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Hello, summer!

May 28, 2009

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Well, maybe it"s not quite time to greet the summer. In astronomical terms, it starts at the moment of the summer solstice, which will occur at precisely 5:45 a.m. on June 21 this year (I know it sounds crazy, but it varies). However, one thing doesn"t vary from year to year: the conventional...

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'Work like hell to win now'

May 27, 2009

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If you read last week's blog post "Leapfrogging the competition," you know about the Barclay's Commercial survey cited in the May issue of "Tube Talk" that said 54 percent of UK businesses view the ability to leapfrog struggling competitors as their key opportunity in the current...

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Don't drop the box

May 26, 2009

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Friday was just one of those days. As usual, I drove my daughter to daycare, parked, carried her in, dropped her off, walked out, and saw the back end of my car smashed, with the hood lid looking a bit like a fortune cookie. Because the vehicle's 11 years old, it didn't take much to...

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The hunt for opportunity at ALAW

May 22, 2009

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Before one session at last week's ALAW Laser Applications Workshop, a fabricator stood in the back of the conference room at the Inn at St. John"s in Plymouth, Mich., just outside Detroit. He peered at the small sound board that controlled the microphone at the podium and noted the metal...

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What's propping up manufacturing?

May 21, 2009

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It"s no secret that the U.S. economy is in the worst recession in decades and that manufacturers are suffering more than they have in recent memory. In its April Report on Business®, the Institute for Supply Management stated that the U.S. economy had been in decline for seven months and...

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Tweet, tweet

May 21, 2009

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There's a conversation in the movie "Clerks" where characters Randal Graves and Dante Hicks, friends and fellow retail store clerks, are talking about Graves' interest in going to a funeral:Dante Hicks: "You hate people!"Randal Graves: "But I love gatherings, isn't it ironic?"How...

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Leapfrogging the competition

May 20, 2009

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Yesterday's "Tube Talk" e-newsletter that went out to more than 10,000 metal tube and pipe industry professionals featured findings from the Turning the Corner survey conducted in the UK by Barclay's Commercial.According to this survey, a majority of UK businesses (54 percent) view the...

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Got to get to work

May 19, 2009

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A keynote speaker at last week's ALAW Laser Applications Workshop—an annual industry conference about lasers in automotive and general fabrication—gave some valuable perspective on the automotive industry. Bernard Swiecki of the Dearborn, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research...

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Saws: A moving story

May 15, 2009

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Like many other machine tool builders, Behringer Saws Inc. hosts open house events that invite customers and prospective customers to learn about metal cutting technology. Obviously, in this case, visitors to the Behringer Sawing Symposium and Exhibition, held this week at the company's...

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A different Detroit

May 15, 2009

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"Look at the floor."That was Kent Woody, quality guru at Auto Metal Craft in Oak Park, Mich., a prototype shop just a few miles from the Detroit Three"s epicenter. The concrete floor I looked at was worn from years of use. "That's decades of hi-lo traffic, right there," he said. "That's...

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HAL 9000 2.0

May 13, 2009

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Scanning news releases yesterday, I quickly passed over those with headlines that reminded me that this is not the best of times economically—there was no shortage. Ditto for the political surveys predicting the unqualified success or the unmitigated failure of potential congressional...

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Music to my ears

May 8, 2009

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At what point in a tough manufacturing economy does a metal forming and fabricating company pull back its marketing efforts? For most companies, it's one of the first areas to be cut. Others, however, see an opportunity to stand out, while others step back and wait for better times.As one...

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Two steps to success?

May 7, 2009

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This is going to sound strange, but a recession like this sometimes feels like a breath of fresh air. If a company can operate through a downturn like this relatively unscathed, that's really something. If a company's inefficient, it shutters its doors. Sometimes bad things happen to good...

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Mr. Holland's Opus

May 6, 2009

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My last blog post was addressed to Crook County (Oregon) High School officials and others who could help decide the fate of vocational and technical programs in the U.S., which often are the first items on the chopping block when funding for education is tight. It featured an item from News/Talk...

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The wind business: Following a passion

May 5, 2009

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This has been a busy few weeks for Eric Isbister. The chief executive at General MetalWorks in Mequon, Wis., north of Milwaukee, held an open house Friday to celebrate 10 years since he and his wife, Mary, took over the fabrication business. Late last month he braved the halls of Hannover Messe,...

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