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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Fabricators doing what matters

February 8, 2011 | By Tim Heston

I smile when I read articles like this. Kapco Inc., a Wisconsin metal fabricator and stamper, didn’t get noticed nationally because it expanded its metal fabrication capability during the past decade; because it continued to grow throughout the worst of the recession; or because the firm...

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Value in metal fabricating

February 4, 2011 | By Dan Davis

As sluggish as this economic recovery has been, it would be even worse if the manufacturing sector wasn't humming along. The Institute for Supply Management reported this week that its manufacturing index hit 60.8, well above what industry pundits expected. It's also the highest reading for the...

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Credit, cash, and the manufacturing recovery

February 3, 2011 | By Tim Heston

I still remember his tropical-print shirt, which stood out among thousands of people walking the FABTECH® show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. He worked at a major wind tower production facility in California, which perhaps could explain the tropical print he was wearing. But it didn’t...

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U.S. No. 1, but for how long?

February 2, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Yesterday I was happy to read an article that said the U.S. is No. 1 in manufacturing, out-producing China — No. 2 — by more than 40 percent. It's an interesting article that chronicles what's happening in manufacturing: U.S. factories are closing; American manufacturing jobs are reappearing...

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Stamping biz news is good news

February 1, 2011 | By Kate Bachman

For a while, the saying “No news is good news” resounded even more loudly in the stamping industry than others. For years, every bit of news about the industry, it seemed, was of yet another shop closing and selling its equipment to the highest bidder. When is the last time someone asked those...

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Electric motorcycles? No thanks.

January 31, 2011 | By Eric Lundin

Everyone knows that liquids, mainly gasoline and diesel, have been the main fuels for vehicles for decades. Although steam and electricity competed with gasoline at the turn of the last century, gasoline won that battle and ruled the automotive industry ever since. However, the oil shocks of the...

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Welcoming women into welding

January 28, 2011 | By Dan Davis

I was reminded of reader demographics of our publications when a co-worker pulled out a letter from a reader that she had kept since 2001. She had placed it on a bulletin board, intending everyone to have a laugh, but I'm still somewhat taken aback by it. Here's a snippet of the letter: "It seemed...

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A tall, tall order

January 26, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Did you listen to President Obama's State of the Union address? I didn't. As I have explained in years past, I prefer to read the transcript of the address first thing the morning after and form my own opinion, without being swayed by delivery; audience reactions (the transcript I read did indicate...

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Confirmation, tracking, and transparency

January 25, 2011 | By Tim Heston

If you’ve done this, you know that sinking feeling after you click the mouse. Last week I booked tickets to The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit, the 6th Annual Metal Matters, to take place in sunny Orlando, Fla. These days I’m probably not the only one who likes to think...

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Hu's on first?

January 21, 2011 | By Dan Davis

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 | By Vicki Bell

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 | By Tim Heston

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 | By Eric Lundin

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 | By Vicki Bell

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...

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Detroit Auto Show gets serious about CAFE cars

January 12, 2011 | By Kate Bachman

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...

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