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Documentation keeps the knowledge in-house

August 11, 2016 | By Shannon Bennett, Simon Spencer

Every noteworthy quality improvement methodology calls for observation, analysis, planning, measuring, and reviewing work processes to get better results than achieved previously. For any of this to be successful, manufacturers need to document work instructions, corrections, and goals.

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Better business processes, smoother days

August 11, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

So many shop managers operate in firefighting mode. They call customers, suppliers, employees, and bosses to explain, apologize, and then shift into high gear to “Git-R-Done.” As columnist Jeff Sipes explains, that really has no place in manufacturing.

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Accounting for time in metal fabrication

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Traditional cost accounting treats inventory as an asset and, according to the author of a new book, does not capture the true costs of long lead times. A new accounting method, which complies with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), aims to correct this.

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Metal fabrication for the visually impaired

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Beyond Vision, a not-for-profit organization that employs people who are visually impaired and blind, has an eight-person machine shop that recently delved into metal fabrication. The company’s story shows just how much these people can contribute to a job shop operation.

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Projection welding of fasteners to hot-stamped boron steel

August 8, 2016 | By Allen M. Agin, Bob Kollins

Only 10 years ago, the use of boron steel was in its infancy. Today it’s found in a large number of automotive applications. That’s led to new research about the material. One area of focus has been in the projection welding of fasteners to this type of material.

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Miles ahead with design and welding

August 4, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Fed up with waiting on his welding subcontractor, an owner of a landscape design company regained control and gets a creativity boost by learning how to weld.

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AI Industries builds with automation push

August 4, 2016 | By Robert Colman

Some people look at automation in a manufacturing setting as a threat to future job creation. That’s not the case for Surrey, B.C., Canada-based AI Industries. It has invested in automated processing equipment for its structural steel fabricating business and grown its work force simultaneously.

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Staying safe while using oxyfuel torches

August 3, 2016 | By Dave Marquard, Kurt Tarkany

The mere presence of oxygen in any sort of industrial application raises the chances of a catastrophic incident. Oxygen safety devices can help to reduce that likelihood.

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A fabricator founded on operator skill

August 3, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In quiet, rural New Ulm, Minn., technicians at DLC Manufacturing & Fabrication are perfecting the craft of cutting and bending sheet metal and plate, making clean cuts in steel 1.5 in. thick (and even thicker). It’s a small shop where skill runs deep.

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Electron beam or laser beam welding?

August 2, 2016 | By John DeLalio

Both laser welding and electron beam welding produce extremely high quality joints. Many consider laser welding first, simply because it’s less costly in many circumstances—but not all. Which to choose depends, as always, on the job at hand.

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Augmented reality reaches the manufacturing floor

August 2, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Augmented reality (AR) remains an emerging technology, but it eventually could change how hands-on tasks in manufacturing get done.

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Reducing headaches associated with slag on laser grating

August 2, 2016 | By Dave Fox, Eric Chalmers, Mark Jeans

Slats in a laser cutting machine don't look important, but they can be the key to an efficient laser cutting operation. Fabricators need to stay on top of keeping slag off the slats to achieve high-quality parts and to ensure the laser cutting machine remains in operation.

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A review of steel microstructures

August 1, 2016 | By Daniel J. Schaeffler

This primer provides metal fabricators and formers with a quick lesson on how one type of steel differs from another. As “impurities” are added to the element in its natural state, the atomic structure grows more complicated and gains more strength.

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A novel approach to pipe welding automation

July 29, 2016 | By Soroush Karimzadeh

Pipe welding often requires frequent adjustments to changing conditions. Some changes are significant enough to make automation impractical. Today, though, collaborative robotics is helping to make pipe welding automation more flexible.

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Robotic plasma cutting gets flexible

July 29, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It used to take days or weeks to program a robotic plasma cutting cell. Now, like in welding, robotic plasma cutting has become much more flexible and adaptable. Offline programming and simulation, as well as flexible components of the robot cell itself, have made this possible.

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