This Week in Welding
Aug. 21, 2012

Manufacturing strategy plays key role in GM's revival
Scott Whybrew isn't in the "wow business." That's the domain of product designers, who are tasked with drawing up sleek lines and eye-catching curves that generate the "wow" factor when a consumer first sets sight on a vehicle. But that doesn't diminish the role of manufacturing in the resurgence of General Motors Co., Whybrew told OEMs and suppliers at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. "In many ways, the manufacturing strategy is helping us redefine and reinvent how we do business in General Motors," said Whybrew, GM's executive director of global manufacturing engineering.More

Riveting debate: 'Skills' vs. 'pay' gap
StarTribune via Chicago Tribune
To judge from the job listings, welders are in high demand. Manufacturers across the upper Midwest will tell anyone who listens that they have jobs to offer — more than 2,000 welding positions in Minnesota alone — but not enough solid applicants. They point to a "skills gap" between the jobs available and the people looking for work. Textbook economics says this should be good news for anyone who can strap on a helmet and make the sparks fly. If good welders truly are hard to find, employers should pay more to get them. Yet that isn't happening, leading some economists to question whether the skills gap is the issue.More

School in Kennesaw, Ga., to train welders
The Marietta Daily Journal
A new school devoted to welding is opening in Kennesaw, Ga. "There are plenty of welding jobs available out there, but the average welder is 54 and there aren't enough young people out there interested in the trade," said Ryan Blythe, executive director of Georgia Trade School. Welders earn an average of $22 per hour in Georgia, Blythe said. The school will begin offering the 15-week class to students later this month, after it receives its post-secondary license from the state. Classes will be held Monday through Friday, 35 hours per week. Open welding labs will be held at night.More

Career and tech facility offers new avenue for high-schoolers in Mitchell, SD
The Daily Republic
When the new Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy opens its doors, it will signal a sea change attitude toward technical education. The programs that will be offered to high students through MCTEA — commonly pronounced "McTea" — will be nothing like your dad's shop classes. "The academy will provide opportunities and direction for students who may or may not be considering a four-year college degree," said Denise Hoffman, the academy's new, and first, director. The job marks Hoffman's return to education. She previously taught 10 years at Second Chance High School, Mitchell, S.D's alternative high school. More

Some big ideas for Australian manufacturing, but will they happen?
Manufacturers Monthly
The recently released Report of the Non-Government Members of the Prime Minister's Manufacturing Task Force provides a comprehensive and well-considered blueprint for the future of Australia's manufacturing sector. However, the sheer breadth of its scope may pose some significant challenges in seeing its recommendations fully implemented.More

$70 million Youngstown, Ohio, hub to spur manufacturing across US
The Vindicator
A $70 million vision to revolutionize America's ability to compete globally and restore some of the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in the last decade will set up shop in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, starting next month. It's ambitious: Sixty-plus partners teaming up, with a projection of 7,200 regional jobs created over the coming years, officials project.More

Manufacturing drives private-sector July job growth in Illinois
The Rock River Times
Illinois added 800 private-sector jobs in July and the unemployment rate inched upward 0.2 to 8.9 percent, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. A sharp decline in the government's sector of local school jobs brings the net tally to 7,100 fewer positions in July than June. "Illinois' private sector continues its deliberate job growth while government payrolls continue to shrink," said IDES Director Jay Rowell.More

Quality Fencing and Welding being built by father-daughter duo
San Antonio Business Journal
As a paper boy with not just one, but two routes, Craig Noto dreamed big, made quick decisions, and had a penchant for solving problems. "I used to finish my work at school then get up and see if I could help other kids," says Noto. By the time he was 19, he ran a fence installation business out of his home in San Antonio: "Until the city got mad at us because our trucks blocked the alley behind the house where garbage trucks needed to go." He moved, outgrew his space and moved again. More than 30 years later, Noto is president, and his daughter, Crystal, is heading the marketing component at the business her father built. More

WVU-P receives $50,000 grant from Dominion Foundation
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
West Virginia University-Parkersburg received a $50,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation. The grant from the benevolent arm of the energy company will enable the college to install a Lincoln VRTEX 350 virtual welding simulator to teach students advanced welding processes in a safe environment. The computer-based training system provides students experience with a variety of joint configurations and materials. The simulator also reduces the materials, energy consumption and costs of the program.More

Mini-manufacturers try factory life
The Wall Street Journal
A homemade appeal has helped fuel the growth of New York City's manufacturers of small-batch soda, pickles and chocolate. But these maturing craft businesses now have discovered a less-than-artisanal need: factory space. People's Pops, makers of cantaloupe and tarragon frozen treats, spent four summers hopping from space to space as their product caught on, including borrowing the kitchen of a shuttered restaurant and renting facilities at a community college. More

BTC ramping up classes for welding students
Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville, Wis., is responding to demand from students and industry by increasing by 50 percent the number of welders it trains this year. Blackhawk turns out about 40 welders a year, with two cohorts of 20 students each, said Kirke "Bo" Plank, dean of advanced manufacturing. One cohort is trained on the morning shift, one on an evening shift. Classes are full, and there's a waiting list, Plank said. Just a few weeks before the fall semester began, BTC decided to open a third section of welding.More

Hitachi Metals North Carolina acquires Solar Manufacturing vacuum furnaces
Solar Manufacturing, a designer and manufacturer of various types of vacuum heat treating and brazing furnaces, has announced that it has sold vacuum furnaces to Hitachi Metals North Carolina in China Grove, N.C. Solar Manufacturing has supplied vacuum furnaces that are designed for processing rare earth magnet materials and other similar special applications. The company has provided the HFL-4252-6IQ model vacuum furnace to Hitachi Metals. These furnaces contain a specific type of gas flow control and backfill arrangement. Gas reservoir tanks further support this system. More

RTEC's virtual welding games to showcase new equipment
Yankton Press & Dakotan
The Regional Technical Education Center, known as RTEC, virtually is taking education to a new level. With a new Lincoln Electric VRTEX 360 Virtual Reality welding simulator, RTEC will be giving those who choose to participate in 2012 Virtual Welding Games a chance to experience welding in a setting where there will be no sparks, no hot metal and no fumes. Instead, competitors will don welding gloves and a helmet that will immerse them in a virtual reality welding world through 3-D stereo eye pieces and sound.More

Memphis, Tenn., has manufacturing momentum
Memphis Business Journal
While national unemployment continues to hover around 8 percent, little bits of positive signs continue to poke through. According to a story by The Associated Press, industrial production increased 0.6 percent in July. The report, which was released by the Federal Reserve, states factory output, including production of cars, computers and airplanes, increased by 0.5 percent in July. Factory output has risen 21.9 percent since its recession low in June 2009 and is just 1.7 percent below the prerecession peak for factory output reached in April 2007. In Memphis, Tenn., manufacturing jobs continue to increase. High-profile projects like Electrolux Home Products and Mitsubishi Electric Power Products are expected to create more than 3,500 direct and indirect jobs when those facilities get up and running.More

Graphic books best sellers: Talking about 'The Underwater Welder'
The New York Times
"The Underwater Welder," by Jeff Lemire, enters The New York Times' graphic books paperback best-seller list at No. 6. It's about Jack Joseph, a man feeling pressure because of his deep sea welding gig and the fact that he's going to become a father. The introduction to the book, by Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of "Lost," compares it to "The Twilight Zone." The book starts out innocently enough, seemingly a story about Jack, his pregnant wife, their life struggles and Jack's relationship with his own father. Things get a bit eerie after Jack emerges from one of his dives to a changed world. Lemire's characters, even when they're happy, have a melancholy look to them. They create an almost instant rapport with the reader.More

South Dakota county applying for welding, blueprint reading state grant
Aberdeen American News
Brown County commissioners have agreed to apply for a grant that would fund a welding and blueprint reading program to benefit the area. The county is applying for the $164,500 grant from the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development on behalf of the Northeast Work and Technical Education Center, commonly called New-Tec. New-Tec would provide the work force training in conjunction with Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown and Mitchell Technical Institute. More

David Johnson: The new look of manufacturing
Business Insider
Through the spring and summer, the business press has been abuzz with talk of a manufacturing resurgence in the U.S. This is not baseless chatter. Years of experience have educated many companies in the harsh realities of offshoring significant levels of production. Consistent challenges regarding legal protections, labor cost increases, freight costs, and the sheer managerial complexity of coordinating foreign operations have led many companies to cease offshoring initiatives and, in some cases, to even reverse them. Several trends are driving a massive change in manufacturing.More