(Note: The following
has been submitted as a guest post to CommScope Blogs by Craig Lekutis,
Publisher of WirelessEstimator.com.
Opinions and comments provided in this guest post, as with all posts to
CommScope Blogs, are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
views of CommScope.)
1999, a 60,000 square-foot helicopter guidance chip manufacturing facility was
being transformed into a manufacturing plant for antenna and line support
products along with enterprising co-location mounting frames.
CLICK TO TWEET: Guest blog author Craig Lekutis highlights what a difference a couple of decades make in the wireless industry.
years earlier in 1996, the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) held
its first conference with a respectable 223 participants who were determined to
elevate the safety of wireless infrastructure workers.
month in Texas, CommScope and NATE proudly displayed what a difference a couple
of decades can make. On
my way to CommScope’s sprawling 11-acre facility in Euless, Tex. to take part
in a tour that was being held so that FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr could learn
of the exacting ISO standards, technology and production equipment that is required
to produce the street furniture and other structures necessary to roll out 5G,
I recalled my first visit almost two decades earlier.
that time, Plant Site Manager Kevin Paswalk was directing the ambitious
expansion of the facility to meet the growing demand for co-location products
and customer integration fulfillment needs. For
someone who had never been in a manufacturing plant, it was truly interesting
to see how workers in five welding booths, one saw operator and a turret punch
and break press operator could turn out precision products so quickly.
20 years later, that interest turned into amazement as I witnessed the
technological advances at the CommScope facility. Four
work cells with robotic welders, laser cutters and other equipment were humming
along with loud rhythmic sounds made by seemingly endless break presses and
punch equipment within the plant’s 250,000 square feet under roof.
Carr was also taken in by the expansive facilities that started with 30
employees during a single shift to over 180 employees today that are required
for the 24/7 operation. He
said that CommScope was playing a critical role in making the transition to 5G
and assisting the nation to be able to enjoy the economic benefits and
opportunities that 5G will provide. During
the tour, Paswalk, who is still enjoying the challenges of continuing to expand
the plant, said the facility currently processes close to 1.8 million pounds of
steel a month.
attendance eclipsed expectations
that evening, Commissioner Carr was a keynote speaker at NATE UNITE 2019 in
Grapevine which saw a record number of attendees. FCC
Chairman Ajit Pai was also a keynote speaker at the event that has become the
premiere wireless infrastructure show.
recall the first conference in 1996 in Orlando that saw an impressive
attendance of over 200 people and approximately a dozen exhibitors standing
behind folding tables in a hallway as they distributed mostly dog-eared black
and white brochures. Like
CommScope’s remarkable transition, NATE’s event dwarfed its first Orlando
conference with over 2,000 attendees and a packed exhibit hall with
approximately 130 exhibitors, representing a who’s who in the industry on the
service and supply-side chain.
were also 22 educational topics
and skill-building sessions, receptions and a host of other activities
that provided excellent networking opportunities and a comradeship seldom
achieved at industry conferences. Next year’s show, the Association’s 25th,
will be held in Raleigh, and it’s likely that it will be a sellout event