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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January 10, 2006 | By David Bell
Many factors can affect laser processing efficiency. This article, Part I of a two-part series, stresses laser system maintenance and discusses factors that can affect beam quality and efficiency—namely, impurities introduced by laser gases and gas supply systems and how to prevent them. It also has a supply system requirements list. Part II discusses beam delivery to the workpiece and the gases used to process the material.
January 10, 2006 | By Jim Berge
Success with robotics depends on many factors. Purchasing the right equipment is not enough. A company's political environment and policies regarding robotics can make or break a robotic project. This article discusses poor politics and policies and offers suggestions for achieving the right robotic environment.
Portable technology is available that can help fabricators positively identify the alloys used in a weldment. This is especially critical when a fabricator is trying to match a filler alloy to a base alloy and application.
January 10, 2006
Companies should develop a written fall protection plan and maintain it on the job site. The plan must describe how your company will protect workers on a given work site when employees are working 10 feet or more above the ground, other work surfaces, or water.
January 10, 2006 | By Steve Beckman
Shopping around for a welding gases distributor involves several key issues critical to a successful long-term business-distributor relationship.
Torches, cables, and cooling are three integral components in gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) equipment, and two cooling methods – air and water – are used in their cooling systems. Although GMAW and GTAW are different processes, the advantages and disadvantages of water- and air-cooled systems are the same. For that reason, you should consider similar factors when choosing a GMAW or GTAW system.
January 10, 2006 | By Stephanie Vaughan
The welding industry may be the only one forecast to show any growth between now and 2012, but growth in the U.S. is threatened by a number of factors: skilled worker shortages, welding rod litigation; and what some consider the need for greed among business executives.
January 10, 2006 | By Dr. John H. Olsen
Clamping the workpiece against sideways motion and weighting it against vertical motion will prevent part loss and improve part quality in waterjet machining. This article offers practical fixturing suggestions for both cutting from flat sheet and adding features to existing parts.
January 10, 2006 | By Vicki Bell
A recent CFO survey found that only 7 percent of businesses are preparing for a potential avian flu pandemic. Preparation is important for this and other events that can disrupt business and endanger employees. Guidelines include training and preparing an ancillary work force. Cross-training current employees and documenting processes can help.
January 10, 2006 | By Joel Pierson
Many fabricators use fairly rudimentary methods to keep turret press punch tooling stored, but often tooling isn't really organized. A common method is to store tooling horizontally and group tooling by station (A-station tools a grouped together, B-station tools together, etc.). Storing them vertically and grouping them by size (all rounds go together, regardless of station) leads to an elegant and simple organization.
January 10, 2006 | By Eric Lundin
Two big tradeshows, Schweissen & Schneiden (Essen, Germany) and the FABTECH® International/AWS Welding Show (Chicago) highlighted several of the trends that have emerged in the welding industry during the last couple of years. Senior Editor Eric Lundin reviews many of the recent developments in arc and laser welding, and the growing use of another joining technology, adhesive bonding.