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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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Selecting a tube end forming method

September 12, 2006 | By Rob Dean

Fabricators that need to do end forming have many choices. Even after narrowing the process down to using a ram or segmented tooling, choices abound-the tooling can form the ID, the OD, or both; and operation can be manual or CNC. Understanding the processes and their capabilities are the keys to choosing the best one for the application.

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Bridging the challenges

September 12, 2006 | By Stephanie Vaughan

A good design doesn't guarantee challenge-free fabrication in the bridge industry, as one fabricator found out. Despite material availability obstacles, stringent welding requirements, and massive pipe cutting needs, Stinger Welding and the design team it worked with pulled off a winning pipe bridge design in six months.

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New forms for modern autobody stamping

September 12, 2006 | By Jens Aspacher

With the introduction of stronger safety legislation and increased fuel prices, auto manufacturers must respond with higher car body stiffness for safety and lower body weight for fuel efficiency. The fields of materials development, engineering, and manufacturing are working together to achieve autobody weight reduction with improved crash characteristics.

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Leaning on press brake tooling

September 12, 2006 | By Pat Campbell

Press brake tooling can play a significant role in minimizing setup, reducing WIP, increasing throughput, and minimizing waste—the goals of lean manufacturing. Some new developments are staged bending, push-button loading, sectionalized tooling, and precision-ground tools.

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GMAW guns: More than a commodity

September 12, 2006 | By Bill Giese

Many welders think of GMAW guns as just a commodity. However, all of the parts in a GMAW gun have a direct impact on the time it takes to make a weld and its quality.

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Hanging on to your skilled workers

September 12, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

With skilled labor becoming scarcer, employers must strengthen their retention efforts. This article discusses the main reasons workers leave jobs and includes comments from metal fabricators about these reasons. It also includes tips for overcoming the reasons and links to resources that can help you develop your retention strategy.

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Fabricators in search of skilled workers

September 12, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

A recent survey of metal fabricators shows that the vast majority of fabricating companies desperately need skilled labor. These companies are employing various methods to find qualified workers and to compensate for the shortage. Despite the difficulty finding skilled labor, some fabricators would not encourage young people to pursue careers in manufacturing.

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Starting a portable GTAW business (Part II)

September 12, 2006 | By Phil Evans

Starting a portable GTAW business takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it also requires some solid business knowledge before getting started. It's important to learn about what equipment you need, how to set it up, and how to evaluate your welding before you take your first job.

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Why settle for good enough?

August 20, 2006 | By Woodruff Imberman

A survey reviewed the operations of 24 steel pipe and tube manufacturers. Only a minority of these showed signs of having well-run, efficient operations, as measured by on-time shipments, minimal inventory and work-in-progress, employee turnover, internal rework rates, and most importantly, profitability. In fact, a good number of steel pipe and tube producers in this sample barely reach the average. Interviews with presidents of some companies found that inertia was a common characteristic among the low margin companies. Good enough was good enough.

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The ups and downs of employee communication

August 20, 2006 | By Woodruff Imberman

Author's Note: This article is a supplement to "Why settle for good enough?" which appeared in the December 2002 issue of TPJ-The Tube & Pipe Journal, page 42. "Why settle for good enough" was based on a study of 24 Midwestern tube and pipe fabricators and reviewed why some where highly profitable...

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Tailoring incentives to employees' needs

August 20, 2006 | By Woodruff Imberman

An appeal to business owners to look past bonuses to a new way of structuring incentives for their employees

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Starting a portable GTAW business (Part III)

August 8, 2006 | By Phil Evans

Starting a portable GTAW business takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it also requires some solid business knowledge before getting started. It's important to learn about what equipment you need, how to set it up, and how to evaluate your welding before you take your first job.

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Draw forming, Part III

August 8, 2006 | By Edmund Herman

The connections between product conditions and product input variables for draw forming must be made through the intermediary transformation characteristics: plastic strains and displacements. So all product requirements must be redefined as the changes (or transformations) required of those two characteristics.

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Warm forming of stainless steels - Part II

August 8, 2006 | By Ajay Yadav, Giovanni Spampinato, Taylan Altan, Ph.D.

The ERC/NSM conducted experiments using round cup tooling to determine the influence of temperature on the limiting draw ratio – the largest draw ratio of the blank-to-cup diameter that can be drawn successfully.

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Modern flying shear tube cutoff systems - Part II

August 8, 2006 | By John Pavelec

This article, Part II of a two-part series, discusses the different types of die set accelerators found in flying shear tube cutoff systems. It presents an overview of earlier accelerator technologies still in use today—cam link, assisted lift target, and air/oil units. It also discusses three common closed-loop die set accelerators that represent newer technology—hydraulic servo valve, servomotor belt, and servomotor rack and pinion.

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