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....
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...
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...
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...
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...
December 3, 2012
About a decade after his son was paralyzed in an automobile accident, Tim Swenson put a few ideas to work and built an all-terrain wheelchair. Although he was retired, Swenson garnered quite a bit of interest with his invention, so he founded Action Manufacturing and builds two wheelchair models to help people like his son enjoy the outdoors.
December 3, 2012
Interviews with several tool and accessory manufacturers provide a broad perspective on capabilities for finishing in hard-to-reach areas.
December 3, 2012
After getting a start in the handrail business in 1990, Sharpe Fabrication Inc. relaunched itself in 1994 as Sharpe Products and started to offer general fabrication services. Two of the company’s investments, a free-form bender and a fiber-optic laser machine, reflect the company’s interest in staying abreast of technology developments.
November 28, 2012
If you tend to avoid crowds, lines, and hassles, you probably spent Nov. 23, Black Friday, doing something other than shopping. And for good reason—the tales of pushing, shoving, and fighting seem to get worse every year. On the other hand, if you wonder what consumers are up to, you probably...
October 29, 2012
Much of the East Coast has been bracing itself for Hurricane Sandy while the rest of us wait and wonder. After developing on Oct. 22, it hit Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas, and eventually became the largest recorded hurricane to roil the Atlantic, with a diameter approximately 1,000 miles....
October 11, 2012
In its weekly press release on Oct. 11, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 339,000 in the week that ended Oct. 6. This represents a one-week drop of 30,000 and the lowest number of initial claims since Feb. 2008. Of course this is good news,...