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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Tools for proofreading

August 12, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis explains why proofreading is not just the domain of copy editors and how a CAD software function can help with the proofing job.

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Reusing recycled abrasives in waterjet cutting?

August 7, 2014

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When it comes to waterjet cutting, most metal fabricators rely on virgin garnet as the abrasive that’s used in conjunction with the waterjet stream. After cutting is concluded, the abrasive can be collected and recycled as a filler for other construction-related products. An Auburn, Wash.-based company, however, thinks it has found a way to take the recycled material and return it to an almost-new state.

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Lean data flow: From CAD to ERP to the shop floor

August 7, 2014

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Fabricators sell their ability to produce the right part in the right quantity and at the right time, and to do that requires good information. Communication troubles arise if front office systems don’t communicate with each other, and this can include CAD and ERP.

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The transformative power of the laser

August 6, 2014

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The laser has helped define the modern precision metal fabrication industry, and this year’s Advanced Laser Applications Workshop shows just how far the laser has come. Blink once, and you miss another technological milestone.

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How to build a little of everything, every day

August 6, 2014

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Legrand’s West Hartford facility has been on the lean journey for several decades, and the journey hasn’t stopped. The focus continues to be on clear communication and documentation, good metrics, ergonomics and safety, staff incentives—and producing a little of everything every day.

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Automobiles and artwork

August 4, 2014

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For Monty Kollath, a degree in commercial art and a career in automotive repair work provided a nice living and positioned him well for a little moonlighting as a metal artist. However, Kollath had one more factor in his favor—his job in the auto repair field provides an endless supply of cast-off items suitable for metal sculpture.

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Keeping pace with better ergonomics

August 4, 2014

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Every employee at Pentair operates under PIMS, or the Pentair Integrated Management System. PIMS encompasses everything from continuous improvement and hiring practices to safety and ergonomics. Concerning the last, the company instituted new material handling technology within a tightly run tank fabrication line in Delavan, Wis. The line has no WIP and, hence, little margin for error.

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Is a press brake or plate roll the right tool for the job?

August 4, 2014

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Some metal fabricating shops rely on press brakes and bump forming to make cylindrical shapes, while others are more adept at using plate rolling machines. This feature explores the factors involved in determining whether a press brake or a plate roller is the right machine for the job.

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A fabricator and community college partnership

July 31, 2014

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When metal fabricator Shickel Corp. sought to boost the overall skill level of its employee base in the face of a more competitive business environment, it went back to school. More specifically, it sought the local community college to help craft a curriculum and implement a class structure to deliver the improved math and shop skills it desired.

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Camera-based measurement system sends waves of productivity through fabrication shop

July 31, 2014

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When Bob Burns, owner of Aero Bending Co., Palmdale, Calif., moved his company to a new and bigger location, he considered adding to the company’s fleet of benders. However, a number of bending machine operators often lined up to measure bent components, creating a bottleneck. Changing to an optical inspection system cleared this bottleneck.

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The people and processes behind poka-yoke

July 31, 2014

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Like anything related to continuous improvement, mistakeproofing requires the right processes, but, perhaps even more important, it also requires the right people. With the right people and processes, real change is possible.

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Scheduling high-mix, low-volume operations

July 30, 2014

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Scheduling remains one of the most complicated, least predictable aspects of contract metal fabrication. But why is this exactly, and what can a shop do to change this? In this first article in a series, Dick Kallage uncovers the answers.

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Stamping with a better idea

July 29, 2014

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Cleveland-based Stripmatic Products strives to add more customer value by focusing on additional operations and asking what else customers may need. This led the company to a unique setup involving a servo press and a fiber laser welding cell.

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Tough optics for extreme laser welding

July 29, 2014

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Engineers at EWI have developed laser welding optics tailored for high-power applications.

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Keeping sheets and parts moving with automation

July 29, 2014

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Modern laser cutting technology can achieve speeds of more than 400 inches per minute, and that puts pressure on the automation used to load sheets and unload cut parts and skeletons. If the automated material handling system can’t keep up, the fabricator won’t be able to maximize uptime on the laser cutting machine.

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