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More horsepower, better fuel efficiency

July 18, 2013

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If you follow Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules, restrictions, and proposals, you’re already aware that it has mandated a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Carmakers have been moving in this direction for many years, reducing weight where possible,...

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Google Glass meets manufacturing

July 18, 2013

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We may be entering a new manufacturing age. OK, that’s hyperbole, but it’s one that comes to mind after you step back and think of just how far we’ve come, even during the past 10 years. First, consider the biggest challenges in U.S. manufacturing, most of which deals with high-product-mix...

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Skilled-worker shortage?

July 12, 2013

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After multiple e-mails from readers over the past couple of months claiming that our constant referencing to the skilled-worker shortage is a disservice, I figured it’s best to come clean. They are right. It’s not a skilled-worker shortage; it’s a...

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Manufacturing, who needs it?

July 11, 2013

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Flipping through The Costco Connection July 2013 magazine last night, I ran across an interesting tidbit on page 8—an image of a welder with the caption: “Debate goes on—in response to the June Debate, ‘Are U.S. manufacturing jobs still important to the economy?’” Clearly, I had missed...

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Another technology milestone

July 10, 2013

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Most people have never heard of Eugene Ely, although aviation buffs probably recognize the name. An American test pilot in the early days of aviation, he was the first pilot to take off from a ship (November 14, 1910) and the first to land on one (January 18, 1911). On May 9, 1912, Air Commodore...

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The entrepreneur and the engineer

July 9, 2013

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In our August print edition of The FABRICATOR will be another installment of Steve Benson’s Bending Basics series. Benson, president of consulting firm ASMA LLC, Salem, Ore., and a press brake guru who runs press brake certification seminars for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association,...

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Technology and procedures working in concert

July 8, 2013

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At LeanFab Workshop & Tours, organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, and held last month in Columbus, Ohio, Dave Lechleitner asked attendees to draw a pig. The presales principal at Exact Software, Minneapolis, wasn’t playing an odd joke. Instead, he was...

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The time between runs

June 27, 2013

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A Wall Street Journal article this month gave a good introduction to the basics of equipment ROI, at least for those outside the manufacturing world. These are machines for business. Rationality rules--usually, at least. The article helps clear up a few misconceptions out there, especially when it...

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Rethinking manufacturing education

June 21, 2013

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The discussion moderator of Strengthening Manufacturing Education: An Experience Summit in late June posed a question that sums up the battle to replenish the ranks of retiring manufacturing workers: “How do we get young people interested in a career in welding?” The question was focused on...

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Learning about another culture

June 13, 2013

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Got a culture clash in your metal fabricating operation? That’s a terrible situation, because if the workforce is unsatisfied with their environment, their negative attitude is probably carrying over to their work. More than likely, that then affects the customers of that fabricating company....

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Oh, Canada

June 13, 2013

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After reading yesterday’s “Fabricating Update” e-newsletter, a reader from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, wrote to tell me how disappointed he was that Canada was not included in the news item about how difficult it is to find skilled workers globally. Mexico’s  stats, which are nearly the...

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Communicating completely, delivering on time

June 13, 2013

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Every year the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association hosts at least one workshop on lean manufacturing. Called LeanFab Workshop & Tours, these don’t cover cookie-cutter lean, but instead improvement methodologies that work for high-mix, low-volume operations--in other words, most of...

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Beware poor service

June 6, 2013

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In this age of many choices that are similar and competitively priced, what really makes the difference in your buying decisions? Where a product is made? Those of us who support U.S. manufacturing routinely note this and buy U.S.-made when we can. However, a recent experience—one many of you...

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Data, statistics, and context

May 31, 2013

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Some of the latest headlines seem to tell a gloomy story about the state of the economy. On My 31 the Dept. of Commerce released the latest data on consumer spending, and it told of the first decrease in the last 12 months. To quote an article posted at www.nbcnews.com, “Consumer spending fell in...

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Help wanted in hiring

May 31, 2013

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As I was walking in from the parking lot this week after giving blood, the driver of the bus that is used as a mobile blood collection center asked if he could walk in with me so he could use the restroom. He knew he needed someone to buzz him into the building, and I did just that. As I showed...

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