May 21, 2013
Much of a town flattened. Entire neighborhoods reduced to piles of debris. Hundreds injured. More than two dozen killed. It’s a grim reminder that the confluence of weather systems in the central U.S., specifically masses of cold, dry air from the north and fronts of warm, moist air from the... Continue Reading
May 13, 2013
Fake Rolex® watches, knock-off Armani® handbags, counterfeit Nike® shoes, pirated movies of all sorts—if you’ve traveled to any countries that have lax trademark, patent, and copyright protection, you’ve seen plenty of faked goods. It’s pathetic, to say the least. The companies that make... Continue Reading
April 19, 2013
When Oddello Industries, a supplier of fabricated assemblies to OEMs in a variety of markets, was invited to bid on a contract for a high-end adjustable mattress foundation, it searched for a piercing machine and a cutting machine that could handle the tubular portion of the project. It combined the two machines into a single integrated unit that processes more than 15 miles of tube per day.
April 17, 2013
Industrial Laser Solutions, Atlanta, has carved out a niche as a firm that engineers and develops its own products. During the downturn that followed the financial crisis of 2008, the company decided to take on some additional work, and it found itself in the fabrication business. This article tells the story of its first fabrication project, including some problems and practical solutions.
April 16, 2013
At 7:03 pm on November 1, 1955, a DC-6B (United Airlines Flight 629) crashed near Longmont, Colorado. The Civil Aeronautics Board and the FBI carried out a comprehensive recovery effort, and eventually pieced together most of the airplane. The tail had severed off cleanly, and when engineers from... Continue Reading
April 8, 2013
After his yacht-building business dried up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, entrepreneur Scott Gerber decided to build a simple sculpture from tubing. Based on a basic stick figure, the first one was a fisherman. Gerber placed a few around town, encountered some interest, and suddenly a new business was born.
April 4, 2013
In early March, my colleague Vicki Bell wrote a blog about a common and highly dreaded problem these days: Metal theft. I am sure the main target is copper, which typically fetches more than $3.00 per pound (spot price), and it probably started with stealing plumbing pipe from abandoned buildings.... Continue Reading
March 15, 2013
Heat treating metals goes back thousands of years, but the use of cold temperatures, especially the very cold temperatures in the cryogenic range, is relatively new and hasn't been fully accepted in the manufacturing industry. Interviews with four cryogenic processors clear up some of the mysteries and misconceptions concerning this often-misunderstood process.
February 1, 2013
After realizing he was spending too much time traveling, risk management consultant Hank Padilla decided to take a dramatic career detour. He did some vocational coursework and opened a fabrication shop, serving the local area (Littleton, Colo.) with precision tube bending and GTAW for roll cages and exhaust systems.
February 1, 2013
When one of its facilities was struck by an EF5 tornado on April 27, 2011, Independence Tube Corp. vowed to rebuild the facility. The reconstruction, which was aided by its staff, its customers, and its suppliers, was a Herculean effort that resulted in a small miracle exactly a year later: the new facility reopened for business on April 27, 2012.
January 30, 2013
The latest big-picture economic assessment is out, and the headlines don’t tell a pretty story. As measured by gross domestic output (GDP), the U.S. economy contracted slightly during the final quarter of 2012. A surprise? Yes, even for many economists. A reflection of the national mood at the... Continue Reading
January 15, 2013
A 6.2-liter engine, 450 horsepower, zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds, and a redesigned exterior that exudes cool from bumper to bumper. It’s not a foreign car with a funny-sounding name and a price tag with as many digits as the federal debt. It’s a domestic model guaranteed to... Continue Reading
January 14, 2013
Compressor Systems Inc., a manufacturer of natural gas compressors and tanks, was having trouble keeping up with the growing demand for its products. A breakthrough in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) had made shale gas a economically viable, and prices were on the rise, so producers were ever busier. CSI’s four-axis pipe cutter machine was no longer adequate—the company relied on time-consuming manual cleanup of most holes the machine cut, so it sought a better machine that could provide weld-ready holes.
January 10, 2013
If the headlines from a week ago are to be believed, Congress got its act together and cobbled together a last-minute deal to avoid sending the U.S. economy off the fiscal cliff. Needless to say, I don’t believe it. Yes, superficially, the new legislation prevented the U.S. economy from becoming... Continue Reading
December 6, 2012
In the end, the labor strike was just eight days long, but for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, an eight-day strike idles a large number of workers and ties up a lot of cargo. The dispute largely centered around the alleged outsourcing of jobs, an accusation brought by the International... Continue Reading