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Hip, hip, away ...

April 16, 2014


Nearly four years ago, I wrote a blog about a very personal matter—the fact that a metal-on-metal implant inserted in my right hip had been recalled because of possible bodily damage related to the metal parts wearing on each other. I had just learned that I was the proud owner of a DePuy... Continue Reading

How scalable is contract metal fabrication?

April 14, 2014


Most of contract metal fabrication serves a local and regional customer base, and that’s one reason small- and medium-sized customer fab shops dominate this business. Aside from upper-tier automotive stampers and similar companies, typical annual revenue ranges in custom fabrication range from $8... Continue Reading

Fabricating next-generation workers

April 11, 2014


A lot has been made of the fact that manufacturers can’t find the right workers. The issue is explored nicely here. But what can’t be denied is that fewer manufacturing workers exist, from almost 14.3 million in 2004 to just over 12 million today. Two major recessions within a 10-year span and... Continue Reading

Choose your weapon

April 10, 2014


A carpenter has more than a hammer in his arsenal. A top-flight starting pitcher in the big leagues has three to five pitches he can command. And when you sit down to eat, chances are you’ll be using more than a spoon. So why would you limit yourself to a single process when it comes to... Continue Reading

From the Web 4.09.14

April 8, 2014


Among today’s Fab Top 5 items published on the Web in the previous week are stories about a capital spending boom that may be on the horizon; an Industrial Internet touted to revolutionize machine performance; developments in “invisibility” technology; how prospective shop buyers decided they... Continue Reading

Political roadblocks

April 4, 2014


The dysfunction that exists in Washington, D.C., is proving to be a real drag on the economy, and manufacturing leaders are starting to view it as a major impediment to successful economic expansion. In a recent survey of almost 500 CFOs of small and midsized industrial manufacturers, 83 percent... Continue Reading

Parts is parts?

April 3, 2014


Apologies to grammarians everywhere—especially my fellow editors and our beloved copy editor/proofreader, who probably hyperventilated when she saw that heading, but when I read an article this morning about the 57-cent part responsible for deaths and a massive recall of General Motors vehicles,... Continue Reading

Tool- and diemakers in short supply ... where does the fault line lie?

April 2, 2014


A recent discussion on FMA’s LinkedIn site centered around the current shortage of tool- and diemakers. The problem is expected to worsen with time as older workers retire and not enough Gen Yers (Are we still on "Y"?) are ready to don their aprons. “If I tried to hire a tool- and diemaker... Continue Reading

From the Web 4.01.14

April 1, 2014


Among today’s Fab Top 5 items published on the Web in the previous week are stories about how U.S. manufacturing, including metal fabricating, fared in March; an interesting new product developed by a company that designs and fabricates security systems; how one of the biggest big-box stores is... Continue Reading

The need for speed to market

March 28, 2014


I’m not a big NASCAR fan. Cars were never a passion in my family. They were a tool for getting people from point A to point B. Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve gravitated to a couple of cable television shows that involved refurbishment of older cars. On “Wheeler Dealers” on... Continue Reading

Cleanliness is godliness ...

March 27, 2014


Or closer to the mark: “Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.” – P.J. O’Rourke. I’m sure the majority of you reading this are thinking it’s kind of an elementary idea. “Yeah, I know, I should clean my material before I weld.” But as easy as the... Continue Reading

Fixing the economy—it's not that simple

March 26, 2014


I had lunch the other day with a banker who spends a good deal of time, as most bankers do, handling other people’s money—in his case, his clients’ investments. I asked him what he thought about the economy—is it improving? His response was that we (in the U.S.) appear to be on a precipice,... Continue Reading

From the Web 3.25.14

March 25, 2014


Among today’s Fab Top 5 items published on the Web in the previous week are stories about U.S. manufacturing’s future; stalled manufacturing growth in China; the last big U.S. bike maker; a “discovered” Nebraska fabricator; and a female welding instructor surviving in a man’s world.... Continue Reading

Time for a new approach

March 20, 2014


Turns out it’s more than just a shortage of skilled workers that may be impeding organizational growth. It’s also a failure of businesses to be prepared to respond to the challenges of the highly connected and global 21st-century workforce. Speaking about The Deloitte Global Human Capital... Continue Reading

The benefits of off-site training

March 20, 2014


When it comes to training events, many metal fabricators don’t think about seating assignments for trainees, but they might want to think about it. My brother works in the manufacturing industry. I won’t say exactly what he does to spare him a little embarrassment—if that’s even... Continue Reading