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2018 MFA Time Standards Manual

January 1, 2018

The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, to serve as a benchmark shop owners can use to set fabrication times, with which they can generate competitive labor costs. The manual is an ongoing project that will grow and change organically …

Needle and thread know-how

In every theatrical production there are people laboring behind the scenes, working hard to keep things moving forward seamlessly. Generally unsung (at least by the audience), their efforts are integral to the performance’s success; indeed, without these folks the play would quickly fall apart no matter how well-written the script or how fine the actors. …

Sewing for different markets

Crossover skills give upholsterers a variety of opportunities among the furniture, marine and transportation industries—and more skilled workers are needed. The president of the Professional Upholsterers’ Association of Minnesota proudly states that she was the fifth woman to graduate from an upholstery curriculum at Minneapolis Technical College in 1977. “It was considered a man’s field …

Keep waiting customers happy

October 17, 2017

In those parts of the country where boats get put away in the winter, the first hints of spring often bring a rush of business for marine fabricators that doesn’t slow down until the leaves start to fall. Once that work begins to back up during warm-weather months, it’s not unusual for fabricators to quote …

New marine hardware addresses tough issues

September 1, 2017

The marine environment poses many considerations for fabricators providing products like cushions, windshield covers, enclosures and the like to this industry. Not only do they have to take the sun, wind, salt air and water into account, they must also figure out how to keep these items firmly in place (while being easy to take …

New thinking about pinking

Vinyl manufacturers and marine service providers contend with discoloration caused by a bacteria. “Pink” brings to mind a little girl dressed as a princess, cotton candy at the county fair and plastic lawn flamingos. But for those in the marine industry, the word takes on a sinister connotation as a stain caused by streptoverticillium reticulum. …

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Problem-solving fasteners

Using the right fastener is critical for solving problems rather than creating them. As any marine fabricator will attest, carefully constructed cushions, windshield covers, enclosures, window treatments and so on have to withstand sun, salt, wind and water as well as normal (and occasionally rough) handling by their clients. These items also need to be …

Marine business passes to next generation

In 2007, Kate Mitchell set up a 10-year plan to transition her business on the Alaskan frontier to her children. Today her children value the company’s courageous past and anticipate a bright future. We didn’t homestead like the Kilcher family from Discovery Channel’s Alaska: The Last Frontier but we were here before the roads were …

Can the Maker Movement benefit the marine industry?

August 1, 2017

Roombas, smart phone apps, Alexa, and cars with park assist. It seems that humans don’t have to do much of anything these days in order to vacuum the carpet, track their calories, turn on the lights or squeeze their Ford Focus between curbside SUVs. And yet, like the balance of nature, the world needs a …

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Train, recruit and keep employees

July 1, 2017

Competition, especially from overseas manufacturing; increasing costs for equipment, materials and labor; the need to keep up with fast-paced technology; and the general state of the economy, which directly affects the consumer pool, rank as challenging issues for most businesses. Yet the owner of a marine fabrication shop in Portland, Ore., has a more pressing …