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FABTECH 2016: Closing the loop for manufacturing perfection

January 6, 2017

More than 31,000 attendees came to the Las Vegas Convention Center for FABTECH® 2016. As always, new technologies didn’t disappoint. Exhibitors, conference speakers, and attendees all talked about positive changes ahead, about “closing the loop” to make their manufacturing organization one cohesive, determined unit, ready to compete.

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Anatomy of a robot-based welding system

January 4, 2017 | By Bob Rochelle

A robot is only a part of a robot-based automation system, whether the system is for welding or other applications. Regardless of the application, several components and functions are common to all systems. Controls, communication devices, operator interfaces, sensors, peripheral equipment, parts handling equipment, fixtures, safety features, and cable management devices are common components in all systems. Most projects require some personnel involvement as well.

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Shaping the laser beam for the best cut

January 4, 2017 | By Tim Heston

The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has developed a system that quickly oscillates the beam in specific patterns as it cuts, welds, or otherwise processes material. These patterns have the effect of “shaping” a laser beam, allowing the technician to tailor the beam’s shape to fit the application.

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Understanding modern press brakes

January 4, 2017 | By Paul LeTang

This overview provides a brief discussion of press drives, crowning systems, and tooling setup found on today's press brakes.

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Construction project showcases best of metal fabrication

January 4, 2017 | By Eric Lundin

Editor Eric Lundin interviewed several of the people who were instrumental in the design, fabrication, and installation of the decorative façade that adorns FMA’s new office in Elgin, Ill

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Using key performance indicators to measure progress

January 4, 2017 | By Bill Frahm

To improve a process, you need to measure the results and compare them against expectations. In many instances, a metal former needs to define key performance indicators and keep track of them to determine just how its shop is performing.

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Colorado stamping manufacturer’s solar array sees 5-year ROI

December 15, 2016 | By Kate Bachman

Colorado stamping manufacturer Qualtek Manufacturing installed a solar array on its warehouse and office with a wind power purchase agreement, and replaced inefficient heat treatment furnaces.

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Auto Suppliers Partnership for the Environment builds strong companies 5 ways

December 15, 2016

Considering the competitive state of the automotive industry, any kind of best practices sharing and collaboration among automotive OEMs would seem counter-intuitive. Yet, on the important topic of the environment, major automakers and top suppliers have been doing just that since they formed the...

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Connecting the toolroom with ERP software

December 15, 2016 | By Michael Sweet

Software integration that links toolroom data and processes with the rest of the company can uncover time savings, harmonize schedules, and unleash a wealth of information from which management can improve the business.

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So, you want to be a CWI—Part IV

December 13, 2016 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Joints and symbols are an important part of the test to become a certified welding inspector. This article covers the components of a symbol and discusses different joint types.

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Preheating can be critical to welding success

December 7, 2016 | By Caleb Haven

When do you need to preheat before welding? Which preheating method is correct for your application? What do you need to consider to make the right choice? Read on.

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Perforated metal inspires creative play

December 7, 2016

Balfour Brickner Early Childhood Center at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan wanted a playground system suitable for the rooftop of the building that houses the center. The end result has the right look, plus durability and strength.

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Reimagining the C-clamp

December 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The C-clamp is easy to take for granted. It’s an unchanging, almost timeless part of the typical workbench. It works well enough—but for one structural analyst, it didn’t.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Sheet metal modeling

December 7, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows seven different ways to deliver the same 3-D model.

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The need for estate planning: A sign 'o the times

December 6, 2016 | By Jonathan W. Michael, JD

When Prince died, dealing with his estate wasn’t simple. Believe it or not, owners of metal fabrication and manufacturing businesses could learn a lot about how to preserve the value of their companies and other assets by studying the rock icon’s death.

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