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Wondering If Advanced Pulsed-MIG Is Right For You?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

For Ultra Machine and Fabrication (Shelby, N.C.), investing in advanced Pulsed MIG technology was a critical step in positioning the company to win a major contract to provide over 74,000 components for M-ATVs to an Israeli defense firm.

The vehicles are similar to the MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) vehicles used by the U.S. military, and require the utmost quality from their welds in order to be effective at protecting their occupants from road-side attacks and improvised explosive devices.

The contract called for Ultra to be able to weld MIL-A 46100 ballistic steel in all positions with a 307 stainless steel filler metal, and using the Accu-Pulse™ Pulsed MIG technology in Miller’s Axcess® “multi-MIG” systems, the company was able to produce those components with only 23 defects — a rate of .03 percent.

Click here to read the full story about the challenges Ultra Machine and Fabrication faced in meeting the welding demands for the M-ATV contract and how the Axcess’ Accu-Pulse technology helped the company successfully complete the project and positioned it to win more in the future.

Miller’s Sustainability Efforts Spotlighted in Study

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Miller was recently named as one of a handful of manufacturing companies in Northeast Wisconsin to score highly in a recent survey on sustainable business practices through UW Oshkosh. As part of the recognition, an Emmy-award winning videographer interviewed several Miller employees about the company’s sustainability initiatives for a video produced by the technical colleges of Wisconsin’s NEW North consortium, including Fox Valley, Northeast Wisconsin, Moraine Park, and Lakeshore. The video will be used for training on college campuses and a variety of continuing education courses. Among the topics covered were Miller’s employee involvement program, the company’s waste reduction efforts, our 750,000 sq. ft. air conditioning system and  our employee-initiated recycling program.

If you’re interested in the success of manufacturing in this country, you might want to check out, the web site for a documentary that the videographer is currently working on. He has interviews with a wide variety of manufacturing experts about the future of manufacturing along with many programs designed to generate interest in manufacturing among high school and college students.

Responding To A Growing Economy

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Signs of an economic recovery in the manufacturing sector are slowly emerging, pointing the way toward what many consider the ultimate sign of recovery — job creation.

The most recent indicator signaling improvement within the manufacturing sector was a higher than anticipated rise in the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Manager’s Index — its highest reading since April 2006. The Index tracks a variety of indicators, including new orders, inventories and production, to arrive at a number that represents the rate of growth or contraction in the market.

With the impact of the recession still fresh in their minds, many companies are choosing to respond to this new growth using their existing staff rather than adding new employees. One option for addressing this challenge is through the acquisition of new, productivity-enhancing equipment.

New equipment can help a company meet its orders with its existing staff, which in turn can increase profitability and eventually help lead the way toward expanding their business.

As we all know, however, financing new purchases has gotten a lot tougher over the past 18 months. In response to the difficulties that many companies face in obtaining credit, some equipment manufacturers, including Miller, are offering financing programs at very favorable interest rates.

How do you plan to respond to an improving economy and increases in orders? Will you look to purchase new equipment before adding to your payroll? Do you expect difficulties finding financing for your purchases? Share your thoughts on this subject by posting a comment below.

More information about Miller’s 0% financing program can be found here.

The Year Ahead

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Well, we’re just about through one of the most challenging and uncertain years for business in recent memory — and good riddance!  Here’s to a prosperous 2010.

Although we’ll all be glad to put 2009 behind us, the unfortunate reality is that changing our economic fortunes is not as simple as changing our calendars. Despite some signs that the economy is recovering, many individuals, businesses and industries continue to struggle through the ongoing effects of the recession.

Nevertheless, the new year does provide an opportunity to take a small step back and assess the lessons learned in 2009 and think about how to apply that hard earned knowledge upcoming challenges in 2010.

A common business practice when deciding on a course of action is to perform a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you expect to face in 2010? Do you plan to make any changes to your business in the coming year in response to the ongoing economic slump? Do you expect to see a strong pick-up in business next year, or more of the same?

Tell us what your crystal ball is telling you by posting a comment below

Your Impressions of FABTECH International/AWS Welding Show

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Once again, another FABTECH International/AWS Welding Show has come and gone. If you were there, or if you checked out our social media reports live from the show floor, you saw many brand new products and even more existing products refined to better serve the industries for which they were developed.

The theme of the show this year was “Converge to Emerge,” as in emerging from the recession in a better position to profit and gain market share as the economy recovers. To that end, both the exhibitors and attendees at the show demonstrated an optimism that the light at the end of the economic tunnel is growing brighter and brighter.

If you attended the show, were you impressed by the products and technologies on display? Do you plan on making any purchases based on the equipment you found at the show? Did you leave the show with a renewed hope for the future of the welding and fabrication industry?

Share your thoughts on this year’s FABTECH International/AWS Welding Show by posting a comment below.

Fabtech & AWS Provides Solution Showcase Theater

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Fabtech & AWS 2009 opens its Solution Showcase Theater on Monday, showcasing ways to operate a more efficient and competitive business. Monday’s schedule includes:

10 AM-11 AM: Don’t Lose Your Sales Focus in a Down Economy; Joe Mayer, managing partner, Mayer Business Group LLC.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM: Smart Strategies for Preserving Stakeholder Relationships; Dick Kallage, Bill Barron and Patric Donahue of KDC Associates

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: How to Protect Your Company from Customer Bankruptcy; Steven Gan, president, Stellar Rick Management.

All of these topics are relevant to the market as it exists today. What is your company doing to stay successful in a down economy?

A Sign of the Times: FABTECH International/AWS Welding Show

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The largest American welding, manufacturing and fabrication trade show of the year, the FABTECH International/AWS Welding Show, is less than a month away. Many insiders will be watching this year’s show in Chicago closely to gauge the economic condition of industry and where it is headed in the near future.

Strong attendance at the show will be taken as a sign that employers are at least thinking about investing in new equipment and are anticipating an economic recovery by looking into equipment that can give them a competitive advantage when the turnaround happens. (more…)

Never Too Old to Learn a Trade

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Summer’s over and school is back in session, but this fall, it’s not just for the kids. From South Carolina to Massachusetts to California, states across the country are experiencing huge surges in vocational and technical school enrollment among students in their 40’s and 50’s.

This should come as no surprise, given the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, but there are other less obvious reasons that probably share some of the credit for attracting more non-traditional sutdents into the trades. (more…)

The Future of the Industry

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

If recent reports in the news and trade press are any indication, the U.S. welding industry may be in for some significant changes in the coming years.

While two of the major industrial sectors — manufacturing (including fabrication) and construction — are in the midst of year over year job cuts with no significant end in sight, other sectors appear poised to take up the slack with new job growth. (more…)

Where Is Your Business Focused?

Monday, September 14th, 2009

In times of economic uncertainty and limited resources (which is pretty much always), deciding where to focus your company’s resources and efforts in order to improve your welding performance and profitability can be an agonizing decision.

Some companies, believing they already have enough employees to meet their orders, focus on maximizing the efficiency of those employees by purchasing equipment that reduces set-up and training time or by implementing programs that improve operator skills and weld consistency. (more…)