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,...
October 9, 2012
Dore Capitani cut right to the chase: "My wife says the art is just a front." Maybe so. The former industrial mechanic, who worked his way up to master mechanic, spent the early part of his career working for a packaging manufacturer, and later for a glass container manufacturer, and learned how...
October 8, 2012
Founded in 2003, American Hydoformers Inc. arrived on the scene a little too late to catch the first big wave of interest in hydroforming. A few automobile manufacturers had been oversold on the technology and were cautious to continue to convert parts to hydroforming, but AHI didn’t stumble and fall. Wise investments in equipment gave the company a unique and thriving position in the industry.
September 7, 2012
SF Tube Inc., a fabricator that does a substantial amount of bending, found itself facing a perfect storm—it had quite a bit of manual equipment, it often had to use two or three benders to make a single component, its bend-splice-weld-grind-polish-blend process for many components was too time-consuming, its shop floor was crowded with machines, and its niche as a specialty bending house meant it was positioned for future growth. A new bender, one that provides both rotary bending and roll bending, eliminated these hassles and has positioned the company to take advantage of growth opportunities.