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A trade meritocracy

December 16, 2013

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Last week, when I visited Fisher-Barton South Carolina, Alex Robertson, business development manager, showed me a part on the shipping dock—a part he was proud of. The contract manufacturer had won the job about eight months ago. And it beat a quote from a stamper and fabricator in India....

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'I quit'

December 12, 2013

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Yesterday's "Stamping News Brief" e-newsletter focused on job satisfaction. It featured a blog post by my colleague, Dan Davis, in which he wrote about the relationship between age and job satisfaction, and how employers are happy with older workers. We asked newsletter readers to share their ages...

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GM = Good moves: exits and entrances

December 10, 2013

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In a good move that followed closely in the wake of the U.S. Treasury's announcement on Monday that it had exited its last vestiges of ownership of General Motors, the automaker promoted development, purchasing, and supply chain EVP Mary Barra to the CEO position. She will be the first female CEO...

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Laser cutting: The headwater of metal manufacturing

December 10, 2013

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During the past few years the industry has seen some incredible productivity gains in the laser cutting arena. Solid-state fiber and disk lasers are starting to dominate the FABTECH® show, and companies are beginning to tout the technology not just for thin sheet cutting, but for plate cutting as...

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Protesting the minimum wage

December 5, 2013

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Strikes and protests rippled across the U.S. on Dec. 5 as many minimum-wage workers demanded higher pay. Close on the heels of demonstrations by Wal-Mart workers on Black Friday, the protests center on the viability of making a living at $7.25 per hour. A common demand is a big jump in the minimum...

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Taking on training efforts

December 5, 2013

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Jon DeWys, president, DeWys Manufacturing, Marne, Mich., recalled a huge effort they poured into a job fair it held about two years ago. Like many other metal fabricating shops, they were struggling to find potential employees that were mechanically inclined, could show up on time, and could pass a...

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Economist at FABTECH: Invest now and reap the benefits

December 5, 2013

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Fabricators may look back at 2013 as a turning-point year, an initial ramp-up period that may be follow. At least, that was the picture keynote speaker Alan Beulieu painted at this year’s FABTECH in Chicago, Nov. 18-21. Popular perception has it that the U.S. is in the middle of a long, slow,...

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Honor and influence

December 4, 2013

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Today is my dad’s birthday. If he were alive, he would be 89 years old. Sadly, he passed away at the young age of 48. He served in World War II honorably, enlisting when he was 17. Well, he lied about his age to go into the military, but for an honorable reason. He lived his life honorably, and...

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Day 3 of FABTECH

November 20, 2013

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Day 3 of FABTECH® 2013, and my mind is filled with all things fabricating. At a booth visit earlier today, an exhibitor asked what my colleagues and I are seeing that’s new and unique. Where to begin. Although fiber lasers have been out for a while, the race has been on to produce a model that...

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A reporter’s notebook from FABTECH

November 20, 2013

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FABTECH® is on. It’s big---well on track to be the largest to date. Before Thursday’s close, it’s anticipated that more than 35,000 will walk the halls of McCormick Place. It’s flashy. Solid-state lasers are cutting thin, but also thick stock. I saw a 1-micron laser slice through 1 inch...

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A bright spot in an otherwise dark day

November 19, 2013

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Early on the morning of November 17, with severe storms forecast in Chicago, my husband turned to me and said, “It’s your call.” Translation: You decide whether we are going to participate in RUN4MFG, a 5k run/walk sponsored by FABTECH® hosts the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association,...

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What is your business?

November 14, 2013

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Gerald Davis, The FABRICATOR’s Precision Matters columnist, writes an interesting capper to his yearlong series on estimating in the publication's December issue. In it, he discusses optimization of the quoting process so that it matches the true focus of the metal fabricating business. The...

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The greatest show in fabricating

November 13, 2013

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The holiday season is fast approaching, and what better way for fabricators to kick it off than by holding their own extravaganza celebrating metal manufacturing and its technology. FABTECH® truly is an extravaganza—a spectacular array of the latest equipment and software for producing metal...

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The future of the laser in metal fabrication

November 12, 2013

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This time next week I’ll be walking the floor at McCormick Place, seeing what’s new, what’s unusual, and perhaps a little about what the future holds in metal fabrication. Even after years covering FABTECH®, I feel like a kid at a candy store. Sometimes I think about what the industry will...

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Keepers

November 6, 2013

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As promised, here are some positive comments from “Welding Wire” readers about their experiences dealing with today’s young workers. First up is Dan, who works for a Michigan-based company that touts its “benchmark craftsmanship by certified welders.” Dan said, “I like to work with the...

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