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Retirement? Maybe, maybe not

October 14, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

I love online polls, especially those that allow takers to comment. There's a certain feeling of anonymity when you are sitting all alone in front of your computer screen that tends to make many of us more open when voicing our opinions through our keyboards. (Of course that same feeling of...

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The power of walking away

October 13, 2009 | By Tim Heston

Talk of health reform has become frenzied in recent weeks. The latest compromises have bordered on desperation. We can't pursue the public option plan, to appease budget-weary politicians (and voters) and the insurance industry. We're uncomfortable about requiring everyone to buy...

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Fabricators: Servants to their customers

October 9, 2009 | By Dan Davis

Today's thoughts are inspired by a question posted on the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association's group discussion board on LinkedIn. Cecilia Allison, vice president of finance, K & S Tool, Die & Manufacturing Inc.: "OEMs are great at demanding service and charging the supplier if their...

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Fertilizer for job growth?

October 8, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

A few days ago, my fellow blogger, Eric Lundin, wrote a post entitled " Too little, too late," in which he discussed U.S. pipe producers asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose duties on steel pipe imported from China.Eric shed light on the snail's pace at which the legal process...

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Mind the gap

October 7, 2009 | By Eric Lundin

I felt a stabbing pain when I saw the headline (A Threat to Global Recovery: Too Many Factories), and it got worse when I saw the name of the publication (Time). Call me skeptical, but I think mainstream journalists understand manufacturing as well as politicians do. I went ahead and read the...

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From buying Cristal to being cheap

October 5, 2009 | By Tim Heston

It's 2005. A group of investment bankers visit a dimly lit New York club. One banker in his 20s makes more than a million a year packaging mortgages and sending them on to the big Wall Street firms. Two waiters arrive carrying four champagne bottles each with tiny sparklers. Everyone turns to...

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Too little, too late

October 2, 2009 | By Eric Lundin

If you've been following the news and reading about U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, you're well aware that it's a puzzle with many pieces. This bit of news was a real eye-opener: Two pipe producers asked the Commerce Department to impose duties up to 90 percent on some categories of steel pipe...

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Small government is good; Really small government is better

October 1, 2009 | By Tim Heston

I'm not so naive that I believe The FABRICATOR is the only magazine metal fabricators read. If The FABRICATOR is the only one you read, than I applaud you for it and urge you to swing by our booth (No. 7034) at FABTECH International so I can give you a hug. Because we do have competitors...

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Helping U.S. manufacturing - Take note, Bloom

September 30, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

Most people with half a brain who actually think about U.S. manufacturing agree that it is suffering. You can't watch or read the news without learning of plant closings, layoffs, furloughs, pay reductions, and growing unemployment lines that include many factory workers, staff, and...

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A welder, waiting

September 28, 2009 | By Tim Heston

It's the waiting that drags you down. With our unemployment rate edging near 10 percent, many are waiting for companies to finally rehire. I can imagine them shaking their heads when they look at the Dow's ascent in recent weeks. Somebody's making money, but it certainly isn't them. I'm not sure...

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Up with people

September 25, 2009 | By Dan Davis

I visited with a friend from college several weeks ago. He works in operations in the software services division for a major publicly owned corporation and was in Chicago for a tradeshow. It's a good gig for a good guy who can handle personal relationships like a three-card monte dealer can...

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Making the most of metals

September 24, 2009 | By Eric Lundin

Editors know that fab shop owners wear many (many, many) hats, and depending on the size of the shop, have to be equal parts accountant, purchasing agent, sales manager, marketing guru, safety officer, shop supervisor, process troubleshooter, training manager, human resources department, and maybe...

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All about welding ... mostly

September 23, 2009 | By Vicki Bell

Last week, I attended the Schweissen & Schneiden International Trade Fair Joining Cutting Surfacing, commonly known as the Essen Welding Show, in Essen, Germany. The show comes around every four years and attracts thousands of attendees, primarily from Europe and Asia. This was my first time...

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From the frying pan to the fire?

September 22, 2009 | By Kate Bachman

Alternative power trains, advanced propulsion technologies, and automotive battery power are all the buzz. At the NanoBusiness Alliance conference I attended in September in Chicago, a great deal of discussion centered around announcements of the $2 billion U.S. federal grants awarded from the...

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Proximity makes a difference

September 21, 2009 | By Tim Heston

On a flight to a manufacturing event last week, I read an article in BusinessWeek that got me pretty down. The headline on the magazine cover screamed, "America's Manufacturing Crisis." The topic: Why stuff's invented stateside and sent abroad for manufacturing. "While the...

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