April 11, 2012
In a recent blog post, my colleague Tim Heston described the need for the U.S. to develop an advanced manufacturing base with turn-on-a-dime flexibility. He called it a moral imperative, and I couldn’t agree more. The U.S. hasn’t lost its position as the world’s largest manufacturer, but...
April 11, 2012
Full Vision Inc., a manufacturer of components and equipment for the off-road industry, encountered a hurdle in manufacturing roll-over protection systems (ROPS) and falling-object protection structures (FOPS) for its customers. To make a ROPS or FOPS, it needed three machines or two setups on three machines. This led to too much part handling and more scrapping of parts than necessary. A combination rotary draw and push bender from Horn Machine Tool allows Full Vision to make a complete part with one setup on one machine, eliminating part handling and reducing scrap.
March 5, 2012
Don McNeeley, president and CEO of ChicagoTube & Iron, describes the big turning points in a company's inflection. For many companies, a point of inflection is the plateau between the company's youthful growth phase and the decline into old age, the point at which profibility slows. The winner of TPJ's 2012 Industry Award, Chicago Tube & Iron has a history of disrupting the growth-plateau-decline pattern.
February 1, 2012
Interviews with several TUBE expo exhibitors reveal that two booming industries throughout the world are energy extraction and automobile production. Although some industries are expected to lag in 2012, notably the U.S. housing construction sector, on balance the year is expected to be stable for the tube and pipe production and fabrication industries.
December 21, 2011
The main topic at the 2011 EDTR Roundtable conference in Wilmington, NC, was safety. Many of the issues involve high forces, metals in motion, and red-hot parts—in other words, topics relevant to any and all tube and pipe producers and fabricators. Editor Eric Lundin summarizes the main hazards and recommended practices for mitigating them.
December 12, 2011
It has been nearly two years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. For most of us, the story slipped off our radar a few weeks after the rig exploded (April 20, 2010); the story made headlines again when the well was capped temporarily nearly three months later...
November 7, 2011
The worst of the financial crisis of the 2008-2009 time frame is history, and as the recovery progresses, I think it’s fair to say that we’re all wondering when everything will get back to the way it was … when will we have a low unemployment rate, a thriving manufacturing sector, a healthy...
September 28, 2011
Two stories of management-labor relations came to my attention in the past few days, and the two stories couldn’t be more different from each other. They’re so opposite that Charles Dickens’ well-known introduction to A Tale of Two Cities accurately describes them. “It was the best of...
September 13, 2011
Invest, invest, invest. The modern world has no shortage of ways to invest money if you have a little extra cash sitting around: real estate, commodities, stocks, corporate bonds, government bonds, and so on. Some specialized firms even invest in money, writing forward contracts to buy or sell...
September 9, 2011
Mobile phone systems are mainly electronic, but a fabricated tube plays a critical role—known as a waveguide, this rectangular tube connects the transmitter to the antenna. Precise bending and forming are critical to manufacturing a waveguide that provides a strong, clear signal.
August 31, 2011
I saw a bold headline a few days ago: “Why McDonald’s wins in any economy.” As far as I am concerned, this is more of an advertisement for an article than a headline, and I am wary of flashy advertising, but it lured me in anyway. I figured a small investment, a few minutes of my time, might...
July 27, 2011
The story is a heartbreaker. Two teenagers, 14-year-old girls on the threshold of attending high school, were detasseling corn on a farm in northwestern Illinois when they were electrocuted after coming into contact with an irrigator. Detasseling is practically a rite of passage where corn is...
July 20, 2011
It wasn't that long ago that Joe Fabiani decided to make a custom exhaust system for his Porsche. A member of the Porsche Club of America (PCA) and racing enthusiast, he soon found himself making exhaust systems for fellow PCA members. That led to founding a company, FabSpeed Motorsports Inc., which initially relied on outsourcing for nearly all of the fabricating. Fabiani recently opened a new division, FabSpeed Precision Services, and invested nearly $1 million in equipment in the new division to eliminate outsourcing.
July 19, 2011
It seems like everyone is wondering when, or if, the U.S. economy is going to shake off the doldrums. Believe it or not, a headline from the Los Angeles Times, “What recession? It’s boom time again in Silicon Valley,” made it clear that a recovery is well under way in northern California....