LOS ANGELES The first
significant expansion in years by a West Coast steel tubing
producer will take place not on the West Coast but 1,000 miles
to the east in the Great Plains.
Searing Industries Inc., a
family owned producer in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., said it will
begin producing structural, mechanical and ornamental tubing in
a new facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., in the first quarter of
facility, which will include a new mill, slitter and cutting
equipment, will produce tubing up to 10 inches square and
½-inch wall thickness and "all corresponding rectangles
and pipe products," according to Searing, which now produces
tubing up to 6 inches square and ½-inch wall thickness
at its Rancho Cucamonga plant.
No further details on the new
operation were available. Still, the expansion by Searing,
which was started in 1985 but whose family history in the
tubing business dates back to 1948, is considered by observers
as notable on a number of counts, not the least of which is
that the expansion is taking place outside the West Coast.
By most measures, the West Coast
is pretty well saturated with tubing capacity, with at least a
half-dozen major mills in the Los Angeles area alone, not to
mention incremental smaller, local operations and additional
production in Oregon and Utah. Moreover, the
construction-related consumption that accounts for the bulk of
tubing demand in California is only now showing the first,
tentative stirrings of a recovery since its 2008 collapse.
However, the Great Plains and
Intermountain West, whose economy is much smaller than the West
Coast, has nevertheless been expanding at a faster pace due in
part to energy-related growth, according to market observers.
While it is not known if Searing would consider producing
energy tubulars in Cheyenne, observers noted that the
regions overall economic growth has boosted its
construction and infrastructure sectors that consume structural
The closest major producers to
Searings planned new operation are believed to be the
American Tubular Products division of Schaeffer Industries in
Lindon, Utah and ExlTube Co. in North Kansas City, Mo.