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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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The big squeeze

February 7, 2006 | By Kathleen McLaughlin

Three companies dominating the market is a distant memory as Japanese and European automakers' market shares steadily increase. The Big Three has evolved into the New 6 that includes Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. Suppliers tied to the Big Three will have to make a negative adjustment to remain profitable.

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Are you still settling for good enough?

February 7, 2006 | By Woodruff Imberman

A study of executives at several tube and pipe fab shops revealed that the executives and managers are ensnared by four potential traps: talking instead of doing, failing to see the big picture, avoiding listening, and failing to communicate.

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Die basics 101: Part VI

February 7, 2006 | By Art Hedrick

Previous articles in this series discussed common stamping die components. This article focuses on less common specialty components found only in certain dies, most of which are available from various suppliers.Figure 1Inidie Tapping UnitsImage courtesy of Danly IEM.In-die Tapping UnitsMany dies...

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Tube Hydroforming Design Flexibility—Part IX:

February 7, 2006 | By Gary Morphy

In this article Gary Morphy reviews high-pressure and pressure sequence hydroforming and discusses factors to consider when deciding which process is best for a particular application. The decision should be based in part on anticipating future needs.

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Hanging it up

February 7, 2006 | By Marty Rice

In his farewell article for thefabricator.com, reader-favorite author and welding instructor Marty Rice reflects on his life, his welding career, writing for the Web site, and his appreciation for the readers who have contacted him throughout the years. He also expresses his view about the decline of welding training programs.

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A new energy in appliance manufacturing

February 7, 2006 | By Stephanie Vaughan

In January 2006, a new 13 SEER mandate for appliancemakers takes effect. Although it isn't the only thing driving change in manufacturers' product designs, it is providing a springboard for manufacturers to make changes in their products that will help meet increasing customer demands.

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10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 6

February 7, 2006 | By John DiGiacomo, Jim Kleckner

When you price out your bid, you get to be the expert - but that also means a lot of responsibility. Learn what you need to know to price out your bid to the federal government.

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Simplicity 'n' press brakes

February 7, 2006 | By Dan Davis

Simplicity Manufacturing Inc. of Port Washington, Wis., needed new press brakes because it was about to increase its laser cutting capacity. The outdoor power equipment manufacturer turned to a vendor of Turkish-built press brakes for help and found the answer for which they were looking.

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Feeling overwhelmed with pressures?

February 7, 2006 | By Michael P. Schollmeier

Stampers face increasing pressure, from external and internal customers, every day. This, combined with increasing responsibilities, can cause production personnel to feel overwhelmed. Long die changeovers gobble up precious time that could be used for better purposes, leaving many production teams operating in a firefighting mode. Doing a thorough time study and using the results to eliminate time-wasting steps is the first step in implementing quick die change, freeing up some time for value-added activities, and getting control over your production processes.

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Making your way as a job shop today

February 7, 2006 | By Stephanie Vaughan

No matter how you start up your own job shop, it takes a delicate balance to become - and remain - successful. Profitability certainly helps, but so do flexibility and diversification.

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Don't get stuck

February 7, 2006 | By Mike Wilks

Magnetic soft-belt conveyors can feed presses and transport parts from one workstation to another or from production to inspection, storage, or packaging operations. If you work with ferrous metal coils or sheets, a magnetic system may help improve plant efficiency, safety and reduce costs.

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Selecting equipment for maximum productivity

February 7, 2006 | By Eric Lundin

H. Meeuwsen B.V., a fabricator in Yerseke, Netherlands, found that purchasing a laser that could handle parts up to 12 m long greatly enhanced its capabilities. It augmented this purchase with a tandem press brake. One side of the brake has an 8-m capacity; the other has a 4-m capacity. This gives the company the ability to bend 12-m parts, if necessary, or to run the two brakes simultaneously for smaller items. Subsequent growth in customer demand led the company to consider purchasing a second laser. A careful analysis revealed that the company could do just fine with a smaller laser, so it purchased a laser with a 3-m capacity.

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Imagination fabrication

February 7, 2006 | By Kate Bachman

BCI Burke, Fond du Lac, Wis., is the oldest playground and park and recreation equipment manufacturer in the country. As the company grew and its product offerings and colors multiplied, it found it needed to address problems with long leadtimes. Burke looked at every possibility for improvement, including processes improvements, inventory organization, manufacturing equipment purchases, and personnel productivity improvements, including crosstraining.

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Understanding press feeds

February 7, 2006 | By Bruce Grant

Major technology shifts in how stamping presses are fed have allowed press feed technology to evolve, enabling stampers to realize increased processing speeds, improved processing flexibility, easier setup, and better quality and reliability. Even with today's advancements, a press feed must meet three basic and important criteria to be successful: Setup must be flexible. It must deliver the material with sufficient precision into the tool and die. It must feed at the correct time. Advancements in feed technology include pilot release, space-saving line configurations, transfer/progressive operations, and scratch-free processing.

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Happy New Year!

January 10, 2006 | By W.B. "Bud" Graham

How can we make 2006 better than 2005? One way is to adopt a few work-related new year's resolutions. The author lists five factors that hold the industry back--factors that everyone should resolve to overcome for a successful year.

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