Downsizing and Refocusing
The early 1980s, proved to be very challenging years for ESCO as they were for many U.S. manufacturers. The world energy crisis, the virtual disappearance of the nuclear market, a prolonged slump in domestic mining and logging, the trade handicap of a strong dollar, and the coincidental expiration of several key patents all hit at about the same time, creating a business challenge of great proportions.
ESCO responded by consolidating operations, abandoning unprofitable markets, and cutting costs. Nearly one-third of the workforce was let go. At the same time, greater emphasis was given to customer response, new product development, and the penetration of new markets. While the international licensee network was strengthened, domestically ESCO acquired firms making high specification steel and titanium investment castings for the aerospace industry. These measures, the introduction of a raft of innovative proprietary products, and the general improvement in the economy helped ESCO reach its 75th anniversary in good shape.