Articles

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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Next-gen biobased lubricants, materials offer performance advantages over petro-based

November 18, 2016

While biobased solutions earned past skepticism, the next generation can offer high value in specialty chemicals, biopolymers, and advanced materials, according to Lux Research.

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Compact coil feed lines: small size, large impact

November 18, 2016 | By Nicholas Miller

Profitable part processing begins with a small footprint. a compact coil line does not need a loop and pit because the coil is mounted above the leveler and feeding mechanisms. A compact line has many of the same capabilities as a conventional line but occupies less floor space and, often, with simplified operation. Even at its small size—less than half the size of a standard line—it can handle thick and strong materials. These floor-space savers can process coils up to 20 tons with widths up to 59 inches (1,500 millimeters) and thicknesses between 0.031 and 0.47 in. (0.8 and 12 mm).

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Xtreme MRO keeps heavyweight stamper on track (video enhanced)

November 18, 2016 | By Kate Bachman

If an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure, what is it worth when you’re stamping thousands of tons? To Rockford Toolcraft, it’s priceless. The $100 million annual sales stamping manufacturer specializes in stamping heavy-gauge material up to ¾ inch thick. Its maintenance, repair, overhaul program must be topnotch to keep operations moving. The millwrights and electricians who maintain, repair, and overhaul the 60 massive, high-tonnage mechanical presses are highly skilled, very experienced, and ready at a moment’s notice to get the presses back on track ASAP. Here’s how the company keeps its fleet of presses humming.

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When family matters

November 17, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Huffman Welding & Machine Inc., a family-owned and -operated job shop in southeastern Iowa, has always had big goals to grow and thrive in a competitive economic climate. So far they have been able to strike the right balance between pursuing those goals while maintaining the emphasis on people and their community – their family.

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Need welders? Automation can help!

November 16, 2016 | By Chris Anderson

Finding good welders is a real issue for some fab shops, but so is the anxiety attached to integrating robotic welding to help fill the gaps. Pinpointing the appropriate skill set for robotic welding programmers is important to ensure you have the right person in place to run the machine. Industry also has stepped up to deliver systems that make robotic programming easier and faster for individuals who have limited programming training.

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How to choose the right wire and flux for SAW

November 16, 2016 | By Robert Fox

Discovering as much as possible about the application’s requirements helps identify potentially costly and time-consuming conflicts between expectations and reality during the selection process, as opposed to during implementation. Most important, answering the following key questions provides insight into the big question: Which wire and flux is best for you?

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What makes an air bend sharp on the press brake?

November 16, 2016

Press brake operators use rules of thumb when it comes to determining sharp bends. But what truly determines the point at which a bend turns sharp is the relationship between the punch nose radius, the tonnage required to form, and the shear strength of the material.

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Using strengths and experiences to boost profitability

November 14, 2016 | By Bill Frahm

Metal formers are more than just suppliers of stamped parts. They understand how material reacts during the forming process and how downstream processes can be set up to handle stamped parts efficiently. This is valuable knowledge and should be shared with customers to solidify relationships and possibly boost revenue opportunities.

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So, you want to be a CWI—Part III

November 10, 2016 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Continuing his series to help you prepare to become a certified welding inspector, Carlisle Smith focuses on welding wires and rods with some metallurgical information thrown in for good measure.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Modeling a ribbon cable

November 8, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers techniques for adding ribbon cable connections to 3-D models

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Making sense of manufacturing acronyms

November 8, 2016 | By Stu Johnson

The enterprise software space has hundreds of three-letter acronyms—from MRP and ERP to MOM and MES—that represent technologies that help make managing business processes easier.

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Job security in manufacturing: Why all the negativity?

November 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The labor market is tight. Wages are going up. In metal fabrication, small companies are paying just as well if not better than bigger firms, according to a recent survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International®. Considering all this, why all the negativity? High uncertainty about the future may have something to do with it.

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Share the lean manufacturing knowledge

November 7, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

As you pursue your lean journey, you create knowledge. What you do with that knowledge can predict how successful your lean efforts will be. If you tell the workforce only the bare minimum, then you are probably leaving lots of improvement potential on the table.

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Artist keeps ’em guessing

November 3, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Metal artist Chris O’Rourke goes a little further than most artists do, focusing on attention to detail. Many fabricators are more than a little mystified as to just how he did what he did, and most are equally perplexed when they realize how much time and effort he puts into his work.

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Structural fabricator has trial-by-fire leadership succession

November 3, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Bass Mechanical, a mechanical contractor and structural fabricator in southeast Pennsylvania, has transformed during the past two years. The company founder died unexpectedly, and his 27-year-old son, who at one point did not plan to enter the family business, is setting the stage for long-term growth.

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