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Global Impact: Boscawen’s Elektrisola sends products to Brazil for auto manufacturing

  • Machine operator Ken Poulin of Northfield spools copper wire onto a coating machine at Elektrisola's facility in Boscawen on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola is an international company that employs 176 people in Boscawen.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

    Machine operator Ken Poulin of Northfield spools copper wire onto a coating machine at Elektrisola's facility in Boscawen on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola is an international company that employs 176 people in Boscawen.

    (WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

  • Machine operator Ken Poulin of Northfield keeps the copper rolling through a row of machines that coat the bare wire at Elektrisola's facility in Boscawen on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola is an international company that employs 176 people in Boscawen.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

    Machine operator Ken Poulin of Northfield keeps the copper rolling through a row of machines that coat the bare wire at Elektrisola's facility in Boscawen on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola is an international company that employs 176 people in Boscawen.

    (WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

  • Spools of silver wire sit at Elektrisola's Boscawen facility on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola has expanded their copper wire manufacturing in Boscawen to include silver wire for aerospace and medical applications.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

    Spools of silver wire sit at Elektrisola's Boscawen facility on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola has expanded their copper wire manufacturing in Boscawen to include silver wire for aerospace and medical applications.

    (WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

  • Machine operator Ken Poulin of Northfield spools copper wire onto a coating machine at Elektrisola's facility in Boscawen on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola is an international company that employs 176 people in Boscawen.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)
  • Machine operator Ken Poulin of Northfield keeps the copper rolling through a row of machines that coat the bare wire at Elektrisola's facility in Boscawen on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola is an international company that employs 176 people in Boscawen.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)
  • Spools of silver wire sit at Elektrisola's Boscawen facility on August 20, 2014. Elektrisola has expanded their copper wire manufacturing in Boscawen to include silver wire for aerospace and medical applications.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON/Monitor staff)

If you worked at a chocolatier, wouldn’t you hope the company holiday bonus included some merchandise to take home? You wouldn’t if you worked at a wire manufacturer.

“Wire. It’s just not that flamboyant of a product,” said Laurie Harte, human resources manager for Elektrisola, with a laugh. The American headquarters for the international company is in Boscawen, where about 176 people work.

Elektrisola is the world’s largest manufacturer of magnetic wire, including the kind used in automotive manufacturing in Brazil, one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets. Owned by two brothers in Germany whose father started Elektrisola in 1948, the company has sales of more than $1 billion.

The Boscawen plant was the first and only Elektrisola location outside of Europe when it opened in 1976. Today, there are two plants in Asia and one in Mexico, along with plants in Italy and Germany.

The wires made in New Hampshire for auto manufacturing are used in the automatic braking systems, the radio, the heat systems and dozens of other systems, said Vice President George Downing.

“There’s 48 uses for magnet wire in an automobile, but some customers don’t say what the wire we make specifically will be used for,” he said.

To make the wires, Elektrisola designs and builds machines that stretch and lengthen long copper or silver pieces until they’re several times thinner than a human hair.

Over the past two years, the company has diversified its product line to stir up new business, he said. A new flat silver wire is used in aerospace and medical machines such as sonograms.

They’re also now selling medical tubing for catheters that’s made by

coating very thin wires with a substance, then removing the wire after the coating hardens to leave a hollow tube.

That work is more local – the medical devise manufacturers that use the tubing are located in New England.

The Boscawen facility also makes authentic steel guitar strings for Fender and Gibson.

“We still make the old stuff, and that’s still what people want,” Downing said. “There’s something about the clang.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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