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Just a phone call away

May 29, 2013

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Sometimes good news is simply a phone call away. Case in point—I just had a call from an author of some very thought-provoking articles on thefabricator.com. Some months ago, “Stan” voluntarily left his job of many years for various reasons, not the least of which is that he’s a highly...

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Metal fabrication and the solid model

May 28, 2013

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A microcosm of the evolution of modern metal fabrication has unfolded outside Chicago since November of last year. A dumbwaiter manufacturer having roots going back to the 1880s, Matot’s Bellwood, Ill., factory, with its unassuming brick façade, houses a typical high-product-mix operation. Some...

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Long-term trends are fabricators' friends

May 23, 2013

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With every conversation I have with a metal fabricator, I become more convinced that the companies left standing after two recessions within a 10-year span are primed to survive in this very competitive global economy. In essence, they have survived because they are the fittest. In the wake of the...

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Welder and assistant, a good team

May 23, 2013

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If you pay attention, you can learn something new on any given day. And sometimes, what you learn makes you smack your forehead, either literally or mentally, and think I should have known that. Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when I was sharing an exchange on Facebook with a dear friend...

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A grim reminder

May 21, 2013

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Much of a town flattened. Entire neighborhoods reduced to piles of debris. Hundreds injured. More than two dozen killed. It’s a grim reminder that the confluence of weather systems in the central U.S., specifically masses of cold, dry air from the north and fronts of warm, moist air from the...

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ALAW celebrates 20 years

May 15, 2013

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Mariana Forrest perhaps knows ALAW® better than anyone. The president of laser consulting firm LASAP Inc., based in Troy Mich., has attended all 20 conferences. She was there back when it was called the Automotive Laser Applications Workshop, and in recent years, after the event was broadened and...

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Hey buddy … wanna buy a watch?

May 13, 2013

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Fake Rolex® watches, knock-off Armani® handbags, counterfeit Nike® shoes, pirated movies of all sorts—if you’ve traveled to any countries that have lax trademark, patent, and copyright protection, you’ve seen plenty of faked goods. It’s pathetic, to say the least. The companies that make...

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Changing attitudes to boost STEM career

May 10, 2013

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My wife works with some pretty smart people. She's a math teacher, which puts her in day-to-day contact with talented teachers and highly intelligent students in her advanced placement courses. On her staff is a former engineer who recently had received constructive criticism about his teaching...

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A tragic reminder

May 3, 2013

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Can we write enough about safety in the pages of The FABRICATOR, its sister magazines, and thefabricator.com? Absolutely not. Do we actually execute that strategy in the media wepublish? No, we do not. And that's a shame. Fabricators might argue that safety is a given in their facilities, much...

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I can do WHAT and get a raise?

May 1, 2013

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You want a raise; I want a raise; we all want raises. Even corporate heads who take pay cuts to show how much they empathize with their workers probably want and think they deserve raises, but that’s a topic for another day. What would you do for a raise, besides doing the best job you can...

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Stay safe and out of OSHA's way

April 26, 2013

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Fabricating shop owners—and business owners in general—have voiced concern about increased regulations that their companies have had to face since the election of President Obama, but that may be nothing compared to the trouble they might find if they run into trouble involving the Occupational...

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Go for it, Christophers!

April 24, 2013

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Last week’s “Welding Wire” e-newsletter featured the blog post “Backbone of America deserves a round of beer,” which focused on comments from Christopher W., a young welding student, about welding formerly being on a worst jobs list. He couldn’t understand how that could happen. We...

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It is not just business

April 23, 2013

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Troy Berg, president of Dane Manufacturing, a contract fabricator in rural Dane, Wis., attends equipment auctions not just to find a deal on equipment, but to learn. With success comes confidence and determination; with failure comes soul-searching, self-scrutiny and, quite often, unfiltered truth....

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Defining a champion

April 16, 2013

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As I was putting together this issue’s Shop Stories featuring Tim Baber of College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, Calif., one word from our conversation stuck out in my mind: Champion. Champion is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a warrior or a fighter; a militant advocate or defender;...

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A litany of amateur mistakes

April 16, 2013

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At 7:03 pm on November 1, 1955, a DC-6B (United Airlines Flight 629) crashed near Longmont, Colorado. The Civil Aeronautics Board and the FBI carried out a comprehensive recovery effort, and eventually pieced together most of the airplane. The tail had severed off cleanly, and when engineers from...

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