May 10, 2012
It wasn’t that long ago that Alessandro Volta built the first battery. In 1800 he made a stack of metal plates, alternating zinc and copper, with each pair separated by layers of cloth soaked in brine. Today’s batteries are more sophisticated but use the same principle to create electromotive...
May 9, 2012
Manuel Sarmiento went to a vocational school to learn to be a fender-and-body technician and to learn to paint cars. Fooling around with a plasma cutter one day, he cut out the shape of a hand and took it home to his wife. She loved it and encouraged him to experiment more. Years later he was successful enough as an artist that he quit his full-time job, and today his artwork supports him and his family.
May 9, 2012
Thefts. Car-jackings. Kidnappings. Assassinations. If you’re a high-profile political figure or wealthy executive doing business in a foreign country, especially one in which the division between rich and poor is vast, you’re vulnerable. In addition to having a security system at your home and a personal security detail that travels with you wherever you go, you need a vehicle that can protect you against an attack. Texas Armoring Corp., a fabricator in San Antonio, has been providing armored cars to foreign heads of state and corporate executives since it was founded in 1997.
April 25, 2012
It could be a dream come true or the latest scene in a long nightmare. Dow AgroSciences has developed a genetically engineered corn, named Enlist, to withstand herbicides containing 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). The chemical was developed with the intention of helping to increase crop...
April 19, 2012
We’re still slogging through the jobless recovery, and while slowly falling unemployment took many by surprise in 2010 and 2011, I guess most of us have resigned ourselves to looking for reasons. There isn’t much else we can do. Before we look for reasons, let’s look at the trend. If we go...
April 16, 2012
When Tioga Pipe Supply Co. Inc. built a new facility in Easton, Penn., it leveraged its 60 years in business to design its new building. It planned the new facility, 150,000 sq. ft. under roof and 10 acres of outdoor storage area, around the use of side-loading lift trucks. The only drawback was occasional damage to the fork trucks' guide rollers, which Combilift eliminated when it designed a set of adjustable guide rollers specifically for Tioga.
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...