Global Fastener News

2003 FIN – Textron Closing More Rockford Facilities

December 07
00:00 2012

FASTENER HISTORY
2003 FIN – Textron Closing More Rockford Facilities

October 28, 2003 FIN – Textron Fastening Systems announced it would close two more fastener facilities in Rockford, IL, eliminating about 700 jobs and reducing its Rockford workforce by 50% to about 600 employees.
TFS communications director Tim Weir told FIN that the 586,000 sq ft Precision Formed Products plant and the 125,000 sq ft large diameter Raycarl plant will begin shutting down in November and will fully close by the end of 2004. Production for those products will be sent to undetermined TFS facilities.
“The economic downturn hasn’t helped us. We expected to see increased volume, and that hasn’t materialized,” Weir commented.
The consolidations will help address overcapacity. Currently TFS operates globally at about 50% capacity, Weir stated. The company would like to achieve capacity utilization of 60-80%. Weir emphasized that TFS is not downsizing production, just capacity.
Precision Formed Products produced threaded fasteners for the auto industry and employed about 450 people. Large Diameter Raycarl employed 230 workers who made cold-formed specialty fasteners for industrial and automotive customers.
According to the Rockford Register Star, the city has lost 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the past two years, and the local unemployment rate stands at 11%.
“This is not easy,” Weir noted. “It will affect a lot of people’s lives. But it’s essential that we do it to stay competitive.”
The decision to close the plants is part of a restructuring plan initiated in 2000 by parent company Textron Inc., Weir explained.
TFS announced in March that it was closing two other Rockford facilities – Precision Components Division, employing 250 people, and Syntek Products, employing 100 workers. Production for Precision Components was moved to Decorah, IA, while Syntek production was shipped to Logansport, IN, and Monterrey, Mexico.
The latest round of closings will leave TFS with two Rockford-area plants and a technology center. The company employs 40 people at its Elco Construction Products facility to make specialty fasteners for residential and commercial construction. TFS also employs 230 workers at a 185,000 sq ft facility in nearby Belvidere to make cold-formed fasteners for auto manufacturers and Tier suppliers.
Weir said TFS would continue to maintain a technology presence in Rockford, the traditional home of the fastener industry, though at a lower level than the current workforce of 300.
But he countered the popular notion that Rockford is the hub of TFS operations by stressing the company’s global presence.  “We have plants all over the world.”
TFS has nearly 11,000 employees in 17 countries. The company has operated in Rockford for nearly half a century and reportedly employed about 2,200 at one point. ©2003//2012 Fastener Industry News
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