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mission-critical

Mission-critical metal fabrication

February 17, 2014

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No matter how eye-popping the technology, the means of getting a job done is secondary; the result is primary. This is where General Tool Co.'s "team of experts" appraoch comes into play.

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Inclusions caught with PAUT

February 17, 2014

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Tube and pipe producers are familiar with ultrasonic testing (UT) which, as the name implies, uses high-frequency sound waves to find discontinuities in tube and pipe. While conventional UT is effective for testing raw materials with simple shapes—round tubing, rectangular billet, and rectangular plate—complex shapes such as castings and assemblies need something more. Phased-array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) gets the job done.

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The emergence of Saudi America

February 10, 2014

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Although oil extraction around the world has grown by 50 percent in the last 30 years, it was basically flat in North America until 2008. Higher oil prices have made tar sands oil economically viable, and new extraction techniques have been a boon to U.S. producers. Interviews with a variety of vendors in the forming and fabricating industry reveal the many trends that are driving changes in the equipment and supplies used in the petroleum business.

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Roy Mackey

Art for art's sake

February 10, 2014

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Metal sculptor Roy Mackey took a long, circuitous route to become an artist, and occupies an unusual niche. With no specific art classes or vocational education in his background, he learned metalworking bit by bit, and spends quite a bit of his time making sculptures that are realistic, but too unusual to represent real objects.

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laser photonics

Laser photonics meets shop floor pragmatism

February 10, 2014

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Pragmatism rules the day at Directed Light, a job shop focusing on a wide range of industrial laser applications, from UV to far-infrared.

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stamping

How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014

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At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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small diameter tubing

Taking big strides with small-diameter tubing

February 3, 2014

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After 60 years in business, Superior Tube Co. Inc. found itself at a crossroads. The recession of the early 2000s had taken a toll on U.S. manufacturing, and many companies feared the growing threat from newly industrializing, low-wage countries. The company’s management came up with a strategy to update its manufacturing practices, upgrade its equipment, and prepare its workforce for the challenges associated with global competition. The result, compressing about 15 years’ worth of changes into just two years, has propelled the company forward and earned it the 2014 TPJ Industry Award.

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robotic welding

Robotic welding issues and challenges

February 3, 2014

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Thanks to intuitive teaching, which eliminates the need for highly skilled programmers and saves valuable job setup time, robots now are making inroads in small job shops.

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crimped wire

Creating art that inspires thought

February 3, 2014

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Las Vegas metal artist creates abstract contemporary pieces that make viewers think and let him sleep.

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precision sheet metal

Professionalism in precision sheet metal manufacturing

February 3, 2014

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How does a small western Michigan fabricating shop evolve into a key metal parts supplier to some of the most demanding OEM customers in the world? It is committed to lean manufacturing principles and has made strategic investments in new fabricating technology, but most of all, it has engaged employees that are comfortable with changes that come with continuous improvement efforts.

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Days in the lives

January 30, 2014

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To find time to dedicate to continuous improvement activities, a metal fabricator should have a good idea what employees do every day before assigning additional tasks.

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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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Charles Caristan

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014

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Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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step file

Your friend, the STEP file

January 30, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the STEP file and how it can be used to interact with customers in a more complete way.

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crimped wire

The basics of crimped wire

January 30, 2014

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Precrimped woven wire mesh is a smaller part of the metal fabrication world, but it does have a significant presence in some industrial applications. This overview explains just how the mesh is created and gives metal fabricators an idea of the basic crimp styles that are available.

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