Monday, December 15, 2014

Ford Ships Aluminum Pickups After Extra Checks

One of the big stories out of Detroit this year has been Ford’s switch from steel to aluminum in all of it’s F150 pick-ups.

Since the F150 is Ford’s top model (and the best selling vehicle in the country), industry insiders are watching closely for consumer reaction and acceptance.

To make sure every detail is covered as the first models roll of the line, Ford engineers are double and triple-checking it for quality standards.

Here’s a terrific article from The Detroit News on the steps Ford is taking to make sure their risk pays off.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class

Since the 1970’s, 90% of shop classes have been eliminated in the Los Angeles Unified School District. That stat comes from Forbes magazine in 2012. Similar declines have been seen nationwide.

That explains, in part, the lack of talent in many trades today. But $150,000 welders? They do exist, some making even more, due to their high demand in key industries, according Ohio Treasurer, Josh Mandel. He’s got front row view of the situation, overseeing finances for a manufacturing-heavy state.

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, Mandel details the opportunities in the trades, and steps being taken in his state to help restore the flow of students into lucrative manufacturing careers.

You can read the complete article here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

INNOVATION is More Than a Buzzword

When we hear the word “innovation,” we usually think of great ideas, Steve Jobs or big dollar investments if new technologies.

But wait. In a new Manufacturing Innovation* article, Mike Simpson redefines ‘innovation,’ and how it can be applied at small and medium sized manufacturers every day for better productivity and profit.

“Innovation is about playing offense,” he explains. "Sure, we can’t always beat our foreign competitors on price. But we can beat them in quality, creativity and customer service through innovation. The best part – innovation is easier than you think!”

It’s a great piece, and a quick read. Check it out for yourself here.

Manufacturing Innovation is a publication of The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Metal Fab Forecast

According to The, their readers “...expect continued, though not skyrocketing, growth for next year.”

While that sounds like a hedged bet, the overall picture is actually good. Companies are feeling stronger now, owing to the impact (and reactions) to the early-2000’s recession. One fabricator nails it this way: “it changed our philosophy on how we do business and how we buy equipment. We’re much stronger now coming out of the recession.”

That kind of bootstrap thinking has 2015 is shaping up to be another growth year, and the article, subtitled “Steady as She Grows,” is filled with examples and case studies.

Check it out here.