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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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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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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