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The business of lasers

July 24, 2003

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As we all know, the laser industry has seen easier times. Economic and market pressures have changed the competitive landscape for laser cutting equipment, and the changes are likely to continue. Both lasermakers and laser users need to adapt to the changes in the laser market, and the companies that recognize and adapt first are likely to be those that succeed.

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Advancements in waterjet technology

July 24, 2003

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When Jack Budd, president of Precision Waterjet, Orange, Calif., purchased his first waterjet system seven years ago, he expected most of the company's work to come from the aerospace industry, which was robust at the time. When business from that industry tapered off, he searched for new customers in the architectural, signage, and automotive aftermarket industries.

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Welding aluminum with inverter-based power supplies

July 24, 2003

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It's easy to look at such a long-established technology as welding and believe that little or no technology development is taking place. In truth, however, the capabilities of welding power supplies are changing constantly and rapidly, especially in the area of inverter technology. These power supplies are suitable for welding aluminum alloys, including thin aluminum alloys.

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Using inverter technology

July 24, 2003

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Businesses feel a constant pressure to gain an advantage and control their processes better. However, the decision to embrace new technology often leaves them feeling vulnerable. In the realm of hand-held metal cutting operations, one such decision is choosing between traditional technology and an inverter-based plasma cutting system.

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The Perfect Economic Storm and The 100-Year Flood in Manufacturing—Part 1

July 10, 2003

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Editor's note: This article discusses three of six contributing factors to the current state of manufacturing—global competition, high business costs, and supply chain management and consolidation—with a focus on California manufacturing. Part II discusses technology investment, the...

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What price workers' compensation insurance?

July 10, 2003

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It's a Catch-22 for many manufacturers. Not having workers' compensation insurance can put them out of business. Paying for workers' compensation insurance can put them out of business. How is a company to survive?

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JD Power problem ratings

The problem with quality

July 10, 2003

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In May, automotive quality gurus J.D. Power & Associates released the results of its 2003 Initial Quality Study (IQS). As is the case every year, the winners will trumpet their scores while the losers will promise improvement. A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals some interesting observations.

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Examining the effects of push assist on the formability of aluminum tubes

July 10, 2003

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It is well-known that tube has become an important material for hydroforming hollow components. The increasing complexity of product structures, particularly in the automotive industry, often requires one or more forming operations before a tube actually is hydroformed. Prebending is one of these forming processes used to prepare tubes for the so-called prebent tube hydroforming.

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Do you use checking jigs and fixtures?

July 10, 2003

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How do you check tube fabrications to ensure they meet quality standards? Do you ship parts without checking them and hope that the next time the phone rings it isn't a prelude to a tirade from a disgruntled customer? Or do you check finished parts only to realize that your scrap rate is too high and wish you had checked them at earlier stages of the manufacturing process?

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Hot spots for U.S. metal fabricated exports

July 10, 2003

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Increased global competition for customers on their home turf has driven U.S. metal fabricators to throw their nets wider to international markets. With this in mind, fabricators should look at the lists of the countries purchasing the most U.S. metal fabricated tools, machinery, products, and partially assembled goods as a road map to export opportunities.

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Six dangerous misconceptions about crane safety

July 10, 2003

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Knowing how cranes should be used, and how they should not be used, is critical to crane safety. Overload, side pull, limit switches, secondary braking devices, using the reverse direction for speed control, and daily inspections are surrounded by myth and mystery in the workplace.

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Fabricating technology advancements drive new plate finishing trends

July 10, 2003

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The same industry forces of nature—globalization, economic conditions, quality demands, and safety and environmental regulations—that are pressuring metal fabricators to do more, better, and faster with less are blowing no less forcefully on finishing fabricators.

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Managers are not necessarily leaders

June 26, 2003

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Often we are told that leadership is the key to the success of any business or organization. What is leadership? Is it the same as management? And what separates would-be or so-so leaders from world-class leaders?

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The end of the (welding) world as we know it?

June 26, 2003

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The end of manufacturing is near for the state of Connecticut, some fear.

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Making the workplace safe for Spanish-speaking employees

June 26, 2003

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Modifying your safety program to address the needs of your Spanish-speaking employees can create a much safer work environment. Here's how one company achieved that goal.

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