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Waiting for metal prices to fall

July 25, 2008

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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...

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Design to fabrication: All in a weekend's work

July 24, 2008

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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...

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Which direction this election?

July 17, 2008

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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...

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This InBev's for you

July 14, 2008

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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...

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A different perspective on U.S. manufacturing

July 11, 2008

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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...

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Bionic boomers

July 9, 2008

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Last week I met with my orthopedic surgeon to discuss my upcoming hip replacement procedure. I'm one of the growing numbers, particularly those in the 45 to 64 age group (baby boomers), who are having joint replacement surgery.I'm not a newbie when it comes to this surgery. My left hip...

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The economy and the power of hindsight

July 8, 2008

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Reading the campaign news this week, I was reminded of a West Wing episode years back when the president"s personal aide, Charlie Young, asks what President Bartlet was doing. The president replied, I"m doing basically what the president does: Asking people for things, and then thanking them.He...

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Commemorating history—Creating a legacy

July 2, 2008

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It's July, and here in the U.S., we're planning our Independence Day, celebrations. July 4 is an important day in our nation's history. On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and set the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign...

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Nuclear energy not going to waste

June 30, 2008

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Reading news of the campaign trail last week, I recalled a park cookout I attended years ago while visiting a friend in West Lafayette, Ind. The conversations there weren"t normal, and not your typical neighborhood get-together talk. These people, including my friend, were nuclear engineering...

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A thumbprint in the right direction?

June 25, 2008

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Despite efforts by lawmakers and the metals industry, scrap metal theft continues worldwide. Singapore's Straitstimes.com reported today that metal thieves there are targeting letter boxes. Apparently more than 200 metal letter boxes were stolen in the past two days. According to the report,...

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Money in green

June 23, 2008

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Last week media reported long gas station lines, with motorists grumbling over record prices. That sounded like 1970s oil-crisis America, but that"s not what reporters were writing about on Friday.They were reporting from Beijing.There, The Times of London gave reports of long lines outside petrol...

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Educating tomorrow's welders

June 20, 2008

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I think the program I have struggled to keep alive was valuable and rewarding to a certain population. Was it enough to rationalize the expense? I don"t know, but to me and my students, it was valuable and rewarding.That"s the message Lebanon (N.Y.) High School welding teacher Tom Callison shared...

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You cannot be serious

June 18, 2008

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Although I'm an avid tennis fan, this post is not paying homage to John McEnroe, who often uttered the words "you cannot be serious" and sundry words I can't repeat to umpires and line judges in matches. Rather, the statement was the first thought that crossed my mind when I read about a...

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Nerdy no longer

June 16, 2008

I fess up. Yes, I"m an overgrown band geek. I played trombone during high school, on through college, and I continue to do so (very badly, actually) in a local community band. Every Thursday, driving into the rehearsal hall parking lot, I see yet another blast from the past, that preferred...

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Fire up the grill

June 13, 2008

I can talk sports all day. If I have a beer while I do that, it"s a great day. If I"m cooking some meat over an open flame, it"s a great day.It"s amazing how little time I set aside to just sit outside with a buddy, grilling up some chicken and ribs, enjoying a tasty microbrew, and listening to the...

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