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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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The human side of the skilled-labor crisis

July 8, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In metal fabrication, companies need technical skill, but there’s a humanity to the skill that’s often overlooked. It’s about the relationship between the technician, his machine, and the workpiece.

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Yellow: The color of safety awareness

July 7, 2016 | By Dan Davis

If you tour Plymouth Tube's Streator, Ill., facility, you can't help but notice all of the yellow caution areas. They mark potential trip hazards and pinch point areas. The focus on safety, both visually and in daily communications, has helped the facility stay injury-free for three years now. It's also enabled the tube production facility to be named the recipient of FMA’s Rusty Demeules Award for Safety Excellence.

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R&D Update: Practical methods for estimating formability of sheet materials

July 7, 2016 | By Ali Fallahiarezoodar, Berk Aykas, David Diaz Infante, Taylan Altan, Ph.D.

Formability is the ability of a sheet material to deform without failure or fracture. Information on formability helps process and tool design engineers predict failure during analysis of sheet metal forming processes for tool design. Formability information also is used to evaluate...

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Die Science: How many hits does it take to get to the end of a tool’s life?

July 7, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Recently I was asked at a training session to state the average life of a stamping die. The person asking was from the costing department of a large automotive firm. He said he needed to know because he was getting different answers from different individuals in the organization—anywhere from...

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Tube fabrication equipment manufacturer takes a holistic view of sustainability

July 7, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Sustainability and green technology are no longer buzzwords, but comprise a host of enduring manufacturing practices. Equipment manufacturer Schwarze-Robitec has rolled out numerous developments to conserve energy, consumables, material, and other resources.

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Building bridges for the 21st century and beyond

July 7, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Fabricator and bridge erector used oxyfuel for years, but changed to plasma and benefitted from faster, more precise cuts.

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Building effective and agile sheet metal forming supply channels

July 6, 2016 | By Bill Frahm

Strong supply chains hold the promise of all partners being able to share innovation. This requires a commitment from the manufacturers in the chain to be open and communicative. Without that trust, supply chain partners can hurt product success and sabotage profitability goals.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: How do we prevent buckling in thin material during strip feeding?

July 6, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Q: We are trying to stamp a drawn cup from 0.002-inch-thick by 0.500-in.-wide fully annealed stainless steel on a Bruderer BSTA 22e high-speed press with an aluminum ball bearing die set and a Bruderer 198/85 roll feed. There are six draws, and all of the draw die bushings are carbide with steel...

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Reamer keeps consumables clean in robotic welding

July 5, 2016 | By Ryan Lizotte

Installed and used properly, a reamer minimizes spatter and debris, prolongs consumables life, improves weld quality, and keeps a robotic welding cell productive.

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A ticket of entry to laser cutting

July 5, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Alkras has introduced a laser small enough to fit on the gantry of a cutting table. It’s being marketed as a ticket of entry for those fab shops—especially small ones—that have not yet entered the laser cutting arena.

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Reshaping metal grinding

July 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the costs associated with grinding. It’s necessary in many shops, so company management just throws labor at it. They don’t realize, however, that new ceramic alumina developments have the potential to save them money when it comes to grinding operations. The Norton Quantum 3 abrasive wheel is one such example.

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Tooling: The heart of choosing a press brake

July 5, 2016 | By Steve Benson

When considering a new press brake purchase, focus on the tooling and forming method first. How will your staff react to changes? How steep will the learning curve be? Also, think about where your company is headed and the markets it serves.

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Great gates!

July 5, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

After learning to weld on the family farm and honing his skill during his college years, Josh Foster decided to augment his steady, part-time job with a fabrication business. Big Creek Metal Works makes all sort of items, from large ranch gates to small art items, specializing in custom work.

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Managing part flow in custom metal fabrication

July 1, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Think of how fast modern laser cutting is; now think of a typical press brake. There’s no contest. With this in mind, how can a fab shop best manage part flow? Elements of quick-response manufacturing (QRM) can help.

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5 ways that CAD/CAM nesting software impacts the bottom line

July 1, 2016 | By Alyson Schoenung

Modern CAD/CAM nesting software can assist metal fabricators looking to reduce costs related to raw material spending, production labor, parts programming, and work order creation.

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