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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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Die coatings morph to help form AHS aluminum

March 21, 2016 | By Bernard Janoss

A new die coating has been developed to help alleviate complications of forming high-strength aluminum, such as sticking and abrasion.

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So you want to buy a metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Buying a company isn’t just about getting a certain multiple. A buyer needs to define a buying strategy, analyze a seller’s business model, and uncover what the seller’s company truly is worth.

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Best practices and troubleshooting tips to optimize robotic welding

March 21, 2016 | By Ryan Lizotte

A robotic welding cell is a significant investment that improves productivity and weld quality and ultimately reduces costs. These best practices and troubleshooting tips can help you maximize your ROI.

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Tools for troubleshooting

March 17, 2016 | By Kate Bachman

Trial and error is a difficult, time-consuming, and costly way to try out new parts or find the sources of problems in a stamping operation. Vision systems, “action” cameras, die design simulation, and spectroscopic metallurgy analyzers for material analysis can help stamping manufacturers make adjustments on the front end to save time and money by several magnitudes on the back end.

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Plasma provides pleasant parting process for pipeline project

March 17, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Oxyfuel has been the process of choice for cutting and gouging for field repairs for many years, but the crew on the Seaway 2 project found that a prototype model from Hypertherm provided a faster, quieter, more precise process.

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Can industrial fans and welding mix?

March 17, 2016 | By Scott Moody

How do large industrial fans affect shielding gas coverage in welding environments? The truth is it is tricky but not impossible. With the right testing and support, overhead HVLS fans can work in most welding facilities, while variable-speed column fans can take care of the rest.

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Ready, set, interview

March 17, 2016 | By Dan Turner

Yuba College welding instructor and Practical Welding Today Editorial Advisory Committee member Dan Turner has been on both sides of the interview process. In this first installment of Viewpoint, Turner shares advice for job-searching welders on the art of the job interview.

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Financial benchmarking in metal fabrication

March 16, 2016 | By Dick Kallage

The world is full of surveys these days, and some really don’t have much purpose. Others, however, can be extremely valuable. Industry benchmarking surveys, for instance, can be a vital tool for any company looking to improve. This includes the “Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey” from FMA.

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What’s inside your GTAW torch?

March 16, 2016 | By Jim Watson

Welders are judged by the appearance of their beads, the strength of their welds, and their ability to pass visual and technical inspection. So why shouldn’t you scrutinize your GTAW torch components in the same way that you or someone else would scrutinize your welds? If your GTAW torch doesn’t pass inspection, there’s a good chance that your welds won’t either.

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Two bending processes, two directions, four tooling sets, one machine

March 16, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

As design software becomes more complex, and as engineers strive to differentiate their products from those of their competitors by developing increasingly complex, unique, and aesthetically pleasing products, manufacturers have to keep up. Superior Tube Products Inc., Davenport, Iowa, found that its conventional tube benders weren’t always up to the task, and invested in a twin-head servo-driven machine.

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Getting standard work instructions right for fabricating

March 16, 2016 | By Dave Lechleitner

The goal of any fabricating operation is to discover the safest and most efficient method to produce quality parts. That goal can be achieved only with clear work directions for shop floor employees. Fabricators that follow some basic guidelines, or implement the right software, can make sure they are putting together work instructions that anyone can follow.

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Product development drives growth at Illinois metal fabricator

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The Great Recession nearly killed J-tec Industries, a cart manufacturer in East Peoria, Ill. But the company pulled through and, thanks to its product development efforts, is now experiencing record growth. During the past two years, its workforce has doubled in size.

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In custom metal fabrication, nothing is typical

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Average on-time delivery rates in custom fabrication have remained stubbornly low. Clear, constant communication and transparency can change this. And here software can help, even at the smallest shops.

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Swaging a war on piping system leaks

March 16, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

While welding and threading have their place in pipeline systems, mechanical connectors can be a good alternative, especially in applications subject to shock loading, constant vibration, and thermal cycling. Bolt-on flanges are one example; for small diameters, radially swaged connectors can be even better.

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6 tips for better GTAW results

March 16, 2016 | By Mark Kadlec

Keep these tips in mind for GTAW applications to help you save time and money in rework and to help ensure a quality finished weld. Taking some extra steps in preparation and setup can help you complete the job on schedule and avoid the cost and hassle of troubleshooting or rework later in the welding process.

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