February 12, 2010
Remember former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's comments about the U.S. economy being swept up in "irrational exuberance"? He used the phrase in 1996 to describe the stock market boom that might have been overvalued. To be frank, I thought he had coined the phrase in the 2000s to...
February 11, 2010
In recent years General Metal Works, Mequon, Wis., has leaned heavily on practices that eliminate waste in its shop floor operations and kept its work force engaged. The efforts have paid off in that no layoffs have occurred during the recent economic downturn, and the company is still on track to finish with $10 million in sales revenue in 2009. The company also has been named the winner of The FABRICATOR's Industry Award 2010.
February 9, 2010
P&H Mining equipment, Milwaukee, Wis., makes very large equipment, such as its largest electric shovel that weighs 1,200 tons. Shovel components keep getting larger, and to keep up with the market trends, the company needed a new welding positioner. That's a "big" deal in every sense of the word. Luckily, Koike Aronson Inc./Ransome was able to help.
February 5, 2010
My mother is a retired elementary school teacher, and I'm married to a high school math teacher. Inevitably if the two are together for any length of time, the discussion turns to public education. The opinions are impassioned and obviously biased, but the input is valuable in understanding how a...
January 15, 2010
I'm reading about the tragedy in Haiti this morning and thinking about the sheer amount of work that'll be required to get this nation back on its feet. That may be one heck of a goal considering many feel this nation really wasn't on stable footing to begin with—extreme poverty, history of...
January 14, 2010
Automated welding holds great promise forkeeping U.S. metal fabricators competitiveagainst their international counterpartsbecause it keeps labor costs down, but theserobotic welding cells still require somehuman intervention. Having said that,management doesn't want just anyone in therole of robotic welding cell operator. Hereare five characteristics that they can lookfor to ensure they get the right person forthe job.
January 14, 2010
The metal fabricating and forming market isclearly in a rebuilding mode after theeconomic downturn in 2009. The 2010 FMACCapital Spending Survey indicates thatcompanies are interested in spending money oncapital equipment, around $1.3 billion worth,but that's down significantly from the $2.2that was expecting to be spent in 2008.
January 8, 2010
I spent the first part of my holiday break unwinding by watching movies. I intended to go out skating, visit downtown Chicago, and generally get out of the house during the second part of the break, but the temperature dropped down to single digits; I ended up watching more movies.One of the more...
December 18, 2009
I read an interview with some highfalutin investment guy in the Dec. 21 issue of Fortune, and I'm starting to feel good about the future. It's not that he's bullish about the economy in the months to come, but that may not necessarily be all bad.Mohamed El-Erian, who is CEO of an...
December 4, 2009
If you didn't notice Emerson Electric Co. David Farr's comments made before the Thanksgiving break, take note now. The CEO voiced what's on the minds of plenty of manufacturing company leaders and managers."Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S....
December 4, 2009
Unison Industries, an aerospace partsmanufacturer, found out that a metalfabricator can offer a lot to theirmanufacturing efforts.
December 3, 2009
General Sheet Metal Works, South Bend, Ind.,had a 0.25-in. part that forced them tochoose between stamping and laser cutting tofabricate the part. Luckily, the companydiscovered an oxidation removal machine thathelped to make laser cutting with oxygen thelogical choice for the job.
November 13, 2009
My two fellow bloggers have written about jobs, and I can't disagree with their points. Job creation is important both to the electorate and those they elect.Unfortunately, the past decade hasn't been a stellar one for job creation. If you take a look at the private jobs in the U.S. in...
November 6, 2009
I think I recently experienced one of those "Ah-ha!" moments that metal fabricators undertaking lean initiatives have pretty frequently. I was attending a meeting where the subject was improving communication between our ad sales team and our magazine production team. Incomplete and incorrect...
October 30, 2009
On the day that everyone was rejoicing about the GDP growth in the third quarter of this year, I'm still thinking about an announcement that Swedish appliance giant Electrolux made earlier this week. Somehow, that doesn't strike me as being great news, particularly for Iowa residents and...