Day 3 of FABTECH® 2013, and my mind is filled with all things fabricating. At a booth visit earlier today, an exhibitor asked what my colleagues and I are seeing that’s new and unique. Where to begin. (more...)
Posts Tagged ‘FABTECH International’
By: Dan Davis
Are you worried about the new year? I'm not.
That wasn't the case back in 2008.
I remember a conversation I overheard at the 2008 FABTECH International &AWS Welding Show in Las Vegas that year. I was probably in search of a Diet Coke, so I was standing in line with a bunch of people waiting for their special coffee creations. CNN was on, and the talking heads were discussing the deteriorating economy.
"The media is trying everything it can to run this economy into the ground," a voice in line said to no one in particular.
I nodded my head because I was trying to be nice. I actually was in agreement with the talking heads. I was amazed how the metal fabricating industry had held on for so long in the face of the real estate collapse. Sure enough, that moment came at the very end of 2008 or the very beginning of 2009 for most metal fabricators. (more...)
By: Dan Davis
An interesting thing occurred during my recent trip to attend FABTECH® Mexico, May 11-13, in Monterrey, Mexico. I ate fried crickets, but that wasn't it. I witnessed a spark of fabricating equipment innovation that originated within the country's own borders and from the minds of its talented engineers. Mexico is growing up as a manufacturing market. (more...)
By: Dan Davis
Talking with successful metal fabricators, I'm beginning to feel that they are the only companies left that remain committed to customer service. Lean manufacturing improvements are all about getting fabricated products to the customer sooner. Investments in engineering personnel and tools are made to offer more design expertise to those customers looking to trim costs from a part. Investments in capital equipment help to produce fabricated parts more accurately and efficiently, which in turn helps improve on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction.
Obviously, I know that some people will forfeit good customer service for a low-cost supplier. Think about the OEMs that rely on foreign-sourced stamped parts and have to deal with suspect quality and late deliveries. It's amazing what's been sacrificed in the name of saving a dollar. (more...)
By: Tim Heston
A year ago Troy Berg wasn't in a good place.
"I knew in January that 2009 was gone. Never in the history of my business have I had to kiss off a year in January & Now that we're through 2009, the hard cuts have been made, we've made a little bit of money, and those of us who are still standing are looking at 2010 to be a better year."
A few days ago Berg told this to a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. Berg is president of Dane Manufacturing, a precision sheet metal shop in Dane, Wis., north of Madison. His comment pretty much sums up where metal fabricators stand today: battered and bruised, cautiously optimistic (an overused phrase these days), and ready to take on a better year. Some are expecting strong growth this year, some foresee it taking several years before sales volume gets back to 2007 and 2008 levels, but most agree we've started the recovery.
By: Vicki Bell
Economically speaking, it's been a grim year. Few industries have escaped the repercussions of the downturn, and ours—metal manufacturing—is among the hardest hit. It was under a heavy cloud of concern that a stressed, worried industry came together at the 2009 FABTECH® International & AWS Welding Show, including METALFORM earlier this week. Exhibitors wondered if attendees would come.
Would companies that are making drastic cutbacks spring for the cost of sending people to the show? Would those who came buy?
They came, they saw, and they bought. (TRUMPF sold four machines the first day.) FABTECH 2009 exceeded exhibitors'—and editors'—expectations.
By: Tim Heston
At the restaurant, I knew something was up.
The family ate out at a middle-class dining establishment next to a big shopping mall on Thanksgiving weekend the day after Black Friday. Only, the place was only half full. More than that, service was horrible. Two waitresses scurried around helping everyone; the kitchen seemed backed up. Yes, it looked like the place had downsized.
This was something, I thought. Deciding not to get a plasma TV is one thing, but not eating out? That"s something else entirely. For my family, going out for a reasonably priced (OK, cheap) dinner is one of the last nonessential things we plan to cut from our budget, should the need arise. Friends, family, and prepared (even cheap) food served to everyone: You just can"t get better than that.
But when times are tough, food at home, transportation, and shelter win out. Sitting at the restaurant table, I began to wonder just how bad things have gotten. How many of us lived beyond our means? How many lived with high credit card balances? If it"s enough to keep people home most of the time, we"re in for a rough ride.
The news Monday didn"t cheer me up either, when the Institute for Supply Management™ told us that U.S. manufacturing has hit its lowest point in 26 years, and that the sector continued to shed jobs for the fourth straight month. Today the government finally got around to telling us that we"ve been in a recession since December 2007, and stocks plunged with the news. (Economists are really good at predicting past events.)