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A bright spot in an otherwise dark day

November 19, 2013


Early on the morning of November 17, with severe storms forecast in Chicago, my husband turned to me and said, “It’s your call.” Translation: You decide whether we are going to participate in RUN4MFG, a 5k run/walk sponsored by FABTECH® hosts the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association,... Continue Reading

What is your business?

November 14, 2013


Gerald Davis, The FABRICATOR’s Precision Matters columnist, writes an interesting capper to his yearlong series on estimating in the publication's December issue. In it, he discusses optimization of the quoting process so that it matches the true focus of the metal fabricating business. The... Continue Reading

The greatest show in fabricating

November 13, 2013


The holiday season is fast approaching, and what better way for fabricators to kick it off than by holding their own extravaganza celebrating metal manufacturing and its technology. FABTECH® truly is an extravaganza—a spectacular array of the latest equipment and software for producing metal... Continue Reading

The future of the laser in metal fabrication

November 12, 2013


This time next week I’ll be walking the floor at McCormick Place, seeing what’s new, what’s unusual, and perhaps a little about what the future holds in metal fabrication. Even after years covering FABTECH®, I feel like a kid at a candy store. Sometimes I think about what the industry will... Continue Reading


November 6, 2013


As promised, here are some positive comments from “Welding Wire” readers about their experiences dealing with today’s young workers. First up is Dan, who works for a Michigan-based company that touts its “benchmark craftsmanship by certified welders.” Dan said, “I like to work with the... Continue Reading

Can get some satisfaction

October 31, 2013


Leading a tour of Southern Metalcraft Inc., Lithonia, Ga., as part of The FABRICATOR’s Technology Summit in early October, shop management jokingly referred to an employee with 23 years of experience as a “rookie.” When the second worker ever hired by the almost 40-year-old company still... Continue Reading

Those who do well really shine

October 31, 2013


The October “Welding Wire” e-newsletter asked readers to share their observations about today’s workforce, specifically, younger workers. You can always count on “Welder Wire” workers to respond and to do so with candor and conviction. Based on their responses, there are some issues with... Continue Reading

How lean manufacturing makes labor more valuable

October 29, 2013


Last week I flew to Chicago to attend LeanFab Workshop & Tours, a continuous improvement event devoted to the metal fabrication business, organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International. Dick Kallage of Barrington, Ill.-based KDC & Associates (and monthly... Continue Reading

Barely 18, Part II

October 23, 2013


Joe, Joe, Joe. It’s now been three weeks since I e-mailed you in response to the comment you left for a blog post about how welders began their welding careers. You wrote about your desire to begin yours and how no one would give you a chance. I wanted to find out and report on your experiences... Continue Reading

New source of expertise emerges for fabricators

October 18, 2013


The local welding supply house is an important resource for any metal fabricator, but it isn’t normally the first call made when a fab shop has a production problem. A major independent supplier of gases and equipment is hoping to change that, however. With headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., and... Continue Reading

A new perspective on the debt

October 17, 2013


The good news is that Congress finally drafted a spending bill that a majority agreed to (but not too enthusiastically); the bad news is twofold. First, some in government seem even more out-of-touch than ever. To quote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev: "This is not a time for... Continue Reading

Sausage-making at its best and worst

October 15, 2013


When it comes to government, I don’t particularly want to know about the sausage-making—the bargaining, arguing, and deals made (and now almost always required) to get anything accomplished. I know reading about it would just infuriate me, because inside the beltway, at least, it seems that... Continue Reading

Manufacturing by the numbers

October 10, 2013


If you didn’t know the significance of Oct. 4 this year, your company missed out on an exciting day. More than 800 organizations welcomed the public into their manufacturing facilities to show the world what modern manufacturing is like, all in hopes of dispelling the dank and dark images of... Continue Reading

Celebrating Manufacturing Day

October 9, 2013


The many John Q. Publics who think that manufacturing in the U.S. is dying—or worse, who think it’s already dead—got a chance to see what they’ve been missing on Oct. 4, when more than 800 manufacturers throughout the U.S. opened their doors for tours. The main goal of Manufacturing Day is... Continue Reading

The virtues of paying your debts

October 8, 2013


Whenever I think of the debt ceiling, I think of Vivek Gupta, managing director of Texas ProFab in Carrollton, Texas. In 2008—back when we were all debating whether we were really heading into a full blown recession (how quaint)—he told me that he not only pays the fabricator’s bills on... Continue Reading