July 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston
What’s the current state of the American dream? So many seem to work hard and do everything right--but just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
July 10, 2012 | By Tim Heston
I was never a math wiz, but I was blessed with good teachers. In high school, I remember sitting in Algebra II class and hearing one of my fellow students give a loud sigh before he raised his hand: “When will we ever use this?” My teacher shot back. “See the pencil you’re holding? The...
July 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Manufacturing didn’t fare so well last month, falling just slightly into contraction territory, as measured by the Institute for Supply Management. The data support what a few shop owners have been telling me. “Business is softening.” That was Bruce Hupfer, director of technical sales at...
June 28, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Joy Global does some seriously heavy fabrication, welding atop mining shovel components several stories tall. Weld fume control was becoming a problem, so the company installed an innovative, nonlocal fume collection system to help clear the air.
June 26, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Welders and other workers at The Roberts Co. in Winterville, N.C.--part of this year’s FAB 40 list of successful contract fabricators--are used to signing secrecy agreements from customers. Dave Staskelunas, the company’s vice president of fabrication services, said that more and more customers...
June 15, 2012 | By Tim Heston
The median age of the Vita Needle emloyee is 73. The company practices what one anthropologist calls eldersourcing. Considering the knowledge they've gained over the years, the elderly may become one of metal fabrication's greatest assets.
June 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Jones Metal Products has deep roots in Mankato, Minn. It began as an industrial fabricator, which took rough concepts and saw them through design, fabrication, and installation. Today, the company in one sense is following that tradition.
The FABRICATOR's FAB 40 suggests that the manufacturing revival in the U.S. is alive and well.
June 13, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Minnesota fabricator rebrands itself, standardizes operations, and remains nimble, even after years of aggressive growth. Managers expect the firm to grow another 18 percent this year. That’s not small potatoes for one of the country’s largest contract metal fabricators.
June 12, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Natural disasters turn people’s thoughts toward risk. Last year, between floods and tornados and other Weather Channel fodder, I visited several fabricators told me about their customers’ concerns about mitigating supply chain risk. For years, large OEMs have pruned their supply chains to the...
June 8, 2012 | By Tim Heston
The Roberts Co. isn’t a heavy industrial metal fabricator. It’s not a erector, general contractor, maintenance services provider, or engineering firm. It’s all of the above.
June 7, 2012 | By Tim Heston
For years he spent time on the floor working the fabrication equipment of the day, punching sheet metal using a traditional duplicator stylus. He climbed the ladder to night shift supervisor, and then moved on to other manufacturers, working in sales and shop management; some jobs were great,...
May 29, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Many are rethinking the American Dream these days, especially over Memorial Day. The dream, however idealistic, is worth fighting for. But what is that dream, exactly? National Public Radio’s Ari Shapiro put it this way: “Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests...
May 15, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Steve Wiseman is honest. “We’ve forecast about a 15 percent growth this year, but mind you that 2011 was terrible for us.” The vice president of operations at Nu-Way Industries--part of our Fab 40 list of top U.S. fabricators, to be featured next month--knew that when the AT&T and...
May 8, 2012 | By Tim Heston
Earlier this week I spoke with Frederick Hartman at Needham, Mass.-based Vita Needle, a company unique in several respects. The metal fabricator allowed Caitrin Lynch, associate professor of anthropology at the Olin College of Engineering, also in Needham, to spend five years at the stainless steel...