Hurt by Foreign Competition? Help's AvailableJune 1, 2019
Chances are that imports have damaged your metal forming business somewhere along the line. For some, new business and plant upgrades help restore ailing bottom lines. Another alternative: Your company might qualify for federal assistance through the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program, which offers $75,000 in matching funds. The money can be yours with proof of recent business lost to imports resulting in sales declines.
Example: Mursix Corp., a Muncie, IN-based metal forming firm that estimates $5 million in lost sales due to imports from 2015 to 2017. Documented in an article beginning on page 37 of this issue, Mursix received assistance from its local TAAF center, the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (GLTAAC), and invested its windfall in lean-manufacturing cells, leadership-development and employee-training programs, sales-process improvements and other activities. Mursix is one of more than 450 import-injured manufacturing companies, in a range of industries in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, receiving such assistance. Those numbers amount to a proverbial drop in the bucket when considering the 31,000 manufacturers in that tri-state area, according to Scott Phillips, GLTAAC senior project manager. Moreover, with 250,000 manufacturing companies nationwide, only 500 to 600 work with a TAAF Center annually, says GLTAAC director Scott Jacobs.
“Our job is to help companies long before they have to close their doors, but the majority of companies are unaware of our existence and the assistance we offer,” says Jacobs. “Some of that has to do with being a federally funded program, which prevents us from marketing and promoting ourselves in the same way as private-sector companies. With a staff of four covering three states, we rely on referral partners such as local chapters of the Precision Metalforming Association to get the word out.”
Learn about TAAF and your specific center by visiting www.taacenters.org/contact.html.
Rest in Peace, Stu: The Industry Suffers a Great Loss
Stuart Keeler authored the Science of Forming column for MetalForming magazine for nearly 20 years, starting with the January 1999 issue. A world-renowned expert in metal forming and a passionate educator who conducted a bevy of technical seminars for PMA going back dozens of years, Dr. Keeler began his career at the Massachusetts Institute Technology, earning a Doctor of Science Degree in Mechanical Metallurgy. Stu’s doctoral research on sheet metal forming limits led to his development of the Forming Limit Diagram, work that led to many in the industry endearingly referring to Stu as “the father of metal forming.” Sadly, Stu passed away on May 14.
During his storied career, Stu spent 24 years working at National Steel Corp., primarily as manager of automotive research in Detroit. While there, he pioneered bringing science to the press shop, creating the tools we take for granted today—circle grid analysis, thinning strain analysis and statistical deformation control among them.Stu later joined the Budd Co. Technical Center as manager of sheet metal technology, where he directed all research, development and technology transfer for sheet metal stampings and castings, and implemented virtual sheet metal forming (computerized die tryout).
A passionate educator, Stu conducted hundreds of courses, seminars and lectures throughout the world, many for PMA. However, as his obituary notes: “Given a choice, he will be found on the press shop floor.” Our industry has lost a dear friend.—Brad F. Kuvin, Publisher/Editorial Director
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