Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Employee Group Buys Fastener Engineers

January 11
00:00 2012

June 1, 1982 FIN – Fastener Engineers, Inc., (Rockford, Ill.) pioneer manufacturer of capstan wire drawing machines in-line with cold headers, has been sold to a group of three present and one former employees, headed by Charles R. Mentzel (see Fastener Industry News for May 1, 1982, scroll down below).
The group bought the name, the engineering, vital papers, customer lists and some machinery. It is building a new plant in an industrial park in Rockford, which it expects to be in by late summer. Until then, it will operate out of the present plant at 720 South Street, Rockford, Ill.; (815) 968-7571.

“You don’t like to be in business 25 years then turn it over to some turkey to destroy overnight,” explains George Boem to FIN and Paul R. Lathom, the founder, had owned the business and were ready “to do a few other things in life.”

“Paul and I have the same old corporation. We just peeled the Fastener Engineers name off it like a label. Over the years we had many companies and one we had 25 years ago was named Rock-Lock Manufacturing Co., which is the name we will use now.” They have no specific plans as to what product or service they might eventually offer, but “old horses never quit.”

They looked at themselves, Bone says, “and said that the market out there is so crummy it is going to really get back. Do we want to sit here and pound this thing or do we want to take advantage this opportunity? The new owners are young, knowledgeable, very aggressive, very hungry. There will be a lot new screw plants that are under capitalized starting out, and these guys will be in there.”

Production machinery has been broken into two groups. One parcel was sold to the new owners of Fastener Engineers. The other—that involved in its shank slotters business—was sold to Warren Industries, Inc., a company also in Rockford making thread rolling and screw head slotting machines. Whatever is left will be sold off piecemeal, ending up with an auction. The property will also be sold.

The repair parts and service business has been so poor—”You could hardly buy breakfast food with the amount of business we had”—that little replacement market is seen. The machines are well built and simple and “going into places where there are many of them so all of the production people on the headers known how to run this stuff.”

The line has been expanded considerable in the last three years, going into larger equipment and more varied equipment. Hydraulic in-line wire drawers that will uncoil and draw 2″ rod to wire not only serve screw machines but provide a good entrée into the forging business. “The blanks to be forged,” Boem told FIN, “have to be very accurate in physical size and in weight. So, by drawing the 1 1/2″-2″ rod into wire and cropping it (we developed a line of shears as well) to exact gram weights, we’ve given them a steel blank which they can now forge in a closed die, which is a pretty important thing.”

“This is just the beginning of this particular game,” Boem added. “There is a tremendous move on in the metals game to move from the screw machining business to the forging business. The present depression will cause this part of the business to blossom a little later than we would have hoped. But I think that part of the business will be every bit as important if not more than the capstan business of the past.”

He thinks the next decade will see large sales of fastener equipment in general. “In the next ten years there will be no headers more than 10-12 years old because the downtime alone will make it physically impossible for owners of older machines to compete.” Machines will run hard, fast and constantly, day and night, day in, day out in the Japanese fashion, he says. ©1982/2012 Fastener Industry News. For information on permission to reuse or reprint this article please e-mail:


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