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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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Don't keep the fire burning

May 1, 2009

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I check out weekly news feeds for reports involving metal fabricating, forming, and welding. It's a great way to get a quick feel for the industry and find interesting leads and tidbits for stories.In checking out these leads, I find a common story appearing almost on a daily basis: Welding...

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Panic? Pandemonium? Across?

May 1, 2009

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Panic? Pandemonium? Across?It started in Mexico in late March and spread rapidly; within a month, cases were reported in 11 countries. It"s swine fluH1N1, specificallyand in its wake are anxiety, nervousness, overreactions, and jammed emergency rooms. The outbreak itself was an epidemic, and it"s...

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Fewer malls, more factories

April 30, 2009

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I have a feeling something good's going to happen in manufacturing. Maybe not this year or next, but good times are coming.Yes, this is an odd thing to say just days after those dreadful GDP numbers were released. Gross domestic product declined by 6.1 percent during the first quarter, the...

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Keep voc-tech programs alive

April 29, 2009

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Crook County High School, educational institutions all across the U.S., and Congress, we're addressing you. Please listen.Last week's "Welding Wire" newsletter featured an item from News/Talk 1110 KBND, Bend, Ore., about a high school metal and welding class that likely will be cut in...

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Lessons learned from Big Blue

April 27, 2009

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Did you hear IBM's getting into the water business?That"s right, the water business. Specifically, IBM managers are looking to change the way water is managed through digital sensors and computer networks. This is coming from a company that grew up in the era of mainframes and transformed the...

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