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A fabricator and community college partnership

July 31, 2014

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When metal fabricator Shickel Corp. sought to boost the overall skill level of its employee base in the face of a more competitive business environment, it went back to school. More specifically, it sought the local community college to help craft a curriculum and implement a class structure to deliver the improved math and shop skills it desired.

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Camera-based measurement system sends waves of productivity through fabrication shop

July 31, 2014

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When Bob Burns, owner of Aero Bending Co., Palmdale, Calif., moved his company to a new and bigger location, he considered adding to the company’s fleet of benders. However, a number of bending machine operators often lined up to measure bent components, creating a bottleneck. Changing to an optical inspection system cleared this bottleneck.

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The people and processes behind poka-yoke

July 31, 2014

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Like anything related to continuous improvement, mistakeproofing requires the right processes, but, perhaps even more important, it also requires the right people. With the right people and processes, real change is possible.

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Scheduling high-mix, low-volume operations

July 30, 2014

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Scheduling remains one of the most complicated, least predictable aspects of contract metal fabrication. But why is this exactly, and what can a shop do to change this? In this first article in a series, Dick Kallage uncovers the answers.

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Stamping with a better idea

July 29, 2014

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Cleveland-based Stripmatic Products strives to add more customer value by focusing on additional operations and asking what else customers may need. This led the company to a unique setup involving a servo press and a fiber laser welding cell.

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Tough optics for extreme laser welding

July 29, 2014

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Engineers at EWI have developed laser welding optics tailored for high-power applications.

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Keeping sheets and parts moving with automation

July 29, 2014

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Modern laser cutting technology can achieve speeds of more than 400 inches per minute, and that puts pressure on the automation used to load sheets and unload cut parts and skeletons. If the automated material handling system can’t keep up, the fabricator won’t be able to maximize uptime on the laser cutting machine.

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Fiber laser lights the way for new business direction

July 29, 2014

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To bring in more high-volume work, Deltec Inc., Batavia, Ohio, needed to expand its laser cutting capacity. New fiber laser cutting technology proved to be the right fit.

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A matter of asking the right questions

July 28, 2014

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Some purchasers may view a fabricated metal product as a commodity, and if it’s a simple enclosure or flat piece-part, it may well be. But they’re not buying products, really. They’re buying expertise, both in fabrication and in capacity management.

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Refurbishing servo-drive triaxis transfer systems cost-effectively

July 28, 2014

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Upgrade transfer systems’ controls, drives, and bearings without complete replacement with a refurbishment. An appliance-maker had new rail connections, new wireless electrical connection methods for part tracking, electronic torque monitoring, and new kinetics drives installed as part of its press modernization program at 75 percent of the cost of new transfers.

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New Machine, Same Tooling

July 28, 2014

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In planning the recent expansion,it was important to the company that it be able to continue using its large pre-existing inventory of punching tooling.

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Getting Automated: Transitioning from hand-held to CNC plasma cutting

July 28, 2014

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Transitioning from the manual plasma cutting process to CNC plasma cutting process might seem like a daunting task. However, if you enter into the process prepared and with the facts, you’ll find that the switch can be relatively painless and one that can help grow your business.

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A second-chance career

July 28, 2014

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A maritime welding program, jointly created by Vigor Industrial and South Seattle College, is part of a greater initiative in Washington state-to return idled workers to gainful employment. The class doesn’t just help the underemployed, it also helps feed the resurging shipbuilding industry in the greater Seattle area.

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Differentiating in a commoditized market

July 24, 2014

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There are four principles to understand about differentiation and the buying factors that go beyond price: They always exist; they have economic value; they vary by customer; and they change with time, because yesterday’s differentiators can be tomorrow’s commodity.

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Success breeds success as hardbanding service provider evolves into equipment vendor

July 21, 2014

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When Dave Milo set out to build a portable hardbanding unit, the former trucking company owner knew little about welding and nothing about hardbanding. After updating the hardbanding unit design a few times with consulting help from Lincoln Electric, Milo thinks he’s ready to change direction. Rather than providing hardbanding services, his goal is to sell hardbanding machines.

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