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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What I did on my vacation to Detroit

May 26, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I took a day trip to Detroit last week, and I have no joke about it. I actually enjoyed my time in the Motor City. Whereas others like to use Detroit as the poster child for what's wrong with big-city politics, the U.S. automotive industry, and public education, I see the city as one that may be...

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Taking stock of employee ownership

May 25, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Butch Munson has worked at the same metal fabrication company for 43 years, and in a few years he plans to retire. He’s had a good career at LeFiell Mfg. Co., a tube and specialty fabricator in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Sure, the shop has had its ups and downs, but generally the company has always...

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Just happy to have a job?

May 19, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

In the last few years, as more and more jobs have disappeared, those who have remained employed have considered themselves very lucky. No matter how much they've been pushed to do more with less, or how many benefits they've lost, many of these workers have adopted the mantra: "Just happy to have a...

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The laser is 50, and still beaming

May 17, 2010 | By Tim Heston

On May 16, 1960, Theodore Maiman of Hughes Labs became the first person on the planet to build light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation—or laser. (Thank goodness the acronym stuck.) On Sunday, the laser turned 50. I’m willing to bet that on that day in 1960, Ignacio “Nacho”...

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Fabricators on recovery and job creation

May 12, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

If you didn’t receive this week’s "Fabricating Update," you missed some promising numbers about the economic recovery and manufacturing jobs. Have no fear; I'm repeating them here, because they are worth repeating: The U.S. added 290,000 jobs in April, the largest monthly total since March...

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Is manufacturing cool again?

May 10, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Did you here? The folks who make things for a living are now … cool. Many business gurus out there, including Warren Buffett, say manufacturers are leading the economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management reported the fifth month of growth in manufacturing employment. ISM’s employment...

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Fabricating to the rescue yet again

May 5, 2010 | By Dan Davis

By now everyone has heard about the massive oil spill taking place in the Gulf of Mexico, a result of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig April 20. If you haven't, you'll also be shocked to know that bell bottoms have come and gone out of style again and that Abe Vigoda is still alive ....

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Playing field could become even more precarious

May 5, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

For the nearly eight years I’ve been asking fabricators about the state of metal manufacturing, many have expressed the opinion that a primary contributor to the decline in U.S. manufacturing is an unlevel playing field with China. In stating their opinions, these fabricators typically mention...

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Good news from the oracle

May 3, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Omaha, Neb., became a worldwide business epicenter over the weekend. Its oracle spoke. Warren Buffett held his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder extravaganza in Omaha. He spoke in the Qwest Center to some 40,000 investors, and afterward held a press conference to trumpet his message: Business...

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Saluting civilians

May 1, 2010 | By Amanda Carlson

Some people might think that the only way to serve their country is by joining the military. If that were true, then this country, the men and women currently serving, and our national security would be in a world of trouble. Even though they don't receive much recognition, the fact is civilians...

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Big spill, bigger problem

April 29, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

What a difference a week makes. On April 19, Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon rig was doing some exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on behalf of BP. After a six-year drought that started in 1994, BP had discovered several major oil deposits throughout the last decade: Marlin, 2000;...

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No pixie dust for manufacturing jobs

April 28, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Do you ever have one of those days, weeks, or years in which nothing seems to go right? (If you answered "no" to this question, let us all in on your secret.)  I'm having one of those weeks, and I'm attributing all the madness and irritations to the full moon. That's right; I’m blaming...

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Labor is not a bad word

April 27, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Countless talking heads have argued for and against globalization. Some say it’s an unstoppable force, as companies continue their hunt for the company that gives the most bang for their buck. In manufacturing, that often translates to the cheapest labor that can meet or exceed required quality...

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Robotics market shrinks; innovation continues

April 22, 2010 | By Dan Davis

The manufacturers and systems integrators that gathered for ABB's 2010 Robotic Technology Days, April 21-22, in Auburn Hills, Mich., showed up in good moods. The economy looks to be slowly emerging from the depths, and the technological innovations haven't slowed down during the slowdown. The past...

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Reykja-where?

April 22, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

Events in Iceland generally don’t warrant international headlines. That’s not to say it isn’t an interesting place. If you’re into linguistics, you already know that its language is essentially the same as when it was spoken by its original settlers; 1,000 years of relative isolation has...

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