Global Fastener News

1983 FIN – Michigan Wire Expanding in Cold Heading

June 02
00:00 2011

November 25, 1983 FIN – Michigan Wire Processing Company, Inc. has expanded its capabilities to serve its customers in the cold heading and cold finished bar business.

The Lowell, Michigan, company on November 15 started up a third pickling and coating line. Heavy demand for protective atmosphere annealing was the basic reason for this expansion along with plans to increase coil to coil drawing capacity to just over 1-1/2″ diameter. The company also announced that it will put a Crown acid recovery system on stream in December.

FIN spoke with Donald Fizer, president of the company, recently on the growing role of independent processors like his company and the impact they are having on rod and bar consumers around the country, particularly fastener manufacturers.

Following, in Finzer’s words, is the way he explained the emergence of the independent processor, their relationship to the basic steel industry, and now these independent processors are helping U.S. manufacturers compete against Japanese wire.

“There is no doubt in our mind” Fizer told FIN, “that we are making a great contribution toward at least maintaining fastener business in this country and possibly even recovering some lost business. For many years the steel industry has applied the ‘mushroom treatment’ to the cold headers. This gross indifference to the problems caused the buyers of raw material to look abroad for solutions and we all know the results.”

“During the same period a number if manufacturers were digging a little deeper into the problems and began to separate some of the causes of material failure and found there were some really distinct and identifiable solutions. It was determined that the aging steel industry was operating with a great deal of obsolete and antiquitated equipment in the area of secondary processing and the resulting product was often confused with ‘bad steel’.”

“Today, thousands of tons are going into application that were reserved for Japanese wire just a few years ago. This is being done by astute companies who are defining applications and aligning themselves with sources who are able to offer a menu of processes rather than ‘this is all we have, take it or leave it.’ Of course, the new market mills were the first to take advantage of this system because they choose not to tie up valuable because they chose not to tie up valuable capital and labor processing. The established older mills felt we were a parasite at first, but one by one they are coming to us now because they know we are able to help them generate incremental tonnage. The future is really quite bright and I guess to expand throughout this past recession.”

“There are, of course, pitfalls. Many independent wire companies have in the past taken in processing work to fill out their schedules and equipment. Then when business booms they push this work to the back to turn over their own expensive inventory and the consumer once again gets turned off and feels that processing does not work. But this is not true because he has chosen a part time and not a total processor. There are problems among pure processors due to equipment differences and frequently the consumers are not sure what they really want and opt for what appear to be lower prices when in fact they are buying the wrong process. Another sad commentary is some product is over processed because the customer really does not understand what he wants.”

“You notice, I have not even mentioned the economic advantages. Most of the time we do not even talk about them because once we begin working with the customer what we do becomes the most important factors. Nevertheless, they are thrilled to put those saved raw material bucks back into what they hope is profit.”

Fizer told FIN that his company was started seven years ago in Lowell by himself and Don Deitrich (now deceased) as a lime coating company. Before starting up his own company Fizer had been manager of the annealing and coating operations at Lancing Heat Treat Co.

The new enterprise got off the ground with three employees and a single acid pickle and lime coating line. Gradually the company added annealing and more coating capacity and got into drawing.

Today there are 48 employees and the plant has grown to 60,000 sq. ft.

“How’s business today?” we asked Fizer. He told us that even during the worst phases of the recent recession the company continued to grow and in the last years sales were up about 35% over the former year.

Michigan Wire Processing Company, Inc. is located at 138 Water Street, PO Box 70, Lowell, Michigan 49331. ©1983/2011 Fastener Industry News

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