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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Spiraling out of control

December 8, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

Last week I took a trip to Genoa City, Wis., and felt like I had spent a couple hours in 1955 or so. I paid a visit to Ralph Wells, owner of Wells-Osborn Spiral Stairs, a company that specializes in spiral staircases. Founded in 1949 as a welding and repair shop, it expanded its repertoire to...

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Junk e-mail and unemployment

December 6, 2010 | By Tim Heston

I used to joke about my own little leading economic indicator, the JEI ... or my “Junk E-Mail Index.” I sometimes called it the FEI too, replacing “junk” with “forwarded.” In the 1990s, when e-mail was new and unemployment was incredibly low, my JEI was incredibly high. I attributed...

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A time to be thankful

December 3, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I didn't post a blog last week. I got caught up in the holiday rush. Cooked my own turkey on Wednesday, celebrated with the family on Thursday, got the Christmas tree on Friday, decorated the tree and the house on Saturday, and tied up the loose ends on Sunday before the second part of the holiday...

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Are jobs coming or going?

December 1, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

September 23, 2010, Caterpillar broke ground for a new hydraulic excavator manufacturing facility in Victoria, Texas. Production is anticipated to begin in mid-2010, and once fully operational, the plant is expected to employ more than 500 people and triple the company’s U.S.-based excavator...

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Two realities of economic recovery

November 30, 2010 | By Tim Heston

After more than a year looking, my neighbor finally landed a job. He previously worked as a construction manager, which is undoubtedly why it took him so long to find work again. His new job isn’t in construction but instead is related to supply chain management. He sells software that helps...

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Giving thanks for skill, engagement, and curiosity

November 22, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Later this week I’ll be stuffing a turkey (and myself) and giving thanks--thanks for family and friends, of course, but also for something my mind’s been mulling over for the past few weeks: human engagement, and not the betrothal kind. I’m just talking about direct, concise, clear engagement...

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Greenbuild builds bridge from Hollywood to D.C.

November 19, 2010 | By Kate Bachman

Former Sec. of State Gen. Colin Powell may not be the first person you'd think of as a spokesperson for green; Ed Begley Jr. might be the more likely. Both were speakers at this week's Greenbuild event in Chicago. Powell was the keynote opening the event on Wednesday to a crowd of thousands at the...

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Time to get back to work: Let's talk comics

November 19, 2010 | By Dan Davis

When EuroBLECH organizers decide to have their European sheet metal tradeshow the last week in October and FABTECH holds its show in the first week of November, you have a pretty good idea of what I've been up to. It hasn't been blogging, regrettably. My co-workers have provided nice summaries of...

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A peek at the X-ray

November 18, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

If you didn’t attend FABTECH® 2010 (held in Atlanta Nov. 2-4), you missed quite an expo. As my colleague Vicki Bell described it in a recent blog, “So little time and so much to see.” That’s an understatement. It had more than 1,000 exhibits; if you had spent five minutes at each booth,...

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About your job

November 17, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

The November "Tube Talk" e-newsletter featured excerpts from a Money magazine article "Make Money in 2011: Your Job." If this article's hypothesis is correct, those of you who are employed might have cause to worry less about losing your jobs, and your employers might have reason to worry more...

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FABTECH: An industry physical

November 16, 2010 | By Tim Heston

As a reporter for the industry, I’ve always treated FABTECH as a kind of metal fabrication physical. A healthy show is a sign of a healthy industry--usually. Two years ago FABTECH’s opening-day attendance--on Oct. 6--was the biggest on record, despite the financial crisis that exploded onto...

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FABTECH 2010 impressions

November 10, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

If you missed last week's FABTECH in Atlanta, you missed a lot — many new product introductions; outstanding educational offerings; an opportunity like no other to network with fellow fabricating and forming professionals; having your photo taken for the cover of an industry publication; Sonny's...

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A paradox in welding education

November 1, 2010 | By Amanda Carlson

What's going on in welding education? That's a question I had to ponder when researching an article I was asked to write for the FABTECH® Show Daily, a publication distributed at this year's exhibition in Atlanta. It's a broad question that could go in many directions, but in my research I found...

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Second chances: A different approach to finding workers

October 27, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

  Last week’s "Welding Wire" e-newsletter described what Turner Industries did to find workers for a pipe fabrication shop it built two years ago in Pasadena, Texas. As related in an article on chron.com, Personnel Manager Brian Daigle needed to hire 100 workers quickly, because the company had...

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The power of predictability

October 25, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Several years ago Doug Gardner, president of Johnson City, N.Y.-based Hi-Tech Industries of New York, landed what’s increasingly rare today for fabricators: a multiyear contract. The shop’s Amada Pulsar 2-kW laser ran 24 hours a day and just couldn’t keep up, Gardner said, adding that the...

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