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thefabricator.com is the digital home of The FABRICATOR magazine, the metal fabricating industry’s foremost authority on manufacturing technology. Technical articles, case studies, and company profiles from The FABRICATOR and its sister publications, Practical Welding Today, The Tube & Pipe Journal, and STAMPING Journal can be found on this site. Additionally, thefabricator.com has a team of subject matter experts that write exclusively for the website, covering topics such as welding skills and metal forming basics.

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Still asking Elmer

July 20, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

The Ask Elmer column, written by Hobart Institute of Welding Technology instructor Elmer Swank, appeared in Practical Welding Today for four years. Even though the column no longer exists, Swank is still in the business of answering questions and developing good welders.

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Welding trends, technology advancements, and tales

July 19, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

A collection of PWT Editorial Advisory Committee members discuss what they believe to be the most important advances in welding technology, trends, and education.

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Long live the “Welding Queen”

July 14, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Her energy was genuine and her love of welding and welders was as real as the smile on her face. Ten years after leaving Practical Welding Today®, former editor Stephanie Vaughan shares her fondest memories of an industry she still loves.

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Shelving bad habits with your GMAW gun

July 14, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

A welder tired of accidental triggering or incidental damage to his gun developed a holster that can be mounted to a worktable, welding cart or in any way necessary.

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How to gild your safety record

July 13, 2016

Talan Products has consistently reduced its safety incident rate since 2006. That it has manufactured for 1,600 days without a lost-time accident is no accident. It is the result of a deliberate development of an omnipresent safety culture. Other manufacturers often ask, “How do you do it?” The manufacturer shares its safety secrets, including establishing a safety culture, learning from near-misses, using sensors, and tracking safety metrics.

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High-speed stamping quenches thirst for beverage cans

July 13, 2016 | By Greg Stueve

All of the components of a beverage can are stamped in a high-speed press. The process of producing two-piece beverage cans starts with the blanking and forming of a cup from a large aluminum coil. Today’s most advanced cupping presses can run a 14-out die up to 350 strokes per minute (SPM), producing up to 4,900 cans per minute. Would soda beverages be as popular if they could not be packaged in a portable, singular, recyclable can made inexpensively by a high-speed stamping process? Some unique challenges and critical factors for press work in high-speed can stamping include high operating speeds, dynamic balancing, and off-center loading. Here are some ways to handle stamping at (almost) the speed of light--and takeaways for slower operations.

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Small-scale cutting: The next frontier

July 12, 2016 | By Shane Strowski

Many of today’s cutting applications require surgical-like precision to produce small, intricate parts. Technological advancements in waterjet and laser cutting are making these processes even more attractive to fabricators in a variety of industries.

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Stamper powers up to do the heavy lifting

July 12, 2016 | By Kate Bachman

Stamping manufacturer StampSource brought in more than $3 million worth of work—a 25 percent revenue increase—with a capital investment of two heavy-duty feeders and three high-tonnage presses. It was the largest expansion in the company’s 66-year history.

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Applying sheet metal forming principles to plastic

July 12, 2016 | By Steve Benson

Anytime the inside radius or material thickness varies, there will be a change in the bend deduction. This is just as true when bending plastic as it is when bending sheet metal.

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Fabricating long coils rather than short straights

July 11, 2016 | By Wynn H. Kearns

Most fabricators work with standard lengths of straight tube, but this isn’t the only possibility. Many alloys are available in coiled form, can lead to faster processing, better use of floor space, and increased material yields.

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Coil-fed fabricating

July 11, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Most manufacturers associate coil processing with the metal forming industry. They also likely assume the punching and laser cutting combination machines consume sheet metal. Elleci S.p.A., a metal fabricator in northern Italy, has a new line in place that will require many manufacturers to alter their preconceived notions about coil consumption in a fabricating facility.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Design evolution from invention to manufacturing

July 11, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers how designs evolve from invention to manufacturing and how various CAD techniques might best be used.

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Automated guided vehicles get flexible

July 8, 2016 | By Tim Heston

A camera-based automated guided vehicle may have potential in high-product-mix environments. The vehicle takes pictures of its surroundings, remembers them, and then drives itself along that path.

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Maximize your move

July 8, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Everyone knows that moving is not easy, especially when you are talking about moving a business. Dennis Donovan, a site selection consultant, provides an overview of the main considerations that a metal fabricator should keep in mind as it looks to make a major move.

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Metal fabrication and metrics: Measure what matters

July 8, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

An operation with poor or nonexistent performance metrics is a magnet for lots of confusion and disruption. Poor metrics often have a narrow focus that can negatively affect the whole organization. Conversely, good metrics support the business and its mission.

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