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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Shifting, not reducing, the tax burden

September 27, 2010 | By Tim Heston

The more rhetoric I hear this election season, the more I’m reminded just how little the government can do to fix the economy in the short term. It can pour money into shovel-ready projects, but those don’t seem to be long-term fixes, and they won’t right the ship in time for the midterm...

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Rethinking the education-to-employment system

September 24, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I learned a bit of news that raised my spirits this week: This country's inability to educate its children is not a recent phenomenon. Apparently, the U.S. has been screwing up for years. That sounds awful, I know. However, when you constantly hear about the failure of the U.S. educational system,...

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Waiting for the first shoe to drop

September 23, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

I looked at my colleagues’ blog posts (or rants as Tim calls them) and noticed that employment is a hot topic, so I figured I’d throw out my two cents’ worth on the topic. I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone—not just people in manufacturing, but everyone—is wondering when the...

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Do fabricators care if SAIC invests in GM?

September 22, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Yesterday's "Tube Talk" e-newsletter discussed the possibility of General Motors' Chinese partner, SAIC, investing in GM's initial public offering of stock. The two companies have produced cars together in China for a decade and announced plans in December to sell low-cost vehicles in India. ...

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Jobs are here, but qualified people aren’t

September 21, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Everyone says the U.S. government should foster an environment of job creation. I can’t argue with that. Thing is, some jobs are being created.  Employers just can’t find anybody to fill them. According to a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the...

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Manufacturing jobs available for 'the right candidates'

September 16, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

The lead item in the Sept. 15 "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter discussed the recently released "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey. This survey also was the topic of a blog posted last week by my colleague, Dan Davis. In his post, Davis wrote about survey findings that indicated the image...

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Much ado about nothing

September 15, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

China’s currency is in the news again. It made big news back in the summer of 2005 when the Chinese government unlocked the currency from the fixed exchange rate of 8.2765 yuan per dollar. Change came slowly; a year later it had appreciated just 3 percent, to 7.6055 yuan per dollar. The rate of...

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Fabricating focuses on the now

September 14, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Have you tried Google Instant? It’s an eye-opener. You visit the site, start typing and Google immediately spits back results based just on what you typed. Type “the” and I get listings for a thesaurus. Type “The Fab,” and you get results for The Fabulous Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St....

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Manufacturing: Not the dirty ol' job we thought

September 10, 2010 | By Dan Davis

People may have a much higher opinion of manufacturing jobs than previously thought. I received the second annual "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute in my e-mail inbox last week, and the results were enlightening. In a survey of 1,055...

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Buyer, beware!

September 9, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

A colleague recently sent around some photos of the Skydeck at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago. If you saw these photos too, you probably recall seeing the glass-bottomed ledge. If you’d like an unobstructed view of Chicago from 1,353 feet up, this is for you.  The photos...

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Big money

September 8, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Last night I had dinner at Outback with my daughter, who often tells me that if she could do it over again — to which I always reply: Why can't you? — she would choose another college major instead of the one she chose the first time around. She's thinking about making a career change when the...

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The new rules of inventory

September 3, 2010 | By Dan Davis

Dr. Chris Kuehl, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association's economist, had this nugget of wisdom in his "Business Intelligence Brief" for Sept. 2: "The role of the manufacturing sector in this recession and subsequent recovery is going to be studied for a long time. Thus far the rules of...

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Future planning starts at FABTECH

September 1, 2010 | By Amanda Carlson

Thom Shelow and wife Teresa Beach-Shelow of Superior Joining Technologies Inc. (SJTI), Machesney Park, Ill., had a plan, and come hell or high water, they were going to move forward. Wanting to diversify their business (read their story, "How can laser work for you?"), they decided to act by...

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Total (hip) recall

September 1, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Last week I wrote about a problem I encountered when trying to get my eyeglasses repaired — the lenses would not fit the identical replacement frames, because these frames are made in China, and each batch is different. This is just one example of the enormous quality issue surrounding...

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Consequences of a non-neutral Internet

August 31, 2010 | By Tim Heston

In recent weeks the Net neutrality debate took a turn--in what direction? Well, we’re not sure yet. Google, aka the “Don’t be Evil” corporation, came out and said network providers should follow Net neutrality, but only to a point. If Internet service providers (ISPs) need to muck with...

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