Letter to IHI Master Metals
To: IHI Master Metals 28 June 1989
From: James F. Metcalf
I have studied your specifications. We are making the project too expensive to have a decent return on the investment.
The tail is wagging the dog. We must find a better way to handle the metal for the air melting portion of your task. We also must construct a simple chamber which will achieve our objectives while at the same time allowing enough room in front of the furnace to do all the other things on a step by step basis.
The first step is to study how much money can be spent on the whole project and then skillfully buy the maximum you can. One way to do that is to become the prime contractor yourself under the control of a very practical project engineer. The other way is to select a prime contractor and define his tasks very clearly so his costs are very clear. This was the purpose of the engineering study. As it turned out the study asked more questions than it answered.
While reading your specifications it is clear that you have done a lot of thinking. You are now well prepared to take a clean sheet and redefine the task in a more simple way. Some ideas are nice but as they grow they become more expensive. The objectives are now clear in my mind. Keeping all of them in a simple and economical way is the task ahead.
Marino of Consarc does not have a problem dealing with FIC now. He may have problems with the commercial side because FIC does not have an experienced engineer and business man in the vacuum furnace field. They will want to put all the risk on Consarc that will cause the price to increase. Consarc and Inductotherm may have a problem if Mr. Oka is part of the contract. (But maybe not.)
Marino had the correct facts about my involvement with Soderstrom's activities in Japan and will meet with Mr. Rowan to explain. A satisfactory solution that will allow me to bridge the risks will be found when you have money in your pocket. As your project consultant, I could assist FIC so their engineers would understand how to avoid risks.
We will work something out. I will still need a license from the United States government before working on specific designs of vacuum melting furnaces for superalloy.
Please let me know in advance the exact date you will need me in Japan. Questions which you asked in your last fax are better answered in person to include options to be used during the purchasing period.
Rowan was probably fuming because some ugly rumors were circulating in Rancocas. FIC, Soderstrom, and Metcalf were setting up a business! Consarc's old agent in Japan (FIC) was IMM's export agent. Business ties in Japan were very complex.
One Longfellow Place 1723
Boston, MA 02114
Tel./Fax (617) 367 1583
To: WJ Marino
From: JF Metcalf 28 June 1989
When we last met you were told that I was not going to keep sitting without a task to do.
I have been quite busy with a project not related to vacuum melting or carbon.
Recent major openings of areas and factories in the Soviet Union have allowed me to find a very cheap source of rayon scrap derived carbon fiber. A factory in the Ukraine is already equipped with furnaces and the like to make rigid carbon board. The actual cost of natural gas in that region is unbelievable. The temptation to proceed is overwhelming, but I have not yet made a decision.
I heard on the grapevine that you believed that the IHI job was going to be handled through FIC, Shin-Nittetsu and Don Soderstrom (somehow with me at the controls). You were in Iraq when I called so I spoke to Rowan instead.
He was so bitter that I was barely able to finish the conversation. He accused me of setting up Soderstrom with Mr. Oka. I have lived up to the terms of the agreement of the split of the scope of the pending job that we reached in your offices in February 1988 in every way. I have not had meaningful communications with Yamaguchi since he was turned away from Calcarb more than one year ago. Yes, I did plan to use Soderstrom in the construction phase, but not as a partner of Oka.
The arrangement between IMM and FIC as seller of their metals is deep, and IMM has reason to be concerned with the battle between Consarc and FIC if one exists.
This morning I contacted Yamaguchi for the first time since June 1988. He now appears to be ready to buy a furnace from Consarc.
The new specifications that he sent me seem to be very complex. The design study that we did for him eighteen months ago was made without much thought on how to achieve the many objectives, which he wishes to achieve, in a more simple way.
My mind has been busy for the past year on a better and more effective way to carry out the VIM process. The new concept belongs to me, and I would like to see it installed somewhere.
Under the present circumstances it would appear that I must take a contract with IMM to act in his best interests without Soderstrom in the picture. I can see no other way. Can you?
It would be my plan that IMM should buy the best Consarc and Inductotherm has to offer on terms agreeable to the parties. At the same time, it must be a design that I would be proud to stand by in the future and accomplish my new objectives for the melting process. Maybe we should meet in the USA before we meet in Japan at the end of July.