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Professional Development Program

The Professional Development / Training Courses constitute an industry-recognized program, featuring Core Courses in fiber, copper, extrusion, and materials offered annually. The four Core Courses will provide basic technology information helpful to those new to the industry. Participants have the opportunity to achieve a certificate of recognition for completing each of the courses. The 2024 IWCS Professional Development Courses will commence on Monday, October 14 with four concurrent courses. Individuals enrolled in a course are encouraged to also register as a full-access attendee so they can participate in Technical Symposium and additional event components.

Core Courses

The annual Core Courses are Copper 101, Fiber 101, Materials 101 and Extrusion 101. These four Core Courses will provide those new to our cable & connectivity industry with basic technology information. Participants have the opportunity to achieve a certificate of recognition for completing each of the Core Courses.

Core Course Descriptions

Introduction to the design and application of copper conductor communications cables.


Trent Hayes, Engineering Director, CommScope Incorporated, USA
Larry Bleich, Engineering Director, CommScope Incorporated, USA


An introduction to the design and application of copper conductor communications cables. Students will understand how coaxial, twisted pair and twin axial cables are designed and how they operate upon completing the class. The instructors will provide background material on the history of copper cabling followed by sections on applications, design and construction of cables. Current standards and design examples are also reviewed by the instructors. Materials that are typically used in copper conductor communication cables will be incorporated at a fairly high level into the design exercises.

Provides a basic analysis tool for identifying potential machinery bottlenecks due to the extrusion group, so as to solve issues which are hampering productivity and quality.


Dr. Stéphan Puissant, Design of Extruders; Samp srl, Italy; Assistant Professor in Polymer Processing, InSIC, France

Dr. Bo Li, Product and Application Development Researcher, LyondellBasell, USA


The complete extrusion process is complex and involves a lot of machines having each a different function. The heart of the process being extrusion, we focus in this course on the extrusion group, i.e. extruder and cross head (distributor and tooling).

The single screw extruder seems to be a very simple machine. However, the extrusion process is complex as it is governed by interacting laws from different mechanical engineering fields i.e., thermodynamics, flow mechanics, properties of solid and molten polymers etc. Therefore, in a first step, the physical characteristics (viscosity, conductivity, melting) of polymers used in extrusion are presented. These properties will be the keys to understand the functioning of the thermoplastics extrusion process.

The material basis being covered, the focus will shift on the functioning of the single screw extruder. There the 3 functional zones of the extruder are introduced. For each zone, we will see its functioning in relation to material properties. This mechanism having been described, we will obtain some hints of the optimal screw designs (for some broader plastic families!), so as solutions which may be used to solve problematic issues.

After being plastified (molten), the polymer will be formed in its final shape by some extrusion head. In this part of the course, the basics of distributor design according to the materials are presented. After discussing the effects of distributor geometries, we will also compare different tool designs. And the influence of temperature settings on concentricity, adhesion and surface quality will be shown.

For each of the different items (extruder, X-head, even cooling) covered in the course, we will try to give some practical hints in addition to a more theoretical approach.

Overview of optical fiber fundamentals and optical cable design principles to those new to the fiber optic cables.


Corey Keisler, Senior Development Engineer, Corning Optical Communications, USA


This course will explore several aspects of optical fiber and cable design technology with particular focus on products for communications. It will discuss application considerations to select a product appropriate for a given installation environment and the basic considerations necessary for successful design of optical fiber cables.

The first part of this course will outline the characteristics and fundamental operating principles of optical fibers and the key differences between Single-Mode and Multimode optical fibers. Included will be critical fiber parameters and their impact on system performance. Specific topics will include the Advantages of Optical Fiber, Optical Fiber Manufacturing, Total Internal Reflection, Attenuation, Dispersion, Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD), Cutoff Wavelength and other optical parameters critical to optical communications.

The second part of this course will explore the functional requirements of optical fiber cables and some of the fundamental design equations which can be used to ensure a cable will meet a given installation or operational requirement. The course will also discuss selection of a product appropriate for a given installation environment. Structural differences between cables for indoor, outdoor, and specialty applications will be explored including stranded loose tube cables, central and stranded tube ribbon cables, tight buffered cables and optical power ground wire cables.

The course is intended for all wire and cable practitioners including raw material suppliers, cable manufacturers, and end users interested in gaining a broad understanding of applied material selection as it relates to cable performance.


Dr. Paul Brigandi, Application Development Leader, Dow, USA
Yixuan Song, Associate TS&C Scientist, Dow, USA


In this course, the selection and implementation of polymer materials used in the construction of wires and cables will be reviewed. The course will focus on polymer materials utilized in telecommunication cable applications with focus on twisted pair, coaxial, and fiber optic cables. An overview of the materials science essential to the polymer properties and additives employed in cable compounds will be covered to level- set all attendees. Further, the fundamental characteristics (advantages and disadvantages) of materials will be presented which can be then considered in selecting a material for use in a finished cable construction, with specific sections covering jackets, insulations and fiber optic materials. In addition, the effect of additives on material performance will also be discussed, particularly those that impart ultraviolet resistant and flame retardant properties on the materials.

2023 Elective Course Descriptions

This elective course is designed for industry professionals who are interested in furthering their knowledge of electrical transmission in high-performance cables.


Alistair Duffy, Faculty of Technology De Montfort University, United Kingdom

Kenneth Cornelison, Wire & Cable Technology Resources


This course reviews the fundamental transmission line theory inherent in all cables, relating the electrical property fundamentals to the transmission in high performance cables. Basic building blocks of electrically long transmission lines are described, and how they relate to modern cable design. The course also covers the testing technology for high frequency cables. Measurement procedures, principles and techniques are covered, highlighting areas important for the latest cable types. Operation of test equipment such as vector network analyzers is reviewed, and the different methods of operation for laboratory and field test equipment. The course will briefly touch on some of the trends in cable applications and design that are influencing measurement technology and techniques. The course ranges from fundamental theory to practical application.

This elective course is designed for industry professionals who are interested or involved in the selection of fiber types and connectivity solutions for data center and enterprise applications.


Dr. Scott Bickham, Development Fellow, Corning Optical Communications, USA


Low-loss optical fibers were first fabricated over fifty years ago, and many types of fibers have been developed in conjunction with transceiver technology to enable deliver an ever-increasing amount of bandwidth over longer distances. This course will summarize some of the key developments in optical fiber technology that have enabled high-capacity data transmission in applications ranging from data centers to fiber-to-the-X to undersea communication systems. After presenting a brief refresher on the basic properties of optical waveguides, the course will discuss some of the key attributes of single-mode fibers, including attenuation mechanisms and the tradeoff between cutoff wavelength, bend loss and mode field diameter. The second section of the course will focus on multimode fibers and how the designs have evolved to deliver high modal bandwidth in conjunction with low macrobend loss to enable significant reductions in the sizes of the cables, hardware and equipment that are deployed in data centers. The course will conclude with an overview of the types of fibers that are being considered for co-packaged optics and other applications which will require high bandwidth density.

This elective course is intended for all wire and cable practitioners including raw material suppliers, cable manufacturers, and end users interested in gaining a broad understanding of applied material selection as it relates to cable performance and processing.


Dr. Bianca Hydutsky, Senior Technology Manager The Chemours Company, USA

Fred Johnston, Senior Scientist The Chemours Company, USA

Robert Young, Technical Fellow The Chemours Company, USA


In this course, we will review the selection and implementation of fluoropolymers utilized in various wire and cable constructions. The unique high temperature and desirable electrical properties of these materials make them well suited for a variety of high-performance constructions especially in data transfer where higher operating frequencies and greater bandwidth is of great interest. The different types of fluoropolymers will be highlighted providing a comparison of properties to assist in the selection of the material(s) most suited for the desired end-use application. A general overview of the processing of fluoropolymers will be also reviewed with an emphasis on understanding the extrusion conditions and configurations best suited for the material and construction of interest.

Professional Development Certificates and Achievement Plaques

Attendance certificates are given to students attending any of the courses. Over time, students completing the four Core Courses, along with two Electives, will be presented with an IWCS Professional Development achievement plaque.


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