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Hu's on first?

January 21, 2011

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Perhaps you noticed that Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Washington this week. If not Jay Leno did and theorized his initial meeting with President Obama's kids went like this: "So what factories do you work at?" I laughed out loud when I read that joke. After spending the early part of this...

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Steel prices rising

January 19, 2011

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Being an editor means putting yourself out there for criticism. No matter how objective or neutral you try to be, chances are someone, somewhere will read something you write and say, "That's quite the mouthful ... please just tell me how you can make that statement?"   How do I know? Because...

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Setting up for manufacturing growth

January 17, 2011

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Last week the federal government released a report saying exports grew for the third straight month. Despite the fact that new orders in November declined slightly, year over year new orders increased 12.3 percent from 2009 to 2010. Sure, the growth is coming off of some unprecedented lows, but the...

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OSHA is self-funded: Fact or fiction?

January 13, 2011

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If you work in manufacturing, you’ve probably heard that some government agencies, notably OSHA and the EPA, have been mandated to become self-funding. I heard this in a discussion at a recent conference, and it seems reasonable. The government debt is $14 trillion, so why wouldn’t the...

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Metal stampers on reshoring

January 12, 2011

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The December issue of "Stamping News Brief" featured an item about reshoring, one of several terms used to describe bringing jobs back to the U.S. After citing examples of reshoring by companies such as Ford Motor Co. and Caterpillar, which also were covered in a recent blog post, the newsletter...

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Detroit Auto Show gets serious about CAFE cars

January 12, 2011

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Reports about the North American International Auto Show in Detroit indicates that the show has taken a serious turn toward fuel efficiency. According to a recent Wall Street Journal blog, the Detroit auto show has transformed itself from a showcase of the big, powerful, and outrageous to a...

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Head offices head to China

January 11, 2011

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If Dave Westphal doesn’t qualify as a lean manufacturing champion, I don’t know who would. The executive is director of global lean manufacturing for Nexteer Automotive, a $2 billion automotive supplier specializing in steering and front-axle components. Last year The FABRICATOR covered his...

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Putting the cart before the reputation

January 7, 2011

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If you are involved in any way with part design, you should check out Gerald Davis' column in The FABRICATOR. He spent 2010 talking about 3-D CAD tips and tricks while creating the plans for a barbecue grill. This year he's exploring the role 3-D design can play in a fabricator's business success,...

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Welding in top 10

January 6, 2011

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December's "Welding Wire" e-newsletter featured an item about the book "Closing America's Job Gap" that describes new jobs being shaped by innovations in science and technology and how people need to learn "new skills" to attain these jobs. In this book, University of California San Diego...

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New year, next generation

January 3, 2011

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Tacking yet another new calendar to the wall makes me feel, well, old, and that in turn makes me think about the next generation. Judging by chats with readers in recent weeks, I’m not the only one. It’s no secret that manufacturing has a graying work force. Even during tough times, metal...

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Slow-growth better than no growth

December 22, 2010

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Looking forward to 2011, I could write about resolutions, but it would be a waste of space. I'm supposed to be 10 pounds lighter, fluent in Spanish, capable of playing a guitar, and the author of a screenplay—if I had completed New Year's resolutions of the past four years. In actuality, I'm 5...

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Wikileaks confirms China's leverage

December 15, 2010

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No doubt the recent Wikileaks leaks revealed too much. It will remain to be seen whether or how severely Julian Assange will be prosecuted. However, one of the revelations pivoted around what is most likely the primary—and heretofore publicly unspoken—reason why the U.S. has not been more...

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Let It Grow!

December 15, 2010

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If you’re a regular reader of The Fabricator Blog, you may know what's coming. It's that time of the year when I parody a holiday tune to reflect the times, or as my mother would say, "murderize" the song. She always remarked on singers taking a standard and covering it poorly as "murderizing"...

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For-profit education and manufacturing

December 13, 2010

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Do you dream of raking in big bucks? Well then, I’ve got news for you: Try the education field. I’m serious. Of course I’m not talking about actually teaching. I’m talking about administration. And don’t even think about the public schools. I’m not talking about Harvard either. I’m...

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The U.S. gets its report card

December 10, 2010

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In case you didn't know, we're raising a generation of kids that aren't as sharp as their peers around the world. That's the story according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) released Tuesday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2009 the group...

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