Stagnation in the Industry
Demands for Help in Modernization Drive
A cobble—that's a cobble,” said Tom Yenney, as long sheets of red-hot steel flapped back into snarled loops. Machinery at one end of Bethlehem Steel's hot-strip mill at Sparrows Point, Md., had just jammed, and as a result metal sheets had backed up into scrunched accordions all the way down the line of rollers—a distance longer than two football fields. Now, as workers reversed the rollers to untangle the steel, production supervisor Yenney explained that the mangled sheets would have to be returned to furnaces to be remelted and recast.
“We have about one cobble a day here,” Yenney said, “while you'd have maybe one a month in a modern mill.” Actually, during the five or 10 ...