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How do you define good company culture anyway?

March 10, 2015 | By Tim Heston

How does a fabricator build a culture that adopts, embraces, and sustains lean manufacturing? An environment that encourages idea generation may be a good start.

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The Superior way to implement lean manufacturing

March 5, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Editor Eric Lundin interviews two individuals who were key in establishing product flow at Superior Tube Co. Inc., tracing the big steps the company took to go from a conventional push system to a lean pull system.

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Metal fabrication meets a seller’s market

February 18, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing is cool again, and fabricators wanting to sell their business are benefiting from a seller’s market. Nevertheless, high revenue concentration, a shallow talent pool, poor cash flow, reliance on sales from a single sector, and other factors still throw up red flags.

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Why buy new tooling for a sheet metal hand brake?

February 17, 2015 | By Steve Benson

When bending with a hand brake, you can use the tooling that came with the machine, but investing in a tool with a radius on the punch nose has its benefits.

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Are you imprisoned by your information technology?

February 17, 2015 | By Lori Payne

With rapid application deployment platforms, software can be tailored to an individual company's needs in a very short time frame.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Table-driven models

February 16, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows why using a design table makes sense for those models in which reasonably limited changes take place.

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Welding technician and welding technologist—what’s the difference?

February 12, 2015 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Technician, technologist—just semantics, or is there a marked difference between the two? In welding, there is a definite difference.

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An exit strategy for the metal fabrication job shop owner

February 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

In their book Cashing Out of Your Business, authors Kathleen Richardson-Mauro and Jane M. Johnson tackle not just the nuts and bolts of selling an enterprise—revenue concentration, profitability, health of the market—but also the personal elements. When an owner sells a business, his or her life changes in a dramatic way.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Metal marking

January 28, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis walks the CAD operator through the process of creating a drill index.

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The hiring question in metal fabrication: Experience or potential?

January 28, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

Should you hire people with experience or rookies with good potential? It depends on the situation, but training and developing the inexperienced has become more important than ever. There just aren’t enough people with experience to go around.

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Metal fabricators spend big to build capacity

January 22, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Overall projected capital spending growth has slowed from the dramatic rebound seen postrecession, but the growth continues, especially in capacity-building equipment.

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The capacity dilemma in custom metal fabrication

January 20, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

During this long, slow economic recovery, there’s plenty of churn in the market. Customers are less hesitant to change suppliers to get what they want. In this environment, having insufficient capacity has become very risky.

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Rethinking the production meeting

January 12, 2015 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators are better at manufacturing than holding meetings, but some sort of regularly occurring production meeting is needed to get everyone on the same page. Several fabricators offer their opinions as to what works best for them in their production powwow.

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Improving quality through good change: Metcam tackles kaizen

January 9, 2015 | By Bruce Hagenau

All manufacturers seek to improve processes and ROI. Alpharetta, Ga.-based Metcam, a fabricator of sheet metal components and assemblies, has seen significant improvement since beginning its kaizen initiative in late 2013. What follows is the company’s blueprint for kaizen success.

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Flying high at FABTECH

January 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

More than 30,000 visited the FABTECH 2014, a show that had several dominant themes: skilled labor, intuitive manufacturing technology, and supply chain collaboration.

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