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The Midwest automotive exodus—fact or myth?

July 11, 2006 | By Bernard Swiecki

While the Midwest has not lagged as far behind in international investment as many believe, the financial struggles of the Big Three have been a substantial economic burden for the region over the last three decades.

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Cracking the case

July 11, 2006 | By Keith Packard

Before welding abrasion-resistant plate, it's important to take certain precautions and choose the most appropriate filler metal for your application and weld metal.

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The modern mechanical press

July 11, 2006 | By Dennis Boerger

End-user demands for new product configurations, materials, and press capabilities continue to have an impact on the metal forming arena. Mechanical press design improvements and flexibility are keeping up with stampers' changing applications.

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West coast wrapper

July 11, 2006

Maching tool builder Haas Automation Inc. needed a new approach to minimize labor costs in its internal packaging and shipping operation. The company found its answer with the Yellow Jacket orbital stretch wrap technology.

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Euros zoned in on competing

July 11, 2006 | By Dan Davis

European metal fabricators, among them a stainless steel cabinet-maker, an electronics contract manufacturer, and a commercial refrigerator appliance manufacturer, are staying competitive in the global marketplace with automated material handling systems that feed modern punching, laser cutting, shearing, and bending devices.

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Mission: Spectacular scrap handling operations

July 11, 2006 | By Kate Bachman

Stampers, precariously squeezed by tight margins, high material costs, and increasing pressure to be leaner, have issued a request: we want our scrap handling operations to be faster, trouble-free, and more productive. Fortunately, the latest generation of scrap handling equipment makes that mission possible. New machinery, trending toward a greater use of invisible forces and high-tech gadgetry befitting a spy thriller, is equipped with sensors, edge-guide systems, automation, and magnetic forces, equipment manufacturers say. In addition, significant improvements have been made to the scrap handling equipment itself to save space, minimize jams, and to keep it moving.

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Reaching peak performance, productivity

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.

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Arc welding discontinuities

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.

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Powering up with a punch

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.

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Automating bending, forming operations

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.

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Roll forming using spring-loaded top rolls

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.

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Tube and pipe bending trends

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.

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Lean implementation failures

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.

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21st century stamping material specifications

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.

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Baled out

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.

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