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R&D Update: Forming aluminum alloys at elevated temperatures, Part 1

June 11, 2015

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To reduce vehicle weight, automotive manufacturers are using advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) and aluminum alloys, formed at room temperature, as well as hot stamping of boron steels. A few OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers also have started warm forming aluminum alloys, usually 5000 and 6000 series,...

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Using cored wire in submerged arc welding applications

June 11, 2015

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Like all arc welding processes, submerged arc welding (SAW) requires the right consumables for the specific application to achieve optimal results. Are cored wires right for yours?

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Die Science: Slug pulling—Causes and solutions

June 11, 2015

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Slug pulling in a stamping die can be costly and frustrating. One pulled slug can cripple production. What Is Slug Pulling? When a pierce punch creates a hole, it also produces scrap, called the slug. When the slug sticks to the face of the punch during withdrawal or comes out of the button...

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Ask the Expert: Upfront spending reaps long-term savings

June 10, 2015

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Q: The cost of building new progressive dies has gone up substantially in the past few years. I am struggling, and in many cases lose money, on my tool builds. How is the industry expected to cope? A: This is a common problem throughout the metal stamping arena. It’s not easy to remain...

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When It Pays to Spend

June 9, 2015

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Specialized press brake tooling increases productivity, reduces operator fatigue, solves problems

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A waterjet pump primer

June 8, 2015

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Knowing the basics of waterjet pumps allows a fabricator to figure out just what technology makes sense for the work on the shop floor and just what type of commitment is necessary to run that pump technology successfully.

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Better ideas, better growth at Texas metal fabricator

June 3, 2015

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Special Products & Mfg. Inc., a custom fabricator in Rockwall, Texas, has transformed its culture. A decade ago it was a command-and-control environment. Today, ideas from front-line workers drive improvement.

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Upskilling – What it means and where it stands

June 3, 2015

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Much attention has been given to the skills gap, a critical issue affecting manufacturing. The Upskill Summit held in April provided an opportunity for manufacturers and other entities to explore concrete measures to alleviate the gap by upskilling workers. Summit participant Traci Tapani, co-president, Wyoming Machine, discusses the initiative.

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Going vertical: Distributor expands into stamping, metal fabrication, and assembly

June 3, 2015

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Millenia Products Group launched as a distributor in 2001, but from the very start it had plans for vertical integration down the supply chain. Today it offers distribution, stamping, roll forming, fabrication, and full assembly services—all in one organization.

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The 2015 FAB 40: The largest custom metal fabricators grow even bigger

June 3, 2015

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The 2015 FAB 40 shows a growing industry, with some of the largest shops posting the biggest revenue gains over last year. Will such growth lead to more industry consolidation? For some industrial sectors, probably, but for other areas of metal fabrication, probably not.

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Troubleshooting, traceability for tube, pipe producers

June 2, 2015

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The adage “two heads are better than one” can be applied to tube and pipe mill monitoring systems. Monitoring the forming process is a good idea, and monitoring the welding process is too, but using a combination system that measures both yields additional benefits.

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Adding to the arsenal of metal cutting technologies

June 2, 2015

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Despite having low- and high-powered laser cutting machines and two waterjets, a fabrication shop recognized that it might have a need for more laser cutting capacity. To fill that gap, Advanced Laser & Waterjet Cutting installed a 1-kW CO2 laser cutting machine.

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Flight of a complex progressive stamping--from customer print to finished part

June 1, 2015

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A complex stamped component begins its journey as a part print. Then a CAD layout drawing marks the progression; a 3-D model fleshes out the form and indicates any possible interference; and the die is put through a test run before the first part is produced.

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Fabricator turns up the heat

June 1, 2015

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When A.O. Smith, the company known for developing the glass-lined residential water heater, had a bottleneck at its resistance welding station and sought an alternate welding method. It had been making a lap welding on galvanized steel by resistance welding, but this trapped vaporized zinc; escaping vapors weakened the weld. A new method, a butt weld performed by laser welding, doesn’t trap the vapors, leaving a visually appealing weld that is essentially free of defects.

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Precision sheet metal bending, bump by bump

June 1, 2015

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Bump bending remains more art than science, especially for large and thick workpieces, but using the right tools and setup procedures help make this challenging brake operation much more efficient.

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