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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Real-life concerns for metal fabricators

March 26, 2010 | By Dan Davis

"Worry about those things that you can control," my mom used to tell me. It's a great piece of advice, especially as we struggle to deal with the weak economic rebound and the political ruckus that passes for progress in Washington, D.C. So what's a metal fabricator to worry about? I don't run a...

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The inventor-manufacturer relationship

March 24, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Inventors and manufacturers are entities that truly go hand-in-hand, meaning you really can’t have one without the other, at least not in any substantive manner. Similar to "Love and Marriage", about which the song (written in 1955) says "you can’t have one without the other." (Not too sure...

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Health care and the angry citizen

March 22, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Talking with various contract metal fabricators over the past few months, I now realize what health care insurance means to them and other small-business owners across the country. Providing health care is a moral imperative. Sure, providing good benefits makes a shop competitive. But at the end...

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Offshoring not what it once was

March 18, 2010 | By Dan Davis

We live in extraordinary times. You can tell because people are creating their own words, and society adopts them without questions. It's fantabulous. Metal fabricators should embrace this new word with open arms: Re-shoring. Manufacturing jobs that once went overseas because of low-cost labor are...

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The green fields of America

March 17, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

As I write this, it's March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day - - and as a member of the Irish diaspora, I'm wearing green and playing the CD Murphy's Irish Pub as I work. This is the one day of the year that I immerse myself in my ancestry. I’m an American first and foremost, but who I am as an...

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Do not count on those manufacturing backlogs

March 16, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Not a day goes by that I don’t remember how lucky I am. OK, I’m lying. Most days I don’t give it a second thought, though I know I should. My parents got a second mortgage so that I could leave college without having to worry about paying back student loans. How could they do this? Well,...

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Faith in metal fabricating

March 12, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I came across the Web site for JRS Custom Fabrication Inc. down in Ocala, Fla., last week. Someone sent me an e-mail so I checked it out. When you visit the site, you'll notice a Bible verse from 1 John 1:3. Make no mistake; this company's guided by the Lord's words. As its mission statement...

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'Our most-used machine is so old ...

March 10, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

... that the hydraulic cylinder doesn’t have a conventional seal, but uses rings of packing to slow the flow of hydraulic fluid.'  This is just one of the comments we received yesterday in response to the March "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter that addressed companies' reluctance to invest in...

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The backbone of America

March 3, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

The phrase "backbone of America" is used to describe various important U.S. entities: the Continental Divide, roads, steel, and small business, to name a few.  Just looking at this list, you can see how interconnected these four examples are. We need roads and steel bridges to cross the...

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Therapy for data overload

March 2, 2010 | By Tim Heston

This week The Economist put together a special section about how society is overflowing with data. Reading it, I thought it was irony at its best. What better way to cover our data-overload than with a long, drawn-out story bubbling over with … data. The most obvious example of data-overload is...

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Don't get the 'reds' about green

February 26, 2010 | By Dan Davis

FMA Communications Inc., the parent organization of this Web site and The FABRICATOR magazine, launched Green Manufacturer last month. The magazine covers manufacturing practices that are not only environmentally friendly, but also friendly to a company's overall performance, whether we are talking...

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Jobs don't matter to the dead

February 24, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Two of the most compelling stories these days have to do with an athlete long-considered the best golfer in the world and an automaker that became the world’s No. 1 in 2008 (and is ranked Japan's No. 1 global brand for 2010): Tiger Woods and Toyota. Once at the top of their games, both entities...

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Investor and consumer versus the citizen

February 23, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Dennis Rider’s career path changed directions recently, as reported by The Grand Rapids Press. After 27 years as a roll forming and laser cutting machine operator, he was let go in 2007. After spending serious time job hunting, Rider decided to retrain as an auto mechanic. He told the newspaper...

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Customer service issues

February 19, 2010 | By Dan Davis

Talking with successful metal fabricators, I'm beginning to feel that they are the only companies left that remain committed to customer service. Lean manufacturing improvements are all about getting fabricated products to the customer sooner. Investments in engineering personnel and tools are made...

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Carbon-free electric cars? Not quite

February 18, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

The headline caught my attention like few do: “Oh-so quick and even carbon-free.” The article discussed Tesla Motors’ Roadster®, the $110,000 beauty that uses lithium-ion battery technology—6,831 individual cells, to be exact—to power a 375-VAC induction motor that redlines at 14,000...

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