types million pounds. The advent of ? ber optics allowed the elimi- of military speci? cation wire and specialty electrical compo- nation of heavy signal and communication components which nents, which were designed by South Bay. These components also helped further reduce cable weight. These advancements included electrical conductors for power distribution, signal in materials and processing allowed South Bay to design and pairs for voice and data transmission and coaxes for video. produce cables suitable for operation at full ocean depth in
Many of these early cables were used by the U.S. Military and lengths exceeding 10 kilometers. aerospace industry. Some of these early programs included Today, South Bay Cable continues to focus on highly en- the ground support cables for the Atlas silos, Americas’ ? rst gineered cables for use in dynamic applications including intercontinental ballistic missile; the second generation of the remotely operated vehicles, side scan sonar, tow systems,
Minuteman program’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and minesweepers, pipeline inspection, airborne aerostats and nu-
Surveyor, the United States’ ? rst robotic spacecraft, designed merous military programs. to test soft landings on the moon. From the drawing of the copper rod to the jacketing of the
Requirements continued to become more demanding, and ? nished cable South Bay Cable has the production capabili- the cables became more complex. These cables covered a ties to perform nearly all manufacturing operations in-house. broad spectrum of uses, which included a wide band of tem- With a dedication to continually pushing the envelope through perature ranges, electrical characteristics and mechanical re- innovative engineering, ever expanding production capabili- quirements. Many of the cables were being used in harsh en- ties, combined with thorough testing the possibilities are end- vironments and included both above ground and underwater less.
applications. This broad product base and commitment to quality and cus-
Working underwater presented a unique set of challenges in- tomer service, allow South Bay Cable to experience steady cluding designing to withstand external hydrostatic pressure, growth. With increased production capabilities and strong water migration, ? sh bite protection and mechanical require- footholds in both commercial and military markets, South ments. South Bay’s engineers identi? ed materials which were Bay looks forward to future challenges.
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