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Not just for analyzing metals anymore

December 17, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

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

December 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

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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Making your welding operation safer with source-extraction systems

December 10, 2015 | By Benjamin Howell

Ventilation systems help make the air safer in welding operations. Source extraction offers optimal benefits for welders.

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A job shop reborn

December 3, 2015 | By Dan Davis

Co-Lin Metals Fabricating, Rockford, Ill., was an old-school shop. Estimates were done by hand, and important documents were transferred by fax. Stephen Hedlund, who had once worked summers at the shop where his dad, Michael, worked, wants to change all of that. He and his dad are the new owners, and they want to take the shop into the 21st century.

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Metal fabrication in 2016: Diversification proves its worth

December 2, 2015 | By Tim Heston

2015 has been a tale of two markets—commodities and everything else. Demand for food, fuel, and materials is suffering and prices are dropping. But low prices in these areas are spurring growth elsewhere. Many predict this tale to continue into 2016.

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2016 capital spending forecast in metal fabrication: The growth continues

November 30, 2015 | By Tim Heston

According to the “2016 Capital Spending Forecast” from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, total capital spending will edge up a little more than 2 percent next year. Still, certain equipment categories, including welding and bending, may experience dramatic gains.

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Friction stir welding expands its scope

November 30, 2015 | By Martin Brennan

Friction stir welding, which is used in projects such as the new NASA heavy-lift rocket, is now being used in more typical metal fabricating applications.

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Women in manufacturing: One company’s 50-50 workforce

November 11, 2015 | By Melissa Stanz

PPI, a diverse manufacturer based in the Southeast, defies national trends. While women make up only 27 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce, they make up nearly half of PPI’s workforce. What drew these women to manufacturing, and what makes them stay?

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Making CAD magnets

November 11, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Does your shop have special punching tooling that it would like to use more? Columnist Gerald Davis demonstrates how to prepare a CAD model of the punching tooling that a customer can download into its own CAD tooling library and possibly incorporate into future jobs that may end up with the job shop.

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Interrelated coil processing reduces cost, enhances control

November 11, 2015 | By Kevin Enos

More stampers are using multiple coil processing methods, including feeding, multiblanking/slitting, recoiling, and blanking, on the same line to achieve flexible fabrication. Benefits of doing so include better control and savings.

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Manufacturing Fundamentals first, then improvement

November 10, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Sustaining improvement efforts remains difficult for many shops, but sustaining may not be so difficult with a foundation of good business fundamentals in manufacturing. This includes accurate bills of materials, accurate routings, good inventory control, a documented system for materials planning and procurement, concise business rules, and employee training.

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Looking out from the inside

November 9, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Artist and furniture-maker Louie Tozser has enjoyed a rich and varied career, working in metal, stone, glass, and polycarbonate, and does everything from one-off pieces to contract manufacturing. It’s much more than a business, though. Tozser’s latest plan it to introduce local children to art and perhaps inspire some to pursue a career in art as well.

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Why manufacturers should get ISO-certified

November 9, 2015 | By Edward Jones

All manufacturers should get their ISO certification because the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-terms costs. Here’s why.

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Using failure modes and effects analysis in a reliability-centered maintenance program

November 6, 2015 | By Bill Frahm

If a metal fabricator or former does it correctly, a failure modes and effects analysis can provide a solid foundation for predictive maintenance planning.

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How SWOT and lean go together

November 5, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A SWOT analysis covers a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. But how do you really define strengths and weaknesses? Much of it can come from data gleaned from a good flow assessment.

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