Kathleen McLaughlin

Contributing Writer



Whirlpool stove

Appliance demand flat

March 13, 2007

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2007 U.S. appliance shipments are forecast to grow only 1 percent because of a sluggish housing market. Shifts in channel preferences; successful market penetration by offshore brands; a strong demand for high-priced, innovative white goods; and the Maytag/Whirlpool merger are changing the industry's landscape.

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Detroit Car Bodies

Detroit's reality check

February 13, 2007

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As the Big Three try to return to profitability, most of their suppliers, many with a negative cash flow, are starting to crack under the pressure. Declining OEM unit volume and mix issues, pricing pressures, and high sustained raw material costs continue to constrain cash flows and limit balance sheet improvements that, in some cases suffered significant deterioration in 2006.

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Stainless steel stampings

Viking's range of choices

December 12, 2006

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The stainless steel stampings Viking Range produces often require complex draws and piercing, as well as sharp corners and creases—with flawless exterior finishes. Viking has moved from outsourcing its stampings to using press brakes to investing in hydraulic presses of increasing capacity and sophistication—all in an effort to gain greater control over the design, quality, and availability of stamped parts.

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The big squeeze

February 7, 2006

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Three companies dominating the market is a distant memory as Japanese and European automakers' market shares steadily increase. The Big Three has evolved into the New 6 that includes Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. Suppliers tied to the Big Three will have to make a negative adjustment to remain profitable.

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Bulletproof processes

December 13, 2005

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While some stampers are filing for bankruptcy, Alpha's lean manufacturing initiatives have propelled the Detroit-based stamper to a $50 million-dollar company and growing

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Winning with Lean

September 14, 2004

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Larry Martin hates the term lean manufacturing."When someone mentions lean manufacturing, it usually conjures up visions of layoffs and a stark, militarylike plant," said Larry Martin, vice president of Utah-based Martin Door Manufacturing Inc.He blames lean manufacturing's bad reputation on...

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Dangerous curves

June 8, 2004

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Provocative lines and innovative materials are the hallmarks of luxury car manufacturer Jaguar Cars Ltd.Jaguar has reaped the benefits of aluminum since 1922, when the company, then known as the Swallow Sidecar Co., designed sidecars out of lightweight aluminum panels. Since then the company has...

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Found art

June 12, 2003

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Watching the sparks fly as his dad welded a temperamental posthole digger mesmerized Derek Arnold. "I found the immediacy of something so permanent absolutely fascinating," he said. "I knew I wanted to weld."A hands-on welding education on the family farm drove Arnold to take his skills and creativity to the next level. In 1993 he graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. "I've been welding regularly since my freshman sculpture class," he said.

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Komatsu Mechanical Press

Evolution of the beast

June 27, 2002

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This article outlines how mechanical presses are changing to meet a new marketplace. Stampers are adding extra stations to create a more complete part and stamping harder alloys. Servo-driven mechanical presses will make traditional flywheel presses obsolete because they use less energy and can be adjusted midstroke. Technological advances include real-time press monitoring, automatic die changes, and computerized troubleshooting.

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