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MVEs: More valuable employees

April 18, 2014

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Drew Greenblatt firmly believes that Marlin Steel, Baltimore, is only as successful as the talented crew that works on the shop floor. That's why the company's management team has created a Skills Matrix, ensuring that the shop always has someone who can stand in and perform the job of someone else.

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80/20 homework

April 16, 2014

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Before a company looks to increase its inventory buffer as a step to improve on-time delivery, a shop should exhaust less expensive options first. These homework assignments may help fabricators explore those options.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Product visualization

April 16, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis walks the reader through a hypothetical production development design exercise to show just how different product development CAD work is from production-ready CAD assignments.

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A growing pie for the next generation

April 15, 2014

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How can fabricators attract the best and brightest? According to speakers at The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit, held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, it's about growing the business through progressive management and open communication.

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Vehicle seat manufacturer rolls with the changes

April 14, 2014

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Freedman Seating Co., founded in the late 19th century, originally manufactured seat cushions for horse-drawn buggies. As gasoline engines displaced animal power, Freedman adapted and today uses the latest technologies, such as CNC tube benders and a laser cutting machine, to stay current with trends in transportation.

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Quality assurance gets an upgrade at Eaton Fabricating

April 14, 2014

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Eaton Fabricating Co. Inc., Grafton, Ohio, revamped its front office and shop floor operation to ensure parts emerge from machines right the first time. The key is that management gives operators time to perform quality assurance checks at every stage in manufacturing.

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You’re fired!

April 8, 2014

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You may have the skills, but if you can’t follow rules and don’t have a good work ethic, your skills won’t get you very far. Marty Rice shares personal stories of workers who have learned this lesson the hard way.

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Life with a fiber laser

April 7, 2014

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Accrotool Inc., New Kensington, Pa., had a 1,500-W laser cutting machine from 2001 that needed to be replaced. A fiber laser was deemed the perfect choice for the shop’s cutting chores. However, to be successful, the company’s management discovered that a new mindset was needed to accompany the new technology.

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A foundation for 5S

April 7, 2014

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Macksteel Warehouse, a service center and job shop serving area OEMs, has undergone significant transformations in recent years, including the way employees sweep the floor.

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How consumable quality affects welding productivity and costs

April 7, 2014

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Contrary to popular belief, ignorance isn’t bliss, particularly when it applies to making smart buying decisions. Knowing what to look for in consumables can help you make a wise choice.]

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Automating an abrasive process

April 3, 2014

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Automating a manual operation can pose several unique difficulties, based on the incoming workpiece and its finish and geometric requirements, but the benefits of reduced costs and increased safety for operators may be worth it.

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Laser cutting on the level

April 3, 2014

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A laser cutting machine doesn’t care how hard or soft a metal is, but the material’s flatness matters immensely. That’s why so many service centers are investing in leveling processes that aim to equalize stresses, ensuring sheet metal stays flat after being cut.

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The next level of air bending

April 3, 2014

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In this excerpt from Sheet Metalworking: State of the Art, the concept of adaptive forming, a special form of air bending, is introduced and explained.

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The wiper die’s role and rake

April 3, 2014

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Properly setting up the tooling on a tube or pipe bender can be a straightforward process, but misunderstandings and shortcuts can lead to poor setups. The wiper die’s rake angle is one such setting. Operators should beware that setting the tool to a specific gap at its trailing edge can lead to inconsistent setups.

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Apprenticeship, North Carolina-style

March 31, 2014

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Max Daetwyler Corp., a Huntersville, N.C.-based contract manufacturer, has evolved significantly to serve the changing business needs in the custom machinery arena. Its approach to employee skill development has evolved as well, with a growing regional partnership founded on the concepts behind European-style apprenticeships.

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