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.
July 11, 2006
Alpine Engineered Products had more business than it could handle: It was straining its resources and personnel in a way that made the company have to look outside its semiautomatic welding practices. Eventually robotic welding helped the company meet its production, lead-time, and turnover challenges—and keep the company growing.
July 11, 2006 | By Elia Levi
Welding discontinuities can affect product performance and longevity. Thoroughly understanding the various defects, their causes, severity, and remedies can help ensure high-quality and superior performance. This article presents an overview of welding defects and discusses design strategies to help prevent them.
July 11, 2006
When Generac Power Systems, a generator manufacturer, went looking for ways to increase the useful life of its punching tooling, it tried several strategies before it settled on the Optima® coating provided by Wilson Tool International® Inc. When Wilson later introduced UltimaT, a tool steel, Generac tried it also. Generac eventually converted all of its punch tooling to the new tool steel and coating.
July 11, 2006 | By Gregory Guilfoyle
Bending and folding of sheet metal components can be approached manually or with automation. The volume—high, medium, or low&—determines the approach.
July 11, 2006 | By Rick Blum
For certain sheet metal applications, roll forming with spring-loaded top rolls is a practical production method. This article explains the process, describes various machine configurations, and outlines the criteria for suitable applications. It also discusses product requirements that are incompatible with this process.
July 11, 2006 | By Eric Lundin
Interviews with several tube-bending equipment-makers reveal that tube bending is becoming more complex every day, for a number of reasons. Manufacturers try to decrease material usage and go to stronger, difficult-to-bend materials with thinner walls; many manufactured items are smaller than ever before; and bends have to be smoother, especially in exhaust systems. Meanwhile, fabricators are split into two camps: High-volume OEM that are increasingly dependent on advanced controls and flexible workcells, and job shops that still get by on less sophisticated, manually operated equipment.
July 11, 2006 | By Richard Kallage
The most important parts of lean implementation are preparation—especially an objective assessment and development of the business and technical cases for lean—leadership that can get things done, appropriate training, resolution of people issues, and well-designed deployment methods.
July 11, 2006 | By Edmund Herman
Advanced technology in the metal stamping industry has rendered obsolete traditional methods of selecting, specifying, and supplying material. Using modern technology to quantify materials can reduce the occurrence of material variation exceeding the die and process capabilities and make die development a much more efficient process.
July 11, 2006
With growth coming fast and future expansions likely, this Tier 1 auto supplier replaced its capacity-limited scrap baling system with an autoloading conveyor system to maximize ROI and productivity.
June 16, 2006 | By Edmund Herman
In draw forming, measurement and quantification are essential to ensuring part quality for the customer. However, the product requirements and the product input variables have different metrics and different conceptual meanings, which seems to defy direct engineering. Three processing variables can be adjusted during production to ensure the part is formed correctly.
Vault-structured sheet metal undergoes very little strain hardening during structuring, so it can be deformed further into shapes such as cans, containers, washing machine drums, thin-walled detector tubes, heat exchangers, and light reflectors.
Although the last step in the bidding process is to submit your bid, your final step in working with the government is never to give up and to apply what you learned throughout the process to every government job opportunity.
June 13, 2006
The ironing test developed at the ERC/NSM reproduces production conditions of contact pressure up to 94 kilopounds per square inch (KSI) and temperatures up to 300 degrees F to quantitatively evaluate lubricant performance.
June 13, 2006
In recent studies, dry-film lubricants have been shown to give better lubrication conditions compared to oil-based liquid lubricants. This factor, as well as savings in the amount of lubricant used, has helped increase the use of dry-film lubricants in the automotive industry for forming of aluminum and high-strength steel stamped parts.
June 13, 2006 | By Paul Tauzer
Hydroforming has become a favored technology for automotive parts because it allows manufacturers to increase a component's strength, reduce its weight, and reduce the number of parts in an assembly. Another important benefit, one that is often overlooked, is the increase in design freedom this technology allows. Engineers and designers must be aware of the factors that restrict design freedom, such as material characteristics and press limitations, and alternatives such as annealing and axial feeding that help work around these limitations.