Global Fastener News

1986 FIN – Nucor Anticipating National’s Machinery Will Yield 32 Times the Productivity

August 14
00:00 2015

By Dick Callahan, Editor
Fastener Industry News
April 10, 1986 FIN – Nucor Fastener Division general manager Keith Busse has an update on Nucor Corp’s plans to construct a 300,000 sq ft fastener plant in St. Joe, Indiana – which was announced last autumn in FIN.
As Nucor moves closer to its fourth quarter date for putting the plant on stream to produce standard hex head cap screws, hex bolts and socket head cap screws, the industry is looking closer at this newcomer to fastener making and perhaps wondering how the company can hope to succeed where so many domestic companies have failed in the face of lower cost imports.
This reporter, who edited a steel publication for five years and was also a reporter for American Metal Market, is well aware of what Nucor has done in the past but the company and its founder-chairman-CEO, F. Kenneth Iverson, is relatively unknown, we’ve found, to many in the fastener industry. We have been collecting some background on Iverson and his activities to pass along to FIN readers but we changed our mind about publishing it. Why? Because another publication, INC., in its April issue, page 41 to 48 has a profile on Iverson which spells out in-depth just who Iverson is and why the chances for his success in the fastener business look good. We suggest you get a copy and read it.
For those who are unable to find a copy we’ll give you some highlights of that part of the article, with a thank you to INC’s staff, which describes Iverson’s thinking about how he’ll make fasteners. This is Iverson responding to a question from INC.
We are going to make fasteners–bolts, plain old bolts that you buy in a hardware store. Today, 90 to 95% of them are made outside of the United States. We’ve studied it for a year now, and we decided that we can make bolts as cheaply as foreign producers and make a profit at it. So we’re in the process of constructing a bolt plant in St. Joe, Indiana.We’ll probably have $30 million in it, including working capital, to produce 40,000 tons of bolts annually. And it will be the most sophisticated, modern bolt plant in the world. We’ve got things that nobody else has.
The numbers are fantastic. On a standard old bolt maker, you have two guys making 100 bolts per minute — an operator and an assistant. The assistant is generally there because of the union. But we have a bolt maker that makes 400 bolts per minute and the machine is so automated that if anything happens it automatically shuts down. So one man can operate four machines. That’s 1,600 bolts per minute per person compared with 50 on the old basis. So you’re talking about 32 times the productivity.
Actually we’re toying with the idea that we could do even better than that,by “ghosting” — having those bolt makers loaded up and operated unmanned during a third shift. When they run out of material, they shut themselves down.
FIN would like to note, because Iverson didn’t, that the machines that will be turning out those bolts in St. Joe are made by a domestic company, National Machinery of Tiffin, Ohio.  ©1986/2015 Fastener Industry News.
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