A leading trade unionist, Vernon Kindlin, wins a bet with the Ford Motor Company after the works matches Ford’s overseas suppliers for on time delivery and quality. His prize is a free dinner.
In the year ending 1st April 1978, BSC’s losses were £443 million and there is intense political pressure to reach a breakeven point at a time when supply is exceeding demand across Europe and imports are on the increase.
Shotton equally is under pressure to reduce production costs but its open hearth furnaces are no match for the modern basic oxygen furnaces. It is taking eight hours to produce 250 tonnes of steel in an open hearth furnace compared with 350 tonnes in 40 minutes from a BOS furnace. Labour and, as a result of the oil price crisis of the 1970s, fuel costs are also significantly higher so that the works’ modern and efficient cold rolling mills are being supplied with high cost hot rolled coil.
The new No. 2 Coatings Complex is officially opened
Lady Villiers, wife of Sir Charles Villiers, Chairman of BSC, officially opens the new complex on 18th May. Costing £46 million, it is the largest purpose-built complex of its kind in the world, housing three state-of-the-art coil-to-coil lines which more than double the works’ coatings capacity to over 800,000 tonnes a year. Shotton is justifiably acclaimed “the coatings centre of Europe.” It represents the biggest single investment at the works since the full-integration developments in the early 1950s and undoubtedly secures a long term future for the plant in the light of events still to unfold.
Hot dip and electro galvanising sheet lines closed
New coil-to-coil lines replace the original hot dip galvanising and electro zinc plating sheet lines, bringing not only increased capacity and higher efficiency but also improvements in strength, surface finish, corrosion resistance and colourful finish.
Eric A.Cotterill succeeds John H.Powell as Director in charge on 1st June.