Blog Posts

thefabricator.com has a team of bloggers that cover the challenges and rewards associated with a life in metal fabricating. Topics typically addressed by contributing authors include political and demographic trends affecting the fabricating industry, the business side of running a job shop, the culture of the welding community, and detailed looks at what happens on the shop floor.

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Suppressing wages?

July 13, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

The July "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter featured reader comments about wages and whether employers are suppressing them to boost profits. These comments were inspired by a quote in the June issue from a reader reflecting on a potential manufacturing renaissance: "It is great that the companies...

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The skilled worker’s pursuit of happiness

July 5, 2011 | By Tim Heston

This week’s pomp, sparkle, and pyrotechnics celebrated, among other things, Jefferson’s inspirational sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty...

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'A small bit of good news'

June 29, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Among the headlines on msnb.com today was one that stood out as some very positive news for manufacturing: 'Manufacturing companies returning to U.S.' The linked article title, “Surging China costs forces some U.S. manufacturing companies back home," had me fist pumping a la Maria Sharapova at...

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Technology, for better or worse

June 28, 2011 | By Eric Lundin

An Indiana man was arrested June 22 for sending lewd messages to a minor via cell phone. Considering all the recent publicity surrounding former Rep. Anthony Weiner and the photo he broadcast via Twitter, it’s not a big surprise that a man used a phone for such a purpose. However, the story about...

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Just what kind of shortage are we experiencing?

June 23, 2011 | By Dan Davis

President Obama visited E.J. Ajax and Sons in Fridley, Minn., last week to tout his job training initiatives. The metal stamper and fabricator works closely with Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minn., to take unskilled students and turn them into skilled employees for manufacturing...

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Vacation or not?

June 22, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

The July issue of "Stamping News Brief" featured an item about a recent study from CareerBuilder, which showed that financial constraints and demanding work schedules have some workers foregoing vacation plans this year.  Twenty-four percent of full-time workers reported they can't afford to take...

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Automation: The key to cost control

June 17, 2011 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators got a quick history lesson before technical presentations on automation at Mazak Optonics' open house event in Elgin, Ill., in mid-June. As with any look back, it gave everyone a better idea of what the road ahead may look like. Historical fact: While millions of U.S. citizens...

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'Think globally, act locally'

June 16, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Hexagon 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Held June 6-9, the conference hosted more than 2,500 attendees from 65 countries. Customers, partners, and members of the press were treated to keynotes, informational sessions in Geosystems; Intergraph Process, Power & Marine...

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Job shop managers, the next generation

June 14, 2011 | By Tim Heston

At every gathering of shop managers in this business--at events like FABTECH® and The FABRICATOR®’s Leadership Summit--I always notice how diverse people’s backgrounds are. Most of the metal fabrication that goes on in this country happens in small businesses, firms much like Amtex Precision...

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Sometimes it pays to listen to the new guy

June 10, 2011 | By Dan Davis

I was chatting with Jeremy Riniker, a buyer/estimator/designer for Giese Manufacturing, Dubuque, Iowa, the other day for an upcoming story. I was giving him a hard time about his plethora of responsibilities, but he said the multitude of job duties keeps each day fresh and exciting, even if he...

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New uses for conventional materials

June 9, 2011 | By Eric Lundin

Mankind has been making tools and gadgets from metals for millennia. The discovery of copper and tin ushered in the Bronze Age about 5,000 years ago, and new metal tools swept aside stone tools in a hurry. Iron and steel have been used widely for about 3,000 years, but these days it appears that...

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Metal fabricating by the numbers

June 1, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Did you happen to see the mentalfloss.com article posted May 31 on cnn.com about 10 interesting numbers in the U.S.? Among the numbers listed were 2.3 (milligrams of B1, the amount recommended during World War II for very active men after the Selective Service discovered that about one in seven...

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The race for stateside manufacturing

May 31, 2011 | By Tim Heston

My dad was the first to call when I got home. He’s a retired history professor, so he usually doesn’t have that much input on my job-related travels, but last week was different. I had driven to Advanced Technology Sales & Service, a Mitsubishi dealer in Greensboro, N.C. ATS held its grand...

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Mexican manufacturing keeps moving forward

May 26, 2011 | By Dan Davis

An interesting thing occurred during my recent trip to attend FABTECH® Mexico, May 11-13, in Monterrey, Mexico. I ate fried crickets, but that wasn't it. I witnessed a spark of fabricating equipment innovation that originated within the country's own borders and from the minds of its talented...

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Factory workers and lawyers

May 25, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

A Fiscal Times article posted on money.msn.com May 23 noted that the U.S. labor market has been looking stronger in recent months as private-sector companies have added two million workers since early 2010, with the "overwhelming bulk" coming from small businesses.  As reported, so far this year,...

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