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Keep on humming

December 11, 2007

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At the recent In-Tech 2007 open house at TRUMPF"s facility in Swabia, Germany, BusinessWeek and the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that "machine manufacturing has recorded its fourth boom year in a row. Companies are operating at full capacity and want to invest ... But a shadow lay over...

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Pop culture and fabricating

December 7, 2007

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I just got back into town from visiting a metal fabricating shop that will be highlighted in The FABRICATOR in early 2008. It"s the type of company that makes me feel good about manufacturing in the U.S. You wouldn"t mind working for the management team or spending an eight-hour shift in this...

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Say it isn't so

December 5, 2007

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Confession time. I'm a survey junkie. When I scan news sites, I always check the survey section to see the latest topics. In fact, my very first blog post on thefabricator.com, What to do about health care costs, mentioned surveys about dashboard dining and windbreakers imported from...

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The dollar"s decline: Good or bad?

December 4, 2007

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Jean-Guy April knows the value of a dollar, and in this case more value isn"t always better.April owns April Services Techniques, a metal fabrication consultancy in Montmagny, about 50 miles northeast of Quebec City, and many of his clients are feeling the pain as the dollar falls and the Canadian...

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Feeling fuel-ish

November 30, 2007

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I won $30 in fuel cards during an all-staff meeting earlier this week. It's an enticement for people to come to the meeting and an overall nice thing to do for the employees—especially those with a long commute. I'm one of those employees. It's a 106-mile round trip for me each day. And the...

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After the war

November 28, 2007

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As the Iraqi War continues, business is booming for defense contractors. According to Michael Brush"s article on MSN Money, War means a windfall for CEOs, the military buildup has caused defense-contractor revenue to double, triple, and even more during the past five years, and executives at these...

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The silent foundation of U.S. manufacturing

November 26, 2007

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On Sunday, after the Thanksgiving guests departed, with enough turkey leftovers to last for the next few millennia or so, and with my wife and 9-month-old daughter out at a brunch, I had a quiet moment to sit.Yes, sit. And as any parent knows, sitting is not something somebody with a 9-month-old...

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A top 10 list from FABTECH & AWS Show

November 16, 2007

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North America"s largest metal fabricating technology show is over, and for those who couldn"t make it to Chicago this week, I"m hoping to help you out. Here"s a list of the top 10 things that caught my attention at the 2007 FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show:Everyone knows that dust...

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Notes on FABTECH

November 15, 2007

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WARNING: I'm on FABTECH overload. I'm back in my office looking at stacks of press kits about products featured at the 2007 FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show that wrapped up Wednesday. Held in Chicago, this year's show was the largest I've seen in my nine years with the...

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Raise your hand

November 14, 2007

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On Monday Jim Reeb, director, manufacturing R&D for Caterpillar, asked some hard-hitting questions of several hundred members of the metal fabrication industry.So how many of you want your children to grow up to be welders? A fraction of the audience members raised their hand. OK, now how many...

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Speaking out on aerospace manufacturing

November 9, 2007

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It"s refreshing to hear someone speak frankly about a subject without business jargon or feel-good mumbo jumbo sprinkled throughout the conversation. They are speaking off-the-cuff and obviously have enough confidence in themselves or their support structure to not think twice about being candid....

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Cutting the pipeline

November 7, 2007

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This week two metal tube and pipe companies announced plant closings.Wolverine Tube Inc. announced Nov. 6 that it will discontinue its U.S. plumbing tube business and will close manufacturing facilities located in Decatur, Ala., and Booneville, Miss. The same day, U.S. Pipe & Foundry announced that...

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Keep your powder dry

November 6, 2007

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When tool and die maker Michael Ward Sr. started Ward Manufacturing Co. in 1936, one principle gave the business a solid foundation: Keep your powder dry.That"s according to the founder"s grandson, Tom Ward, vice president of the Evanston, Ill., company, now under its third generation of...

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To serve is to lead

November 2, 2007

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Piccadilly Restaurants are a chain of restaurants that started out in Baton Rouge, La. The chain now has locations all over the Southeast, but to be honest, I haven"t eaten at one since the early 1990s when I made the move to the Chicago area.After spending a week at leadership training, the...

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’Tis the season to give … of yourself

November 1, 2007

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Over the past 12 months I've held tight to my plan to discuss the skilled welder shortage in my editorials. I've shared stories of companies finding ways to train welders and foundations trying to expose young adults to the industry. As a result, several readers have reached out to share with me...

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