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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Product development

January 9, 2017 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows a work flow for creating two versions of the same product.

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What makes estimating effective in metal fabrication?

January 9, 2017 | By Tim Heston

Good estimating involves more than just numbers crunching. A good estimator needs to communicate and collaborate with various people, from the owner to the machine operator. That person also needs the right organizational structure and technology in place to be effective.

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The future of work in metal fabrication

January 9, 2017 | By Tim Heston

The future of work in metal fabrication may be less about a specific task and more about uncovering better ways to satisfy customer demand and get the job done.

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What does continuous improvement mean to you?

January 6, 2017 | By Jeff Sipes

How do you define “continuous improvement”? Turns out, it depends on your organization and your role within it. Altogether, the mix of continuous improvement perspectives within a company should strike a balance between two concepts: efficiency and effectiveness.

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FABTECH 2016: Closing the loop for manufacturing perfection

January 6, 2017

More than 31,000 attendees came to the Las Vegas Convention Center for FABTECH® 2016. As always, new technologies didn’t disappoint. Exhibitors, conference speakers, and attendees all talked about positive changes ahead, about “closing the loop” to make their manufacturing organization one cohesive, determined unit, ready to compete.

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Auto Suppliers Partnership for the Environment builds strong companies 5 ways

December 15, 2016

Considering the competitive state of the automotive industry, any kind of best practices sharing and collaboration among automotive OEMs would seem counter-intuitive. Yet, on the important topic of the environment, major automakers and top suppliers have been doing just that since they formed the...

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Sheet metal modeling

December 7, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows seven different ways to deliver the same 3-D model.

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The need for estate planning: A sign 'o the times

December 6, 2016 | By Jonathan W. Michael, JD

When Prince died, dealing with his estate wasn’t simple. Believe it or not, owners of metal fabrication and manufacturing businesses could learn a lot about how to preserve the value of their companies and other assets by studying the rock icon’s death.

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Metal fabrication in a small shop: The hidden blessing of having no space

December 5, 2016 | By Tim Heston

As shop metrics go, sales per square foot is elegantly simple. One New England fab shop has a sales-per-sq.-ft. metric that’s twice the industry average. Its success shows how having so little space can be a blessing in disguise.

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Metal fabrication improvement: Manage the gray area between operations

December 5, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

If you analyze the entire quote-to-cash cycle for an order, you’ll find that it spends most of its time in a gray area, sitting between operations—both on the shop floor and in the front office. So if a shop really wants to improve, it should tackle this gray area.

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A foundation for company expansion

December 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Anchor Investments has manufacturing companies located in two states, with the original being Anchor Fabrication in Fort Worth, Texas. It has had success bringing these acquisitions into the family because it has an ERP system that is flexible enough to match the operational style of the individual divisions, while also being able to deliver the necessary information for company management to make the correct strategic corporate decisions.

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2017 metal fabrication forecast: Voyage into the unknown

November 29, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Before the election, industry watchers predicted more of the same slow growth the economy has seen for years. After the election, stock markets unexpectedly soared on the backs of companies that may benefit from a Trump presidency. One thing is for sure: The American political sphere heads into the unknown.

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Industry innovations at EuroBLECH 2016 reflect the need for speed

November 29, 2016 | By Robert Colman

At EuroBLECH 2016 the world’s machine tool makers and software developers showcased innovations aimed at reducing the time between part conceptualization and final delivery to the customer.

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Structural fabrication, the next generation

November 28, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Structural fabrication is on the cusp of some big changes, and the entry-level employee of today will grow in a field that’s becoming increasingly digitized.

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Job shop estimating: A historical perspective Step 2

November 28, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis continues a series of columns that address one of the most important activities related to shop profitability: job estimating. In this second installment, he describes how an estimator can use the shop’s manufacturing history to refine the predictions of future expense.

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