Articles 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, 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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Customer communication and the metal fabricator

October 13, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

Poor communication can lead to serious waste and missed opportunities. That’s why the communications process really should be seen as an extension of continuous improvement.

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The big implications tied to new manganese recommendations

October 11, 2016 | By Frank Cea

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists recently recommended a tenfold decrease in exposure limits for manganese, which are present in welding fumes. This is big news because OSHA typically uses these recommendations as the basis for future regulation updates. Big changes could be coming for metal fabricators

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Could you do more with your plasma cutting system?

October 11, 2016 | By Harry Mellott, Shreyansh Patel

Modern plasma systems can do more than just cut. They can gouge, mark, remove welds, and more. And this applies whether plasma processing occurs using a hand-held torch or a machine torch mounted on a CNC table, robotic arm, or automated track.

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Operator talent: The heart of the plate and angle rolling business

October 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Plate and angle rolling remains extremely dependent on operator skill. According to a U.S. roll shop roundtable discussion held at a Davi angle rolling event in Italy, that skill really is what sets a custom rolling operation apart.

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The smart factory of the future

October 10, 2016 | By Will Healy III

Metal fabricators hoping to survive a global economy and shrinking workforce can look at the trends and “what-ifs” in the next industrial age of connected machines.

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Poor inventory management: The hidden profitability killer in manufacturing

October 10, 2016

Perfectly accurate inventory records will help you improve turns, which frees up cash; improve customer service, because you know what you have when a customer calls; increase shop productivity, because material will be available when needed; and increase profitability, because you won’t be writing off inventory that isn’t there.

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Flow and the metal fabricator: Making it visual

October 10, 2016 | By Chad Vincent

When communication is visual, we see together, know together, and therefore act together.

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R&D Update: Evaluating lubricant using the cup drawing test

October 10, 2016

Lubrication plays an important role in sheet metal forming by affecting metal flow and reducing the possibility of fracture during forming. A number of tests are used to evaluate lubricant performance, including the strip draw test, the twist compression test, and the cup drawing test.The cup...

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Die Science: The basics of troubleshooting die problems

October 10, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

In my career as a consultant, I have experienced numerous die-related problems. Some were complex, and some were easy to solve. But most were solved by following basic die design and troubleshooting guidelines. For a stamping die to function properly, you have to follow three basic die design...

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Marketing for metal fabricators: Don’t pitch, educate

October 10, 2016 | By Bruce McDuffee

A fabricator’s marketing function shouldn’t be about tradeshow booths, brochures, and websites. It’s not there simply to serve the sales function. Instead, marketing reinforces a fabricator’s value proposition and, ultimately, helps drive the direction of the business.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: The 10 laws of die design

October 10, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Q: Can you provide me with some guidelines for die design? A: When it comes to die design, I find there are two best practices to live by: Follow Tom Vacca’s 10 Die Design Laws. Use a die design continuous improvement check list. Following are my 10 Die Design Laws. Look to the...

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Hammering out the return on investment in safety

October 7, 2016 | By John Peabody

The first step in making the case for a return on investment on safety equipment and training is understanding the real costs associated with accidents and illnesses that occur as a result of the workplace environment.

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Uncover the hidden costs of roll forming

October 6, 2016 | By Patrick Kitchen

Tooling is of course a significant cost driver in roll forming. But reducing costs takes more than scrutinizing the number of passes a roll formed cross section requires. It also calls for looking at the big picture and questioning the status quo.

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5 factors driving the punch/laser cutting machine investment

October 5, 2016 | By Brian Welz

Does a punch/laser combination system make sense for your operation? For the answer, consider these five factors: part geometry; process throughput; lean manufacturing; process flexibility; and automation.

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Precision sawing: Mind the miter

October 5, 2016 | By Richard Klipp

Miter cutting tube and other workpieces can be extremely critical, especially when dealing with frameworks and other large assemblies. One seemingly small error in a miter cut can throw a large assembly significantly out of tolerance. This is where automation and precision control in sawing come into play.

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