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Fabricating focuses on the now

September 14, 2010

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Have you tried Google Instant? It’s an eye-opener. You visit the site, start typing and Google immediately spits back results based just on what you typed. Type “the” and I get listings for a thesaurus. Type “The Fab,” and you get results for The Fabulous Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St....

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Manufacturing: Not the dirty ol' job we thought

September 10, 2010

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People may have a much higher opinion of manufacturing jobs than previously thought. I received the second annual "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute in my e-mail inbox last week, and the results were enlightening. In a survey of 1,055...

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Buyer, beware!

September 9, 2010

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A colleague recently sent around some photos of the Skydeck at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago. If you saw these photos too, you probably recall seeing the glass-bottomed ledge. If you’d like an unobstructed view of Chicago from 1,353 feet up, this is for you.  The photos...

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Big money

September 8, 2010

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Last night I had dinner at Outback with my daughter, who often tells me that if she could do it over again — to which I always reply: Why can't you? — she would choose another college major instead of the one she chose the first time around. She's thinking about making a career change when the...

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The new rules of inventory

September 3, 2010

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Dr. Chris Kuehl, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association's economist, had this nugget of wisdom in his "Business Intelligence Brief" for Sept. 2: "The role of the manufacturing sector in this recession and subsequent recovery is going to be studied for a long time. Thus far the rules of...

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Future planning starts at FABTECH

September 1, 2010

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Thom Shelow and wife Teresa Beach-Shelow of Superior Joining Technologies Inc. (SJTI), Machesney Park, Ill., had a plan, and come hell or high water, they were going to move forward. Wanting to diversify their business (read their story, "How can laser work for you?"), they decided to act by...

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Total (hip) recall

September 1, 2010

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Last week I wrote about a problem I encountered when trying to get my eyeglasses repaired — the lenses would not fit the identical replacement frames, because these frames are made in China, and each batch is different. This is just one example of the enormous quality issue surrounding...

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Consequences of a non-neutral Internet

August 31, 2010

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In recent weeks the Net neutrality debate took a turn--in what direction? Well, we’re not sure yet. Google, aka the “Don’t be Evil” corporation, came out and said network providers should follow Net neutrality, but only to a point. If Internet service providers (ISPs) need to muck with...

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Fabricators saw the end of management before the gurus

August 26, 2010

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Nothing gets the attention of a reader better than a headline that declares the death of something. For example, Wired's story "The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet" has generated all sorts of discussion as people debate whether apps, such as iTunes and Facebook, will continue to grow in...

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Inventory, cash, quarters, and economic growth

August 26, 2010

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If you work at a Chicagoland shop and need to drive downtown, bring a few extra quarters for parking. According to a recent BusinessWeek article, the Windy City’s government received $1.15 billion from a deal with Morgan Stanley, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Allianz Capital Partners. In...

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How great a sacrifice?

August 24, 2010

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The world watches, the rescuers drill, and the 33 miners wait. The miners are alive, but the conditions are grim. They’re trapped 2,300 feet underground and have taken refuge in a shelter that measures about 525 sq. ft., which means each person gets an area that measures about 3 by 3 ft. The...

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Seeing red

August 23, 2010

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It was a simple task, or so I thought. One of the temples on my favorite pair of eyeglasses — the pair with the Transitions® lenses that are perfect for reading outdoors — broke. I really like the original frames that were less than two-years-old — an inexpensive, yet stylish design from the...

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From Russia, with copters

August 20, 2010

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We get our share of press releases from government offices. You'll be happy to know that all of them are via e-mail. No trees were harmed in the process of distributing this bureaucratic blather. A recent note from Congressman Don Manzullo, R-Ill., stood out, however. A representative of northern...

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How metal fabricators interact with customers

August 17, 2010

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Over the past year I’ve talked to various metal fabricators, from low-volume job shops to specialized manufacturers, and I’ve noticed one thread common to all of them: They’re all high-mix, short-run environments. Volumes vary; some companies process a greater number of short-run jobs than...

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This welding news will get you fuming

August 13, 2010

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Most metal fabricators were aware that welding fume control equipment had to be in place as of May 31 of this year in order to meet the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's hexavalent chromium [CR(VI)] standard. While not pleased that they may have been forced to...

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