The U.S. Man-Made Fiber Industry: Its Structure and Organization since 1948

By David I. Goldenberg | Go to book overview

3
Conditions of Supply and Demand

This chapter provides background information about the environment of the U.S. man-made fibers industry. Its two sections examine the conditions of the supply of man-made fibers since 1948, including economic features of the production technologies involved, and the demand determinants.


SUPPLY

Four issues were found to particularly affect the supply of U.S. man-made fibers. In order of discussion, those are production technology, raw materials, labor, and product durability.


Production Technology

Man-made fiber production has but a few basic steps according to recognized authorities [ Corbman, 333-496; Inderfurth, 1-12; Moncrieff, 157-701; and Press, 50-91]. Those basic steps are mixing ingredients; reacting the mixture to form a monomer, the basic compound from which a polymer is formed; polymerization, or linking the monomer into a long chain molecule; extruding the polymer as a fiber or fiber spinning; and winding the fiber onto a package. These steps become complex in practice. Over ten variables have to be controlled and coordinated. There usually is at least one alternative to any selected fiber-spinning process, with often subtle, hard to evaluate but important economic and technical trade-offs. Essential secondary steps were omitted from this capsule description to emphasize the major features common to all man-made fiber production technology except for fiberglass, which is not a polymer. Because those secondary steps can crucially

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The U.S. Man-Made Fiber Industry: Its Structure and Organization since 1948
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Exhibits ix
  • 1 - Introduction and General Summary 1
  • 2 - The Industry's Background 7
  • 3 - Conditions of Supply and Demand 27
  • 4 - U.S. Man-Made Fibers Industries' Structures 65
  • 5 - Structural Determinants 79
  • 6 - Price Competition 107
  • 7 - Nonprice Rivalry 129
  • 8 - Performance 147
  • Appendices 165
  • Bibliography 257
  • Index 261
  • About the Author 283
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