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'Die-ing' for respect

August 21, 2008


In my editorial coming up in the September 2008 issue of The FABRICATOR, I write about Die Tech Services Inc., basically an agency that sends out tool and die experts, machine builders, and CNC machinists on a temporary basis.Like most entrepreneur stories, the company"s genesis is some other... Continue Reading

What price gold?

August 20, 2008


As I write this, the U.S. leads in total medals (82) in the 2008 Summer Olympics. However, China has won more gold medals (45) than the U.S. (26) and Russia (13) combined, and more than the U.S. and Great Britain (26) combined.The U.S. is expected to gain ground in the gold medal race in... Continue Reading

Made in America, sold to BRIC

August 18, 2008


Several events this month have made me feel a tad on edge, at least at first.First, it was the Olympics. I"m sure many of you saw the opening ceremonies, and like me you probably thought it was quite a spectacle. You probably also remember commentator Matt Lauer"s comment as 2,008 drummers played... Continue Reading

A U.S. national buffoon's European vacation

August 15, 2008


I just came back from a 10-day vacation. My wife and I visited England and Ireland for four days each. The trip was fun, but it"s hard to just put your life on hold for an extended period nowadays.As we slept in our tiny hotel room built for none on the fourth day, I tried not to think about work,... Continue Reading

Desk rage on the rise

August 13, 2008


One of my co-workers always ends her e-mails with a profound one-liner. Her current gem is: Events are less important than our response to them.My immediate reaction to these words of wisdom was also a one-liner: Truer words were never spoken.Life is a continual learning process. A lesson that we... Continue Reading

Looking down the tiers for change

August 12, 2008


This week the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) holds its Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. After reading event news trickling onto the Internet, news that includes automotive execs opining away about industry troubles, I"ve come to a conclusion. They should listen to... Continue Reading

What's hot—What's not

August 7, 2008


This post isn't about the dog days of summer, nor is it a list of Paris Hilton's "that's hot" endorsements. Rather it's a glimpse of one metal bending company that has a $7.4 billion backlog of projects—now that's hot.It also is about the hottest manufacturing sectors... Continue Reading

The Japanese supply stream

August 5, 2008


Hidetsugu Masuda revels as a tour guide.The president of KantoSeiko Co., Ltd. Group, in Fuji-Gun, Shizuoka Prefecture, isn"t your typical Japanese shop manager. The shop"s main meeting room is lined with photos of customers and other shop managers from Japan and, indeed, around the world who have... Continue Reading

The credit crunch

July 31, 2008


If you missed the headlines last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in and closed the First National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank N.A. last Friday. That comes just about two weeks after the same folks closed the doors on IndyMac bank.Of course, that led to Treasury prices... Continue Reading

Picking up the torch

July 30, 2008


Confession time. At last year's FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Chicago, I had the opportunity, along with several of my co-workers, to try welding. Sue from ESAB graciously invited us to the company's Solutions Tour Truck Booth to suit up and weld under the guidance of a... Continue Reading

Waiting for metal prices to fall

July 25, 2008


When I say everyone is worried about rising material prices, it"s not that far of a stretch.A summer survey of 72 senior-level manufacturing company owners and managers revealed that 93 percent of them consider rising material prices to be the No. 1 cost pressure facing the industry. That"s up from... Continue Reading

Design to fabrication: All in a weekend's work

July 24, 2008


Two-tenths of a second is all it took.In fact, that was more than enough time savings to trigger the 240 employees at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) into action. The high-profile NASCAR® racing team, based in Cornelius, N.C., just north of Charlotte, works fast. Earlier this month they found that... Continue Reading

Which direction this election?

July 17, 2008


Jim Zawacki, chairman of metal stamping manufacturer GR Spring & Stamping in Grand Rapids, Mich., finds himself in an awkward position this election. He"s donated $1,000 to the campaign of John McCain and plans to vote for the Republican candidate for president, but he"s not a big fan of his stance... Continue Reading

This InBev's for you

July 14, 2008


Two recent news items give a great juxtaposition, at least in my mind. One shows the price of globalization; the other shows the benefits.First, the price. The board of Anheuser-Busch Cos., a St. Louis institutionand a large employer of welders and other metal fabricators working in its breweries... Continue Reading

A different perspective on U.S. manufacturing

July 11, 2008


Never let it be said that I don"t read most of what comes across my desk.I was perusing the 2007 annual report for Fraunhofer USA, the Plymouth, Mich.-based arm of the German research organization, and I came across the farewell address from Dennis Tsichritzis. He was leaving the Fraunhofer family... Continue Reading