Global Fastener News

1983 FIN – Bethlehem Fastener Sales Improvement Never Materialized in 1982

January 15
00:00 2011


1982 Steel Shipments Fall 31%
Bethlehem Steel Corporation isn’t the only integrated steel producer suffering declining shipments of finished mill products. As a whole, American steel industry’s shipments of finished mill products fell more than 31% in 1982 to the lowest level since 1949.
Shipments last year were 59,783,000 net tons, compared with 87,014,000 tons in 1981.
The historic high for shipments occurred in 1973 when 111.4 million tons were shipped.
Industrial fasteners were off 42% in 1982 compared with 1981.  In 1982, 423,419 net tons were shipped representing 0.7% of total steel product shipments. In 1981, 730,623 net tons were shipped, representing 0.8% of all shipments. The difference was 307,204 net tons, representing a decline of 42%.  ©1983/2011 Fastener Industry News.



By Dick Callahan
FIN Editor
March 2, 1983 FIN – Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s Richard M. Harris, general manager for fasteners, recently reported on the progress of that operation as a separate entity within Bethlehem  and painted a rather bleak picture of what went on in 1982. And his forecast for the first half of 1983 isn’t much brighter.
“The past year was a great disappointment,” said the head of the corporation’s Industrial Fastener Division in Lebanon, PA. “Any improvement we had anticipated for 1982 never materialized and, in fact, business got worse.”

Harris told FIN the plant’s entire product line suffered during the past year and the prospects for 1983 “appear very limited through the first two quarters.”

At year’s end, total employment at Lebanon stood at approximately 1,200 working and 310 on layoff.

By comparison, at the end of 1981 total employment at the plant was 1,500 and that compared to 1,600 at the end of the previous year.

The five major product lines produced at Lebanon are mine roof bolts, track spikes, sucker rods, standard nuts and bolts land special forgings.

Of these, nine roof bolts suffered most during 1982 because of the low levels of operations in the nation’s underground coal mines. Orders for railroad track spikes fell off throughout the year because of reduced activity on the nation’s railroads and the current oil glut caused a drastic reduction in the sale of sucker rods for drill rigs.

As for standard nuts and bolts, Harris told FIN that imports are now approaching 60% of the American market, with an even higher percentage on the West Coast going to foreign products.

As for the special product market, Harris sees this area as the most promising for the Lebanon plant in the future. “Our sales engineering and operations groups are in the process of shifting emphasis from our plant’s traditional products to the special forgings area,” Harris explained. “We began this process in 1982 and are placing even greater emphasis on it in 1983.”

One bright spot for the Lebanon plant in 1982 was the installation of a new $850,000 hot dip galvanizing line, which has resulted in considerable savings in fuel and zinc consumption and greatly increased the coating quality of products processed through the line.

The Lebanon plant is the home office of the Industrial Fastener Division, which includes the Lebanon plant; manufacturing facilities at Seattle, Washington; the Vulcan plant in Birmingham, Alabama; plus mill depots at Calumet City, Illinois, and Houston, Texas.

Regarding some of the other operations, Harris said that recently installed additional track spoke production facilities at both Seattle and Birmingham have given the Division the capability of taking advantage of orders from considerable areas of the country.

The Lebanon plant produces other than standard-sized track spikes, which can be sold through the Seattle and Birmingham facilities. ©1983/2011 Fastener Industry News


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