Broadcast antenna maker Stainless closing fabrication plant in Pennsylvania
Stainless, a builder and supplier of antenna towers to broadcasters for the past 66 years, is closing its fabrication plant in Pine Forge, PA. An auction was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10, to sell equipment, tooling, raw materials and the property itself.
“The decision to close our manufacturing division was born from a drive to remain a significant participant in the broadcast tower industry while stemming the tide of an unhealthy economy and a reduced demand for tall tower fabrication,” Stainless said in a message on its website.
“We will continue to offer fabrication services through highly qualified vendors,” the company said. “We will retain key personnel from our fabrication division to monitor quality assurance and quality control through these vendors’ facilities, insuring the accuracy in which Stainless is known for is not compromised.”
Stainless said its engineering and construction services divisions “remain strong and healthy, providing all the services we did prior to the shop closure.”
Gregg Fehrman, president and chief engineer at the firm, said he is confident the changes will pave the way for Stainless’ involvement in the broadcast tower industry for many decades to come. He provided his email address, Gregg.Fehrman@StainlessLLC.com, for any questions from customers pertaining to the change.
Since its founding in 1947, Stainless has been a major supplier of guyed and self-supporting towers for TV, radio, microwave and general communication industries. Stainless provides towers of any height up to 2000ft and has supplied more than 7500 towers in over 100 countries. It is estimated that over half the broadcast towers standing in the United States today were fabricated by Stainless.
Accomplishments at Stainless include work on many major broadcast platforms, including the Empire State Building, the Mt. Sutro Tower in San Francisco and the Arecibo Radio Telescope near the city of Arecibo in Puerto Rico.
Dielectric, a competing broadcast antenna manufacturer, was sold in June to Sinclair Broadcast Group for $5 million after its parent, SPX, said it would cease making antennas.
Both companies suffered after the FCC issued a freeze on full-power and Class A television station modification applications earlier this year. The freeze is part of a government plan to transition a significant amount of broadcast spectrum to wireless broadband usage.
Because so much is unknown about the aftermath of the broadcast spectrum auctions tentatively scheduled for next year, it is hard for antenna manufacturers to project future business.