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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Largest change in our economy since the industrial revolution?

August 4, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Is there a day that goes by that some politician somewhere doesn't mention green jobs as a possible lifeline for the economy? If not the national economy, maybe a state's or city's? Many politicians are touting and campaigning on green job creation. I was reminded of this by an item on WCCO, St....

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The world needs customers

August 2, 2010 | By Tim Heston

“What the world lacks is willing customers, not willing workers.” That statement in this week’s The Economist magazine may be one of the most insightful among all the worried economic chatter in the media these days. The magazine’s cover story this week covers the woes of the Chinese...

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Is it time for the small-business initiative?

July 29, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

A small-business initiative working its way through Congress has been making headlines lately. It has the potential to provide $30 billion in new capital for community banks, which would use it as a foundation for lending to small and medium-sized businesses. Whether lawmakers will pass the bill is...

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Time's a wastin

July 28, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

As noted in a speech by John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers — posted on YouTube July 26 — NAM appreciates the fact that the House is spending the last week of July talking about the manufacturing economy, "but it's not enough … it's simply not enough."...

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Cost-cutting here to stay

July 26, 2010 | By Tim Heston

“Caterpillar flaunts its muscle.” You’ve got to admit, that’s a great headline. After reading the story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, I thought back to a blog I wrote while sitting in the Las Vegas expo center’s coffee shop (which happened to have good Internet access), about 200...

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The unfortunate event of retirement

July 22, 2010 | By Dan Davis

As I write this, I'm sitting at a restaurant checking e-mail and doing some other work. Even though my eyes are working perfectly fine, I'm heading to the eye doctor. I'm watching about 30 senior citizens enjoy their morning coffee and cool temperatures before the summer sun becomes unbearable. It...

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Tell it like it is

July 21, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

I don't pretend to be an economic or political expert. I'm just an average U.S. citizen who is worried about our economy and about my fellow citizens, including friends and family, who can't find jobs. I'm also a taxpayer, and I want the money I pay Uncle Sam each year to be spent judiciously and...

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Fabricating more value

July 19, 2010 | By Tim Heston

I’m glad I talked with Drew Greenblatt last week. Otherwise, news of waning manufacturing output might have gotten to me. At Greenblatt’s company, Marlin Steel Wire Products, output certainly isn’t waning. The 28-employee contract manufacturer has grown throughout the recession, and much of...

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Manufacturers provide value, not just jobs

July 16, 2010 | By Dan Davis

When metal fabricators get together and talk about improving the image of manufacturing, the talk normally progresses to politicians. The fabricators lament that the elected officials just don't understand the value that their shops bring to the community and, as a result, don't support their...

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New product idea-Quirky or not?

July 14, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

When I woke up the other day, I had this idea for a product. Seriously, the perfect name for it came to me immediately. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because I want to do some research and see if it already exists — and also because you might laugh, or steal my idea. And if it doesn’t...

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Who you callin' a protectionist?

July 9, 2010 | By Dan Davis

If you haven't read this opinion piece by Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, you should probably check it out. In the editorial, Grove makes the point that the U.S. has outsourced not only tons of jobs to Asia, but also the ability to innovate. He thinks that manufacturing companies that grew and...

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'Now hiring?'

July 8, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

The data continues to pile up, yet the result is inconclusive. Judging by GDP, the broadest measure of an economy’s output, the U.S. economy has been growing since the middle of 2009. The PMI, a manufacturing-related gauge developed by the Institute for Supply Management, has been greater than...

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The thinking worker in manufacturing

July 8, 2010 | By Tim Heston

The country continues to fret about unemployment. Millions want jobs, and millions of business owners want those people to have jobs so that they’ll buy products. Most business owners, though, don’t want to be the ones hiring. That’s where the government has stepped in. Of course, government...

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Don't worry about the double-dip, worry about the new 'norm'

July 2, 2010 | By Dan Davis

The talk about the ol' double-dip recession continues. I don't buy it. I think it's just  the Unremarkable Recovery. I don't think that name will stick, but it's probably for the better. It doesn't do much for raising the morale of society. The simple fact remains that consumers aren't spending....

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If you do what you love, you’ll love what you do

July 1, 2010 | By Amanda Carlson

Most people would agree that working is an essential part of life, and the U.S. is a country whose citizens live to work. A 2004 study titled "Overworked in America" conducted by the Families and Work Institute found that one-third of U.S. employees were chronically overworked. In the book The...

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