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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FMA goes to China

February 8, 2005 | By Scot Stevens

Two weeks after the first FMA China Tour group returned to the U.S., news broke that IBM had entered into talks to sell its PC business to China's largest PC manufacturer, Lenovo. That news came as no surprise to tour participants.

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Platform consolidation gradually erodes supplier business

February 8, 2005 | By Bernard Swiecki

The Big Three are in the midst of a decades long process— platform consolidation. While it will make them more cost-competitive with the Japanese automakers, it also will take away business from tooling and stamping suppliers.

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The real issues behind hydraulic press upgrades:

February 8, 2005 | By Gerry Nord

Upgrading any piece of machinery can produce anxious headaches. Often we cause our own headaches by failing truly to justify the reasons to upgrade, choosing instead simply to answer the question, "Can we afford to spend the money?"Answering that question is really easy. Either the money's...

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Fuel cell useful links

February 7, 2005

Here are some sources for manufacturing projects related to alternative energies:1. Hydrogen Fuel CellFuelCell Energy Co. - Technologies - www.utcpower.comElectroChem, Inc. - www.fuelcell.comGas Technology Institute - www.gastechnology.orgATI...

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10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 2

February 1, 2005 | By John DiGiacomo, Jim Kleckner

So you're ready to go after the biggest customer in the world: the U.S. federal government. It's time to go to that "buyer" and "sell" your company and what it can do. But before you sell to anyone, first you need to realize whom you're dealing with. The federal government is not a single entity, but a collection of usually small buying activities that work separately to purchase or procure the items they are told to get.

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Implementing a stamping sensor program—uphill

January 11, 2005 | By Kate Bachman

Stamper and toolmaker Ultra Tool & Manufacturing, Menomonee Falls, Wis. had been installing basic stamping die protection for 15 years. Whisker sensors, positive stops, and, in some cases, part-out sensors comprised the limited sensor system for dies that ran in automatic mode. However, this system...

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Metal formers: Keep an eye on monitoring program

January 11, 2005 | By Dan Davis

The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a call for comments in August on whether to extend the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system and how to improve the program if it lives on. The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) of Independence, Ohio, which represents hundreds of metal...

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Tackling the costs of employer-provided health care

January 11, 2005

Editor's Note: This article is adapted from "Health Care Costs: Where Do We Go From Here?" presented by Neil Trautwein, assistant vice president, human resources policy, with the National Association of Manufacturers, at the association's Future of Manufacturing Forum July 21, 2004.

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Roll forming basics

January 11, 2005 | By Dan Mennecke

Roll forming, often called open-section forming, uses successive sets of roller dies to bend a strip of steel progressively until the desired shape is achieved. This process is very similar to traditional tube- and pipemaking, but differs in that it can form more complicated sections.

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Balancing work and life

January 11, 2005 | By Vicki Bell

To remain competitive in today's cutthroat economic environment, companies are doing more with fewer people. The tight job market can make even those employees whose work loads haven't increased feel they have to expend more effort—or even create an illusion of having to expend more effort—simply to keep their jobs. No longer is it just the workaholics among us who are working harder and putting in longer hours.

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More about MIG welding

January 11, 2005 | By Marty Rice

Editor's Note: This article is a companion piece to Marty Rice's article MIG welding—The basics and then some. My first time using MIG (also called gas metal arc welding, GMAW) in the field was working on four stainless steel hoppers (tanks) at an Owens Corning plant. X-rays of the hoppers'...

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Leadership lessons from the forge

January 11, 2005 | By Bob Rausch, Ph.D.

One of the benefits of coaching individuals and teams across the country is that I have the opportunity to meet bright, insightful, and creative people. The inspiration and much of the content of this article come from one of those people—Bob Nichols.

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Listening to your parts

January 11, 2005 | By Art Hedrick

Figure 1Even if the scoring is the reason for the split, that doesn't mean that resolving the galling issue will ensure a robust process.I recently had the chance to engage in some very interesting conversation with the head of the sheet metal formability lab for a very large automotive stamper....

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Simplifying shielding gas selection

January 11, 2005 | By Kevin Lyttle, W.F. Garth Stapon

Have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions: Why is welding affected by the shielding gases used? Why are so many blends available for carbon steel? Why can I use some gases for some materials and not others? Answering these questions will help you take the mystery...

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Optimize your plasma performance

January 11, 2005 | By Jim Watson, Jennifer Simpson

Plasma arc welding (PAW) uses plasma, a gas that has been heated to a high temperature and ionized. The plasma becomes electrically conductive, transferring an electric arc to the workpiece through a small orifice.

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