Global Fastener News

1980 FIN – IFI Plus 7 Trade Associations Meet to Discuss Future of Wire Rod Supply

May 23
00:00 2009


May 15, 1980 FIN – Representatives of eight trade associations, including the Industrial Fasteners Institute and one Ad Hoc Committee comprised of manufacturers of wire and wire products met in Washington on May 6 to discuss the future available supply of wire rod and other subjects of common interests. The industry groups represented were: Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute, The Ad Hoc Group of Domestic Steel Wire Rope and Specialty Cable Manufacturers, Independent Wire Producers Association; Industrial Fasteners Institute, National Association of Chain Manufacturers, Specialty Wire Association, Stainless Steel Industry of the U.S., Welding Filler Metal Manufacturers of NEMA, and the Wire Reinforcement Institute. The wire rod consumers agreed that the Trigger Price Mechanism (TPM) should be reinstated and that all wire and wire products in the future would also be covered by the TPM. It was also the consensus of the group that an integral step in assuring an adequate supply of domestic wire rod would be the passage of the Capital Cost Recovery Act, which calls for accelerating business depreciation schedules to 10 years for buildings, 5 years for equipment and 3 years for rolling stock. In a related move, William E. Hitchcock, Jr., president of the Independent Wire Producers Association told the Commerce Department that the trigger price for wire rod had been artificially high because it was based on Japanese production costs although for many products the quality of the wire rod produced by the Japanese is far superior to that required for the majority of products manufactured by the independent wire producer. Just why the users of wire rod, except possibly those requiring cold heading quality rod and special alloys, are worried about the domestic supply of wire rod is something that puzzles FIN.
Our own top off the top of the head calculations indicate that even with the removal from the marketplace of some U.S. Steel Corp. rod mill capacity, there certainly seems more than enough capacity to supply any future needs. To put some numbers on that contention here’s how FIN see the current wire rod picture in the U.S. in terms of producers and their present annual rated capacity in tons. (Annual tonnage in parentheses) Al Tech Specialty Steel Corp. (45,000); Ameron Inc. (120,000); Armco Inc. (650,000 at Kansas and 14,500 at Baltimore); Atlantic Steel Co. (180,000); Bethlehem Steel Corp. (450,000 at Sparrows Point and 300,000 at Johnstown, PA); Carpenter Technology Corp. (45,000 at Bridgeport and Reading, PA.); Charter Rolling (150,000); Crucible Inc. (30,000); Cyclops Corp. (16,000); Georgetown Steel Corp. (520,000 at Georgetown, S.C. and 600,000 at Beaumont, Texas); Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. (180,000); Northwestern Steel & Wire (250,000); Penn Dixie Steel Corp. (320,000); Republic Steel Corp. (120,000); Raritan River Steel Co. (600,000 when up to capacity); United States Steel Corp. (720,000 at Fairless, 700,000 at South Works, 540,000 at Cuyahoga and 360,000 at Joliet).
In addition there’s now idle U.S. Steel Corp rod mill at Pittsburg, California, which could be reactivated by that company or someone else and the possibility of the construction of new rod mills by Tree Island Steel, Carpenter Technology and Davis-Walker. To this you can add the output of some nearby foreign rod mills, such as the 600,000 tons/year unit being constructed by the Iron & Steel Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (ISCOTT) which is looking to the U.S. as a major market for this rod. Concern about prices we understand. Concern about supply we don’t. ©1980/2009 Fastener Industry News
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