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Building improvement at JCB: A case study in lean manufacturing

January 6, 2016

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The part flow at JCB’s Savannah plant has changed significantly over the past six years. The company redesigned a major product line to meet customer demand while also making part flow much easier to manage.

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Degree or pedigree? That is the question.

January 6, 2016

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Metal artist Stephen Christena left Flint, Michigan, but Flint didn’t leave Christena. He has the eye of an artist, backed up by a degree, but the sturdy, industrial look he favors is testimony to his roots.

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A “digital thread” runs through FABTECH, North America’s largest metal fabrication show

January 6, 2016

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FABTECH broke records again in 2015, drawing more attendees and exhibitors than ever. One theme this year seemed to pervade the event. It relates to what keynote speaker Karen Kerr, director of advanced manufacturing at GE Ventures, called a “digital thread” through the manufacturing supply chain.

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Differentiation in manufacturing: Cadence hits its unique stride

January 4, 2016

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Cadence, Inc. in Staunton, Va., launched with a proprietary technology. But if the company had relied solely on that technology for growth, it wouldn’t be the $100 million, 500-employee, six-location industrial and medical device contract manufacturer it is today.

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How to boost first-pass transfer efficiency in powder coating

January 4, 2016

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Boosting first-pass transfer efficiency should be the goal of any fabricating shop that runs a powder coating line. It prevents material waste and improves final coating quality. The fabricator just needs to stay on top of a few key variables in the powder coating operation to achieve better coating application.

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The impact of lean manufacturing on structural steel fabricating

January 4, 2016

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As fabricators strive to eliminate waste in the modern structural steel facility, the fab shops have taken on a new look. This definitely is not your grandfather's structural steel fabricating.

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Lean manufacturing in metal fabrication: How to jumpstart a stalled improvement effort

January 4, 2016

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Continuous improvement initiatives often lack organizational structure and defined responsibilities. Consultant Dick Kallage describes three components needed to correct these problems and prevent continuous improvement from stalling.

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One metal fabrication shop takes on B2C

January 4, 2016

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Launched in 2015, Florida-based MetalsCut4U offers low-volume metal cutting and bending to the consumer market. To make it happen, the company simplifies ordering and automates quoting.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Using images and live demos to explain a product’s function

January 4, 2016

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Columnist Gerald Davis explores the use of “mates” as he reveals how to make a hand drill operate the same way in the 3-D model as it does in the real world.

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Full remote control at the weld joint can improve productivity, safety

December 21, 2015

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Advancements in remote control technology make it more beneficial to employ the technology in welding operations, particularly those that involve extended distances between the power source and the welder.

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Not just for analyzing metals anymore

December 17, 2015

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Used for many years to analyze metals, XRF analyzers have been improving over the years. The latest models can detect elements at less than 10 parts per million and are equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, and built-in digital cameras, providing many additional capabilities compared to the analyzers of years ago.

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Grand unifying theory of press brake bending: Part IV

December 15, 2015

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This month Steve Benson summarizes his grand unifying theory of radius, bend deduction, and die selection with a review and complete rundown of the bend calculations, from estimating springback to working the bend functions.

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Do safety incentives work?

December 15, 2015

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Incentives can be a good tool to draw awareness to a particular effort in a safety program, but they need to be implemented only after careful thought. Sometimes negative results can emerge from incentives created with the best intentions.

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Workforce challenges: Can’t we all just get along?

December 15, 2015

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Talk to managers in metal fabrication and they’ll probably tell you they have trouble finding “good” people. In fact, they usually don’t say “skilled” people. So what’s the difference?

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ISO certification in metal fabrication: Yes or no?

December 15, 2015

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Is ISO 9001 certification worth it? It really depends. If key customers or prospects require it, then yes, it’s certainly worth the effort. But if a fabricator does pursue ISO certification, it shouldn’t be a one-time effort but instead a continual improvement. It isn’t just window dressing.

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