Fabrication houses

Aug 15

Can someone set me straight on this..

Lately I've been talking to gear makers about fabrication plants ( that is..the guys who do all the weldments putting the gearbox casings, ASME boilers, and tanks together...and even the structural welders...

And they seem to say that fabrication is a dying industry...How can that be???...We'll always need buildings to live and work in, and they will need to be heated with boilers.. Gear units I agree because manufacturing plants are not being replaced...

And if those CAD jobs are being shipped overseas...Does the Solidworks or AutoCAD draftsman stand a chance longterm ???

Ignorant with Blinders..

Reply to
greg g
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Robotics, lean manufacturing, scrounging every erg of efficiency they can. Notice the "republican check-out" lanes at your grocery store? The ones without a person there to scan your items for you? Equipment built outside the U.S. and only occasionally assembled here.

People are expensive to train, maintenance is shoddy, and they sue you every chance they get. Hire a robot off the street and it's happy to have a job.... Unfortunately, its nameplate is liable to read "Ryobi" or "Sanyo" rather than Tom, Dick, or Harry.

I would rather be a draftsman or engineer than a skilled laborer in the manufacturing world. People need people to design stuff. We just need to not mail the prints to the cheapest foreign national we can find!

The upshot is that our great-great-grandkids simply won't believe how you spent your day, as they scoot about on their anti-gravity sled, talking about the latest Von Neumann quantum manufacturing techniques.

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It's difficult to say.

Take here in Britain. The Government is very pleased that after the large-scale disappearance of manufacturing, there is now the "knowledge-based economy" in matters to do with manufacturing. And very profitable it is too. Excellent adaptation to new circumstances. Now people use high levels of expertise to do jobs which are now performed mainly in offices, providing knowledge not available elsewhere, hence gaining "invisible earnings" in economics-speak. On the other hand... En-mass the people in these "knowledge-based economy" jobs, neatly attired in their suits and earnest at Institute of Welding meeting, are cruising up to retirement, now in spitting distance. Their memories of their long-distant apprenticeships and early industrial experience are tinged with the sadness that this path is no longer available to others. So what is likely to happen is that profitability will continue to rise for a few years yet, running off this 30-year+ old experience, unballasted by the drag of training new people - then will suddenly go extinct in a period of a few years. And at that point there would be a 30-year gap to fill to get people back in place - not to mention where they would get this training.

So which is correct? Are we being led to a better place, only we don't have the ability to understand the whys and wherefores. Or are we racing down the "slope of doom" on a knackered skateboard to an oblivion which is all too obvious. Was "the credit crunch" and the Government bailout the first of a series of "heart-attacks" which is our demise. Are "invisible incomes" in general across the economy going to become "non-existent earnings" - just like the events which seem to be the precursor to the credit-crunch. Or was this a minor bump on our path to a wonderful future and doubters should rest easy.

Anyone know the answers which make first-principles sense for us simple technical folk - why not contribute...

Rich S

Reply to
Richard Smith

Yeah, and just when the welding / fab industry started to realize there was a dearth of trained, qualified, experienced weldors; the AWS and trade schools start pushing welding programs; weldors start getting paid what we like to think we're worth...


There went the economy. Now some 12 year old in Indonesia will be welding the parts your design company dreampt up. For about 2 bucks a day (local currency), while the poor suckah here chooses between feeding his kids or paying the mortgage.

There is no justice in the world. Only "haves" and "have-nots." Consider this an incentive to quality child-rearing. Raise 'em smart, kick their butts into higher education, so someday they'll be in the prior category.

I'm thankfull I have a government job welding, but you can bet I certainly don't want to be down on my hands and knees, or bent over backwards, trying to weld in some cramped little hole onboard a sub when I'm 65. I'm looking for a way either up the ladder in my shop, or switch to a code that actually does work smarter, not harder.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy welding. I don't necessarily enjoy all the situations that my job puts me in, though.

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