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Editorial

Getting back to business

By Tom Klemens

January 2014 - We are surrounded by indicators, many of them subtle but some not so much. For example, this week there’s snow on the ground and ice floating in the Chicago River, both good signs that winter has already arrived even though I’m writing this three days before the December solstice. But even without the snow and ice, it would be easy to tell the season. It’s dark out when I leave for work in the morning, and it’s dark again long before quitting time arrives. Of course, six months from now, as the June solstice nears, the sun will be up hours before I am and stick around late into the evening, too.

That type of indicator is pretty straightforward and predictable. In fact, the U.S. Naval Observatory offers precise sunrise and sunset data (downloadable at www.usno.navy.mil) for more than 22,000 U.S. places.

By the way, here’s an interesting tidbit from the Chicago data: Did you know the earliest sunset of the year occurs a week and a half before the solstice, and that sunrise continues to arrive later each day for almost a week into the new year? Coincidentally, that’s about when you’ll receive this issue of FFJournal, and perhaps you’ve noticed that the days are getting longer.

Anticipating what’s ahead in other less predictable areas, we often need to go with gut instinct and guesswork. While that may seem like a shaky approach, conventional wisdom puts a lot of stock in the chance of your first guess being correct, or close to it. Researchers attempting to validate or disprove the value of gut instinct generally give it at least some degree of credence as well.

So when we launched our annual survey in October asking a representative group of FFJournal subscribers what they were anticipating in 2014, we went straight for the gut. And based on the overall hopeful response we received from your peers, I hope they’re right.

You can pore over the details included in our survey report, but in general the metalworking industry seems ready to get back to business. After a few rough years of slow down and stop, most survey respondents sound like they are ready to ramp up and go. Yes, there’s still uncertainty. But there always has been and there always will be. Yes, there are issues with health care and the government’s current efforts in that field. In fact, health care once again took the top spot as a concern of survey respondents going into the new year. Even so, businesses are moving ahead. No more operating in lockdown mode. It’s time to find more business, make new markets and get back into production. Just the fact that so many survey respondents wrote in so many different markets they expect will provide growth possibilities in the coming year tells me 2014 holds a lot of promise for a lot of people and firms.

Gut instinct and guesswork? You bet. But those who collect the hard data—trade and professional associations, government agencies and others as well—continue to report movement in the right direction. Perhaps these indicators aren’t as subtle as they first appeared.

Happy New Year, and have a good one. FFJ

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA

STEEL

Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. BLM Group

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley

WATERJET

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Barton International
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws

WELDING

Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
Triform

 

 

 


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