Investments in Eastern Europe start. A distribution center for cemented-carbide products is established in Kentucky, U.S. Cooperation with Atlas Copco in the rock tools area is terminated. A new generation of milling inserts, New Wave, records strong commercial success. The Impero tool company in Italy is acquired. A drawing mill for stainless steel wire is acquired in Mjölby, Sweden, as are file plants in Finland and the UK.
Cemented-carbide drills are developed for the electronics industry. Q-Cut, a new generation of tools for parting and grooving is introduced. A manufacturer of down-the-hole equipment, Mission in the U.S., is acquired. A number of other acquisitions are completed including Metinox in the UK, for medical products in stainless steel. An internal bank operation and holding company is started in the Netherlands with a subsidiary in Switzerland.
Seco Tools acquires its competitor Carboloy in the U.S. with more than 1,200 employees. Sandvik Hard Materials starts production of ceramics for individually-made dental crowns. Acquisitions are made in the cemented- carbide field in Denmark, Belgium and the U.S. The company in Arnprior, Canada, becomes wholly owned. The acquisition is completed of Sterling Tubes in Walsall, UK.
The 100th anniversary of the Sandvik hand saw. Investments are made in insert production worldwide: a total of 45 production units now exist within Coromant tools. A new cemented-carbide grade, Dual Properties, is introduced for button bits. A new stainless steel for the production of methanol is launched. Seco Tools temporarily becomes a wholly owned subsidiary prior to flotation on the stock exchange. A share split of 4:1 is made.
Some partly owned cemented-carbide companies and Spooner are sold. A new, duplex steel is developed, SAF 2507, with applications including the manufacture of umbilical tubes for the oil and gas industry. A representative office is opened in Beijing, China.
Per-Olof Eriksson is appointed new managing director. The new decentralized organization is implemented with seven separate business areas, regional companies and service companies. Avesta Sandvik Tube (Sandvik 25%) and Fagersta Stainless (Sandvik 50%) are established in conjunction with the restructuring of the Swedish specialty steel industry. A new generation of tools for thread turning is introduced: the T-Max U-lock.
A dramatic year. Göran Ahlström becomes managing director and presents a new decentralized organization for the Group. Skånska Cementgjuteriet succeeds Kinnevik as principal owner of Sandvik. A new board is elected and the CEO of Asea, Percy Barnevik, becomes chairman of the board. Restructuring and divestments are performed in the organization also outside of Sweden. The first loss in 62 years is recorded. The long-term holding in the Krångede hydroelectric power plant is sold to rescue the cash flow. A number of companies and plants are closed. Saws and Tools production in Sandviken is relocated to Bollnäs and Edsbyn among other sites. Inserts of cubic boron nitride and ceramic are introduced.
Many divestments are made of companies and units, primarily in Saws and Tools as well as in Process Systems, including parts of Disston. Even Euro- tungstene is in the process of being divested. Fagersta's production of drill steel is taken over. A joint venture company is established with Fagersta for welded stainless steel tube. The first of Sandvik Coromant's Training centers (later termed Productivity centers) is inaugurated in Halesowen, UK.
A substantial decline in sales leads to the restructuring and closure of units as well as a reduction in the number of employees by more than 2,200 people. Sandvik Coromant launches the Delta Drill, which has a significantly higher capacity than conventional spiral drills. Sandvik Coromant introduces DD, direct distribution, from the central warehouses to the customers in Finland and Poland. A new material comprising cemented carbide and steel, Cast-in-Carbide, is presented for rolls in wire-rod-rolling in the steel industry. Umbilical tubes are developed for the oil and gas industry. Sandvik becomes part-owner of a steam generator manufacturer in Arnprior, Ontario, Canada. Continuous casting of steel starts in Sandviken. A subsidiary is set up in Zimbabwe. Open-hearth production with the Martin process is discontinued in Sandviken, thereby marking the end of all ore-based steel production. Scrap iron replaces ore as raw material.
Acquisitions include acquiring a majority holding in the French firm Eurotungstene, and five smaller companies. A new pilger mill is built for heavy-duty seamless tube in Sandviken. Block Tools, a system for rapid tool changes in turning is introduced, as is Varilock, a modular tool-holding system for rotating tools. The first unit of Sandvik Rotoform is developed for pastillization of liquid chemicals, such as sulphur, to solid form (picture). A plant for tool holders is established in Mebane, NC, U.S. A subsidiary is founded in Taipei, Taiwan.
Lennart Ollén is appointed president and Arne Westerberg becomes chairman of the board. A decision is taken to erect a continuous casting plant in Sandviken. Partnership in Uddeholm Strip Steel. Kosta in Germany is acquired for holding tools. Acquisition of the UK company Osprey.
Sales of cemented-carbide products now comprise half of Group sales. The Spooner company, which operates in the food-processing industry, is acquired by the Conveyor division. A subsidiary is founded in Ireland. Small button bits are introduced which constitute the first step towards disposable drill bits.
Strip steel is rolled into textured steel for springs to safety belts in cars. The turnkey sale of a cemented-carbide plant to the Soviet Union is completed. Over 90% of sales are made on markets outside Sweden. The inserts in rock drills increasingly replaced by cemented-carbide buttons. Raise-boring heads with a diameter of two meters. A new grade of steel for tubes in refineries. Strip steel of chromium grades for sharp-edged tools. A plant for welding electrodes is established in the U.S. The head office in Canada is relocated to Mississauga, Ontario.
Particle-board presses based on steel-belt pressing plates are developed. Production of cemented carbide is started in Semine, Japan. A sales company is founded in Kobe. The Group's European distribution center for tools in Schiedam, the Netherlands, is inaugurated by the King and Queen of Sweden. The head office of the subsidiary in France is relocated to Orléans. Advanced computer technology is implemented in order processing, warehouse and production management as well as for financial reporting. Disston, an American consumer tool company, is acquired. The wire plant is opened in Brazil. The first short-hole drill with cemented-carbide inserts, T-Max U, is produced.
A new organization with four divisions. A new, high-strength steel is developed for oil sources located at great depth in difficult corrosive conditions with high temperatures. Stainless steel and alloy welding products such as strip electrodes and filler wire achieve significant success for pressure vessels used in the nuclear power industry. The Conveyor division delivers steel belts to customers in Japan for the automated sorting of goods. Wire drawing mills are being constructed in Spain and Brazil. The Saws and Tools division initiates a series of acquisitions and builds a new head office.
A record year following the first oil crisis. Two plants for welded stainless steel tubes are acquired in the UK and Germany. Tubes for ethylene furnaces are developed for application in high-temperature processes. Ferro- nickel alloys are produced for use in relays and switches in the electronics industry.
Sandvik acquires 65% of all shares in the Seco Tools group. The British company Wickman Wimet is acquired with units in Coventry, Featherstone, Glasgow and Nuneaton in the UK as well as units in South Africa. Sandvik now has 57 subsidiaries. The Odex eccentric drilling equipment is launched for drilling through difficult soil conditions to solid rock.
Roller bits are put into use for open-pit mining of ore. The company name is changed to Sandvik AB from Sandvikens Jernverks AB. Technical consulting in the field of cutting tools is organized under Coromant Multi Service. The new, unique, close-pitched milling cutter, the Sandvik Auto, gains a widened market in the automotive industry. The ejector drill is equipped with a deep-hole-drilling cutter head with indexable inserts. Stainless flapper valve steel for compressors undergo further development. The new Sandflex hacksaw blade is practically unbreakable. The Sandvik 2000 Super- Cut hand saw improves cutting performance. Investments are made in advanced mainframe computers. A wire drawing mill is acquired in Barcelona, Spain, as is a plant for producing cemented carbide in Argentina.
The first Coromant school is started in Düsseldorf. Indexable inserts are produced with new geometries and chip breakers already at the sintering stage. Milling tools are introduced for processing aluminum in engine and gearbox components. Sandvik's rock drills are used for driving the world's longest road tunnel through the Saint-Gotthard Massif in Switzerland. Easy-to-handle extension rods are developed. Substantial orders from European nuclear power plants, and orders for hydraulic tubes in titanium for the supersonic aircraft Concorde. Steel operations in the U.S. move to Scranton, PA, where production of stainless steel tube and industrial springs starts. Outside Montreal, Canada, a cemented-carbide plant is built, primarily for studs to winter tires. The French company Safety is acquired– a manufacturer of cemented-carbide cutting tools.
Sales of cemented-carbide products account for 40% of the Group's sales. A new steel grade is introduced for surgical needles (picture). Sandvik's free-cutting steel finds multiple uses in the mechanical engineering industry. Guldsmedshytte Bruk is acquired to supply pig iron. A trading company, Santrade, is formed in Switzerland with a subsidiary in the Netherlands. Companies are founded in Bogotá, Colombia, and in Nairobi, Kenya.