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Archive for September 2013

Wood Machining Institute to host saw workshop Oct. 14-15 in Portland, Ore.

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The Wood Machining Institute will host a Workshop on Design, Operation and Maintenance of Circular and Band Saws in Portland, Ore., at the Red Lion Hotel and Convention Center, on Oct. 14-15. The workshop will provide attendees with up-to-date information necessary to increase company’s profits by maximizing sawing accuracy and the rate of sawing, and by reducing kerf losses, downtime and saw equipment maintenance costs, in addition to covering safety and ergonomic issues.

Issues to be explored include: economics of sawing variation and on-line sawing performance control; impact of steel characteristics on cutting saw blade performance; circular and band saw stiffness and stability, and computer software for critical speed calculation; advances in saw tensioning and tension evaluation; identifying what you stand to gain and lose by changing saw design; on-line measurement and analysis of sawing performance and sawing accuracy; pushing the boundaries of band saw performance; economics of advanced cutting tool materials and troubleshooting procedures; and key maintenance criteria.  The workshop faculty, experts from the U.S. and Canada, will combine lectures, video presentations and demonstrations of computer software to address problems and suggest solutions in operating and maintaining circular and band saws and sawing equipment.

For more information, please visit www.woodmachining.com.

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Written by cabinettrends

September 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

New machine performs 3D printing, milling and scanning

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We all know that CNC machines, 3D printers and 3D scanners cost a fortune, but Gizmag reports that there is something new out that offers all three, that won’t break your budget, and makes prototypes with a printer: FABtotum.

FABtotum is available from Indiegogo and is one of the first hybrid fabrication machines available. The name comes from Latin, meaning a human servant that is responsible for many different things, literally doing and making everything. The FABtotum is a 14-inch desktop-sized cube resembling a shiny new plug end for an iPhone. Its maximum printing size is 8.3 x 9.5 x 9.5 in, which is actually large compared to its overall footprint. You can swap out tools with the company, and even sell tools and parts on their website. And with this machine, you do not have to purchase proprietary spools of printing material, or deal with expensive upgrades.

With FABtotum, you can make both quick prints and more polished prints with a Z-axis precision of 0.47 microns. The included CNC head allows for only lightweight materials like thin aluminum and brass alloy, but you can swap heads with stronger motors for other materials. FABtotum can be utilized for milling (including circuit boards), 4-axis engraving, 2.5-D profiling, CNC pre-drilling, and 4-axis machining.

FABtotum will be released open source, and the schematics will be available online. The machines come with replacement heads and two years of repairs. There are many design choices, and the full list of specs are available on their website (www.indiegogo.com/projects/fabtotum-personal-fabricator). Funding for FABtotum is still pending, but you can contribute on Indiegogo until October 7. If the goal is met, delivery is anticipated for May.

Written by cabinettrends

September 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

Job-based health insurance costs up in 2013, survey of U.S. businesses finds

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The average cost of job-based family health insurance rose faster than overall inflation and employee wages for the 14th year in a row, according to a survey of more than 2,000 businesses across the U.S.

In 2013, annual premiums for employer-sponsored coverage are averaging $16,351, up 4 percent from 2102, according the annual Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. The data also show the annual cost of individual coverage is $5,884 on average for 2013, up 5 percent from 2012.

According to the survey, these rates continue an eight-year period of 4 to 6 percent annual increases and are far from the double-digit rate hikes of 2000-04.

The slower rate of growth means employers, who typically pay the bulk of employee health costs, are less likely to try to cut worker benefits in order to contain costs. “We’re not seeing that,” said Drew Altman, president and CEO of Kaiser. “It’s not an environment where they should be looking to dramatically cut workers’ health benefits.”

The survey also found that the cost of job-based coverage rose 80 percent over the past decade, nearly three times faster than wages and inflation, which are up 31 percent and 27 percent, respectively, over the same time.

“What workers are paying for health coverage still strikingly outstrips both the increase in their wages and inflation,” Altman said. “There’s still a sharp, sharp contrast.”

The share of healthcare premiums paid by covered workers has remained nearly unchanged over the last 10 years. Data show individuals have contributed an average of 18 percent, or $999 toward their coverage in 2013, while families paid an average of 29 percent of their total annual premium, or about $4,565.

About 149 million Americans have job-based health insurance coverage, and 57 percent of firms currently offer employee coverage, down 61 percent from 2012 but not considered a statistically significant decline, the survey says. The survey notes that smaller firms are less likely to offer coverage than larger firms, and workers at smaller companies typically pay more for their coverage than those at large companies.

Read more about the survey’s findings at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/08/20/199802/job-based-health-insurance-costs.html#.Ujx6pcashca.

Written by cabinettrends

September 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

Zepol: August the second highest import TEU volume in 2013

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Zepol Corporation (www.zepol.com) reported that U.S. imports in August are the second highest month for TEU volume in 2013. The U.S. imported nearly 1.61 million TEUs in August, which is 5 percent less than July’s 1.69 million, but a half a percentage higher than August of last year.

“The holiday import months of July and August were 1.5 percent higher in volume compared with the same two months in 2012,” said Zepol’s CEO Paul Rasmussen. “This is one of the only significant differences in TEU volume from 2012 to 2013, which hints at a more active holiday shopping season.”

U.S. imports from Asia are down 3.4 percent from July, thought August still had the second highest monthly volume from Asia in over a year, with a total of 1.17 million TEUs imported. U.S. imports from China are down 0.9 percent from July, but are up 3.2 percent from this time last year. European exports to the United States are down 8.8 percent from July, but slightly above average, with about 202,000 TEUs exported to the United States. A quarter of Europe’s decrease was due to Germany, which dropped in exports by 10.7 percent from last month.

Ports in the United States also decreased slightly in TEU imports from July. The Port of Los Angeles declined in TEU volume by 8.4 percent. August was still Los Angeles’ second highest month in volume for 2013, with over 342,000 TEUs brought in. The Port of Savannah was the only port in the top ten to post an increase in August with a rise in TEU volume of 9 percent, which is over 106,000 TEUs.

Most carriers had a dip in volume for August. Maersk Line, the top carrier in the United States, decreased by 3.8 percent and Mediterranean shipping company, ranked second, dropped 2.9 percent. Although, Evergreen Line and Hanjin Shipping sang a different tune, both rose in TEUs by about 1.5% from July to August.

Written by cabinettrends

September 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

School of Restoration Arts in Ontario produces talented craftsman

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The School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank in Queenston, Ontario, Canada, has seen a lot of talents over years, including Walter Furlan, Carolyn Samko and Ashleigh Bell, thespec.com.

The three-year-program began in 2006 and focuses on design, conservation and craft skills. Classes are small and are located at the national historic site, Willowbank mansion, an early-1800s home. In fact, this fall, enrollment reached only 40. But the courses cover everything from masonry and woodworking, to understanding planning acts and the structure of heritage committees.

Julian Smith, Willowbank’s executive director, told thespec.com he likens to the tradition of the carpenter-architect, or the philosopher-stonemason. Willowbank combines academia with apprenticeship in a way that engages both hands and mind, something Smith thinks we’ve lost. He told thespec.com that the comprehensive look at restoration can lead grads to careers in construction, planning, government or woodworking. Walter Furlan, who had worked in the industry for 30 years, applied to the school after he was laid off from Union Drawn Steel in 2009. Today, he runs the Walter Furlan Conservation. Furlan, 52, wrote the condition report for Whitehern Historic House, completed specs for colonial buildings in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and now he’s in the process of restoring windows for a mid-1800s-era home on Mary Street. Carolyn Samko, 46, attended the school in 2006 after working as a sales representative for a paint manufacturer. Although the job was sort-of related to her fine arts training, it didn’t engage her creativity. So when Samko decided to change her career path, her passion for historic buildings led her to Willowbank. Samko, these days, is a senior project manager with the City’s heritage facilities and capital planning. Samko has worked on sites including Whitehern, Auchmar, Dundurn Castle and the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.

Written by cabinettrends

September 27, 2013 at 7:00 am

Building products distributor announces office building sale

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BlueLinx Holdings Inc. (www.BlueLinxCo.com), a building products distributor, announced the sale of its office building located in Denver, Colo. The approximately 68,000-square-foot office building sold for $8.2 million. The company says it will use the proceeds from the sale to pay down debt and expects to record a gain of approximately $4 million related to this transaction in the third quarter of 2013 as a reduction of operating expense.

“Our Western Sales Center relocated to a new office in Denver during the second quarter of 2013, which allowed us to take advantage of the opportunity to sell this property. This sale further demonstrates the company’s ability to leverage real estate holdings to generate the highest possible return on assets while continuing to support its customers throughout the country,” said BlueLinx CFO Doug Goforth.

Written by cabinettrends

September 27, 2013 at 7:00 am

Wood finish manufacturer chosen as vendor for 3,000-plus stores

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Vermont Natural Coatings (www.vermontnaturalcoatings.com), a manufacturer of whey-based wood finishes, was selected by True Value Hardware (www.truevalue.com) as a vendor to its 3,000-plus stores. Vermont Natural Coatings will launch its True Value Sales Initiative at the True Value Reunion Marketplace September 20-22 in Chicago. More than 10,000 True Value dealer representatives attended last year’s marketplace.

“We’re incredibly pleased to have been chosen as a True Value Hardware vendor,” said president of Vermont Natural Coatings, Andrew B. Meyer. “Years ago we delivered our first gallon of product to a local general store that is a True Value dealer and  partner with other True Value stores in our region. Now we’ll be able to serve True Value stores throughout the country.”

The True Value Fall Reunion Marketplace is a three-day show during where True Value dealers meet with approved vendors to learn about their products, seasonal promotions and long-term marketing and customer service programs. Vermont Natural Coatings will offer its custom Vermont end cap display, Vermont cheddar cheese and maple candy giveaways and ongoing product demonstrations.

Written by cabinettrends

September 27, 2013 at 7:00 am

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