Alflex Corp., Long Beach, Calif., and General Cable Corp., Highland Heights, Ky., formed a product development and marketing alliance in which General Cable will supply all of Alflex's needs for aluminum wire and cable and the companies will jointly develop new products.

The alliance unites Alflex's armored cable and General Cable's power wiring and low-voltage wiring products.

Alflex and General Cable also plan to form a joint venture to develop composite cables combining power and data cable for offices, security systems, factory communication and industrial automation. The new products will be sold by both companies' sales channels.

"What we're trying to do is get into the whole office automation business," says Roddy Macdonald, Alflex's chief operating officer. "We're working with them to try to develop a standard. The problem in the marketplace at the moment is that there is no standard. So what happens is you end up doing specialty cables for every single job. Whereas if you can have a common standard throughout the industry, that will be better for everyone."

The formation of that joint venture is subject to execution of definitive agreements by both companies.