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    One of the most unusual manufacturing firms in Canada -- located on the outskirts of Quebec City -- the St.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: One of the most unusual manufacturing firms in Canada -- located on the outskirts of Quebec City -- the St.Lawrence Manufacturing Company, is the largest ice skate manufacturing company, not only in Canada but as far as is known in the world.Whether the skates you buy for Junior to try out for the school hockey team or for a contender to a figure skating crown, the chances are very good that they have been made at this plant.Probably their name will not appear on them because skates are sold under many different brand names belonging to shoe manufacturers, who manufacture the boots and mount the skates on them for sale in retail outlets.At the present time the company turns out over 2 million pairs per year (not including the double runner type toddlers first use), which is approximately 50% of the world market.Because of Canada's sparse population, 25% of their output is used at home, 60% is exported to the United States, and 15% exported to other parts of the world including Germany, Holland, Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Switzerland, etc.

    The Company started out with the basic idea of the economical mass production of a quality line of ice skates.They have found it necessary to design, conver??? adapt and often build some of their own production machinery, as obviously none is commercially available.There are over 300 presses used in the plant, most of which have been modified for use by the Company.All operations in the plant are keyed into production lines to flow regularly from initial processing of raw materia through to finished products.Skate manufacturing involves many different steps, including blanking of the blades and other skate components, assembly by spot welding, rivetting or silver beaming (depending on the skate type,) host treating, electro plating and quality control inspection.Mechanization has been carried out to a high degree, with wide use made of jigs and fixtures for many operations on the components, with overhead conveyors carrying an unending line of partially completed skates from one station to the next.A production set-up of this kind is absolutely necessary to convert 60 tons of steel into 40,00 pairs of skate each week.

    Among welding processes, silver brazing makes an especially important contribution.Oxy-acetylene flames are used, primarily as intense, controlled sources of heat during the manufacture of two types of skates, spot welding is used to assemble blades to tubes, but silver brazing it preferred for the important job of assembling the best quality, stylish figure skates (comprising 50% of all the figure skates produced by the company.) To produce a tube skate blade, about 300 machine operations are required.

    The success of this plant (which has only been producing skates for about 13 years) in applying mass production techniques to quality skate manufacturing has made it possible for the consumer price of skates to be lowered so substantially that they are now easily within everyone's purchasing power.Also, the marked revival of skating as a winter pastime and the ??? popularity of hockey, particularly in Europe, have contributed to the lowering of the costs.

    Our film footage includes some of the more visual operations of the manufacturing of the skates, a short skating sequence shot at the outdoor rink at the Chateau Promtense in Quebec City, and some figure skating at the outdoor rink in the Town of Mount Royal (adjacent to the City of Montreal).

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
    Black & White
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