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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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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Is this the best we can do?

June 30, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Smartass, Big Ass, dumbass ... Let me begin by saying that the opinion expressed here is solely mine and not to be interpreted as that of my employer and my co-workers or the editorial position of the publications we produce. It's my take on the caliber of some of the elected officials in our...

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Metal fabricators are true knowledge workers

June 28, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Last week DeWys Mfg., a metal fabricator based in west Michigan, launched a new Web site, and the content of that Web site is worth noting. The contract fabricator is touting its “circle of companies” concept, which is another way to describe the fact that DeWys is a one-stop shop for metal...

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Chinese current events and U.S. manufacturing

June 25, 2010 | By Dan Davis

My co-worker Tim Heston stole a little of my thunder for this week's blog post with his coverage of China's decision to adopt a more flexible approach to how it values its currency. U.S. manufacturers have been clamoring for years for some shift away from China's currency manipulation, but to no...

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What's old is valuable

June 22, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

On the road again, goin' places that I've already been. Seeing things (and people) that I hope to see again. I'm just glad to be on this road again. This week I'm in Rockford, Ill., home of my employer, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.®, the organization behind The...

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Chinese currency and U.S. manufacturing

June 21, 2010 | By Tim Heston

An international economic chess game just got more interesting, and metal fabricators may one day see the benefits. Today the Chinese currency rose against the dollar 0.42 percent in Asia—not much, but that’s the biggest one-day gain in five years. This came after Chinese officials announced...

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Understanding the cost of ownership

June 17, 2010 | By Dan Davis

There is a reason that I work for someone else: I don't have that desire to strike out on my own to build a business. The entrepreneurial gene can't be found in my DNA. So when I'm chatting with business owners, I'm doing so with a lot of respect for their accomplishments. If the shoe were on my...

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What do fabricators think of Obama's factory visits?

June 16, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Much of the media, including The Fabricator Blog and "Stamping News Brief," have covered President Obama's visits to factories in recent months. The June issue of "Stamping News Brief" asked subscribers whether they think the visits are strictly PR, fact-finding missions, or both. Here's what...

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Knowing the grammar of metal fabrication

June 15, 2010 | By Tim Heston

John McPhee is a hero of mine. As one of the best nonfiction writers out there, the Princeton professor and contributor to The New Yorker magazine can turn any subject into a pleasurable read. He’s written about geology, the merchant marines, physics—heck, even an entire book on oranges....

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So the government shows up and says, 'I'm here to help'

June 11, 2010 | By Dan Davis

Ask any metal fabricating business owner or manager what the government can do to help them out, and the response is pretty typical: "Stop trying to help." The last attempt that comes to mind is President Barack Obama's offer of a tax incentive to hire people. Business owners found it laughable....

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Cleaning up (slowly) in the gulf

June 10, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

It’s no secret that the Transocean oil spill is among the largest man-made environmental disasters of all time. Given the impact, the word spill itself is a huge understatement. Gusher or torrent or catastrophe would be more accurate. An early estimate of 5,000 barrels leaking per day appears to...

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