TAB VISITS...

TAB VISITS...

Late last year Roy Gregory visited Crystal Cable and Siltech to witness our expanding factory facility in Elst! He wrote about it for The Audio Beat's TAB Visits.

TAB Visits...

Crystal Cable and Siltech Expand

by Roy Gregory | December 24, 2018

Crystal Cable and Siltech products have long been manufactured in a low block located in Elst, near Arnhem, in Holland. Yes, that Arnhem. In fact, visit the company’s administrative offices in Arnhem itself and you’ll find they overlook that bridge, the famous "bridge too far."

But history aside, the changing face of the company, and especially the move into loudspeakers, has seen the original 600-square-meter (nearly 6500 square feet) factory premises come under ever-increasing pressure. It’s not just that speakers are considerably bigger than cables, with stock taking up considerably more room. Growth in both cable ranges and increasing sales have also added to the pressure, leading the company to extend its existing premises with an entirely new 12-meter-high (39’) extension, boasting a 300-meter footprint and a mezzanine floor that covers half of that, for a 42% increase in overall floorspace. But the new block is intended primarily for warehousing, meaning that the height for tall racking amplifies that increase considerably, probably more than doubling the existing facility.

You might wonder why a company building mainly cables needs quite so much room. The answer lies in the manufacturing process itself. Most of the Crystal Cables as well as the larger Siltech designs are assembled by hand, cut and twisted in-house, with all of the non-data cables being hand-terminated. That makes it vital to have the capability to lay out long runs of cable in a linear fashion. A ten-meter cable -- not so unusual these days -- demands ten meters of clear space, plus the space around it to work. Throw in dedicated assembly space for both loudspeakers and electronics (the Siltech SAGA and Crystal Cable integrated amplifiers) and you can see how space is at a premium -- especially when you consider the arrival of new precision equipment for increasing the twist accuracy and conductor lengths of the self-assembled cables.

With the rapidly shifting audio landscape and so many shrinking markets and market sectors, it’s nice to see a company that’s expanding so fast that it has outgrown its old home. The new extension to the Crystal Cable/Siltech factory might not win any architectural awards, with the sort of squat proportions and blank walls that even its builder might struggle to love, but it serves as a welcome indication of rude health at a time when more than a few of the established manufacturers in high-end audio are struggling.

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