Page 36 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - August 2019
P. 36

1979-2019 Celebrating Our
                         40th Year Serving the Industry,

                  Wire Rope News & Sling Technology ask long-time experts
                                to share memories and comments on…

               Our Industry Over the Past 40 Years

                                Jeff Gilbert, Chief Executive AWRF

                  hen  Don  at Wire  Rope News  Rope. Pacific Wire Rope, Universal  ued to grow over the last 43 years
             Wasked me to comment about  Wire  Rope, Broadrick  and Bascom  and has become a well-known  or-
             40 years in  the wire  rope and rig-  were  also absorbed by other com-  ganization globally. Our  Technical
             ging industry it brought to mind a  panies. So today when I look at this  Committee is a force to be reckoned
             lot of thoughts and transitions that  chart in front of me, the ones that  with in today’s world.
             we have gone through.            are left in the industry are Wireco   We  are also, in  the AWRF, very
               When I  started out in  this busi-  Worldgroup,  Bridon-American, and  much involved in the synthetic and
             ness with Bethlehem steel corp. it                               cordage industry. We have con-
             was a unique period in business his-                             ducted numerous seminars on the
             tory in this country. Most folks today                           application of synthetic rope and
             don’t remember in the 70s that the                               sling products. As with hydraulics
             American industry was subject to                                 in the 70s and early 80s, synthetics
             price constraints by the federal gov-                            will be a force to be reckoned with
             ernment. In the wire rope business,                              in lifting and rigging products. As
             we  couldn’t  raise  prices,  therefore                          with the wire rope industry, our
             it created shortages of product that                             rigging shops are being acquired by
             resulted in allocation of wire rope to                           other rigging shops as well as large
             the various companies around the                                 conglomerates. So the landscape
             country by producers. At that time,                              will continue to change in the next
             there  were  12  wire  rope  companies                           number of years.
             left in the united states, down from                               If anyone who reads this article
             24 during WWII. Three manufactur-                                wishes  to follow the wire  rope in-
             ers of the product were integrated                               dustry, and other  products in  this
             steel mills, the rest of the compa-                              industry, the AWRF maintains our
             nies were independently owned and                                archives  at the Colorado School of
             bought their raw materials. Also, al-                            Mines.  It  has  been  a  privilege  and
             most all of those companies had their                            continuing  pleasure  to be involved
             own  splicing  departments.  Slowly,                             with  a  unique  industry  in  which
             gradually as the independent fabri-                              the industrialized world cannot live
             cators became more and more promi-  Bethlehem Wire Rope (Wirerope  without. It is also gratifying the sec-
             nent, most of the  bigger  companies  Works).  Bethlehem  Wire  Rope  is  ond and third generations involved
             stopped fabricating slings and other  the only mention of Bethlehem  in the rigging industry continuing
             assemblies  other  than  strand  work  Steel  in  any  way  or  shape,  it  has  its success for lifetimes to come. n
             for bridges and towers.          completely disappeared from any-
               One by one we started losing com-  thing to do with wire rope and steel.
             panies by acquisition and just plain  As a further thought about the in-
             going out of business, like US Steel.  dustry, I’ve had the pleasure of ob-
             As I look  at my chart on the wall  serving the growth of the Associated
             which was put out by the American  Wire Rope  Fabricators, which was
             iron  and steel institute, a commit-  established in 1976. I also am view-
             tee of wire rope producers, we have  ing a picture of the founding fathers
             seen that Wireco  Worldgroup pur-  of the association, in which there is
             chased Leschen Wire Rope, Union  only one  surviving  founder  (David
             Wire  Rope, and Macwhyte  Wire  Bishop). The association has contin-

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