April 26, 2011
Careercast.com, a job search Web site, recently posted the results of a couple of surveys regarding stressful jobs. Two thoughts occurred to me immediately: The 91.2 percent of people who have jobs right now are just happy to have a steady paycheck, and the 8.8 percent who don’t are experiencing... Continue Reading
April 26, 2011
When James Castoro founded Custom Aluminum Products in 1960, the company’s premise was simple and concise: It produced aluminum products, mainly storm windows and storm doors. It was a good time to be in the business—the baby boom was in full swing, and the U.S. population was...
April 25, 2011
Selecting the right tungsten electrode, and preparing it to match the welding process, aren't just good ideas to maximize welder productivity. They are necessary to prevent weld defects and all the time necessary for troubleshooting and rework.
March 31, 2011
A headline at CNN’s money page caught my eye recently: “Why house prices will keep falling.” The article cited the Case-Shiller U.S. House Price Index, which showed a 3.1 percent decline from January 2010 to January 2011. The gist of the index, developed by Karl Case and Robert Shiller, is... Continue Reading
March 10, 2011
Lasers have been in use for industrial purposes for decades, and their capabilities continue to develop. Many machines these days can cut sheet and tubular sections, and fabricators are finding that the laser’s programmability really broadens their capabilities.
March 9, 2011
Judging by the political developments in Libya and the current price of petroleum, you’d think that Libya was some sort of heavyweight exporter. Last fall West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was trading at less than $85 per barrel on the spot market. Protests in Libya started in February, and... Continue Reading
February 25, 2011
Shortly after the company was founded as a welding and repair shop in 1949, Wells-Osborn Spiral Stairs found a niche in building spiral staircases. Founder Bill Osborn bought some equipment and made some of his own. Some of Osborn’s original ideas and equipment are still in use at the company 60 years later.
February 14, 2011
In my previous blog entry, I made some comparisons between several gasoline-powered and alternative-fuel vehicles: Two passenger cars (a Toyota Prius® and a Toyota Camry®), two exotic sports cars (a Tesla Roadster Sport and a Lotus Evora), and two motorcycles (a model S from Zero Motorcycles and... Continue Reading
January 31, 2011
Everyone knows that liquids, mainly gasoline and diesel, have been the main fuels for vehicles for decades. Although steam and electricity competed with gasoline at the turn of the last century, gasoline won that battle and ruled the automotive industry ever since. However, the oil shocks of the... Continue Reading
January 21, 2011
J & D Tube Benders Inc., founded as a partnership to produce a single part number in 1971, today generates $16 million in annual revenues and is on the cusp of the third generation of family ownership. The key to its longevity is learning valuable lessons throughout the past four decades, finding opportunities during expansions and downturns.
January 13, 2011
If you work in manufacturing, you’ve probably heard that some government agencies, notably OSHA and the EPA, have been mandated to become self-funding. I heard this in a discussion at a recent conference, and it seems reasonable. The government debt is $14 trillion, so why wouldn’t the... Continue Reading
December 8, 2010
Last week I took a trip to Genoa City, Wis., and felt like I had spent a couple hours in 1955 or so. I paid a visit to Ralph Wells, owner of Wells-Osborn Spiral Stairs, a company that specializes in spiral staircases. Founded in 1949 as a welding and repair shop, it expanded its repertoire to... Continue Reading
December 2, 2010
Snowshoes have been used for thousands of years, but only recently have modern manufactured materials come into the picture. These days lengths of bent and welded tube, usually aluminum, make up the frame. Although the market is crowded, Jake Thamm and Tamara Laug thought they could build a better snowshoe and founded a new company in 1997.
November 18, 2010
If you didn’t attend FABTECH® 2010 (held in Atlanta Nov. 2-4), you missed quite an expo. As my colleague Vicki Bell described it in a recent blog, “So little time and so much to see.” That’s an understatement. It had more than 1,000 exhibits; if you had spent five minutes at each booth,... Continue Reading