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3-D waterjet software ingredients are the right mix for easy operation

March 5, 2015

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Companies have been programming 5-axis waterjet heads for 2-D and 3-D tables for decades. The process has moved from being a time-consuming chore to a couple of clicks, and from requiring extensive process and software knowledge to being operator-friendly.

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Handling structural steel, one truckload at a time

March 5, 2015

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For structural fabrication-and-construction companies, efficiency in logistics is vital. A typical column, beam, truss or joist is handled three times—first to a storage yard, then to a staging area, and finally to the semitrailer. However, this isn’t the only way to do it. Reinicke Athens Inc. recently invested in a straddle carrier from Combilift Ltd. Instead of moving one part at a time, the truck lifts and moves an entire load a time, cutting its trailer-loading time from up to 8 man-hours to as little as 30 minutes.

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The Superior way to implement lean manufacturing

March 5, 2015

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Editor Eric Lundin interviews two individuals who were key in establishing product flow at Superior Tube Co. Inc., tracing the big steps the company took to go from a conventional push system to a lean pull system.

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How a punch press acts like a press brake

March 4, 2015

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Traditionally bending high flanges on a punch press just hasn’t been practical, but new machines and software are changing the situation. Today, flanges up to 3 inches high can be bent not by the press brake, but by special tooling on the punch press.

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4 ways to improve time per bend

March 4, 2015

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The time that a press brake operator spends walking to a control or maneuvering a part is time the customer is not paying for. Those seconds add up over the day and cut into a fab shop's profitability. New approaches to bending, however, can help to remedy that.

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Odessa, oil, and the welding arc

February 19, 2015

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Investors worry about how the drop in oil prices will affect the energy boom. The people on the front lines—including the fabricators and pipe welders—don’t seem to be terribly worried. Some even welcome a slight slowdown, because it will give everyone time to catch up.

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Metal fabrication meets a seller’s market

February 18, 2015

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Manufacturing is cool again, and fabricators wanting to sell their business are benefiting from a seller’s market. Nevertheless, high revenue concentration, a shallow talent pool, poor cash flow, reliance on sales from a single sector, and other factors still throw up red flags.

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Why buy new tooling for a sheet metal hand brake?

February 17, 2015

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When bending with a hand brake, you can use the tooling that came with the machine, but investing in a tool with a radius on the punch nose has its benefits.

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Are you imprisoned by your information technology?

February 17, 2015

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With rapid application deployment platforms, software can be tailored to an individual company's needs in a very short time frame.

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Teaching: A metal fabricator’s secret sauce

February 17, 2015

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Bob Moehlman has welded pipe for more than 50 years, including 30 years at Superior Pipe Fabricators, a Los Angeles-based shop he helped launch in 1984. The shop’s success hasn’t come by using the latest and greatest pipe welding technology, but instead through teaching—showing the inexperienced employees the ropes, developing their talent, and giving them a career.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Table-driven models

February 16, 2015

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Columnist Gerald Davis shows why using a design table makes sense for those models in which reasonably limited changes take place.

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Bending Basics: 6 steps to successful die selection for press brakes

February 16, 2015

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Choosing the right die for an application hinges on the tooling and press brakes you have, and the tonnage limitations of both.

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Welding technician and welding technologist—what’s the difference?

February 12, 2015

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Technician, technologist—just semantics, or is there a marked difference between the two? In welding, there is a definite difference.

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OSHA shines spotlight on metal fabricating

February 10, 2015

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For the sake of maintaining a safe work environment and keeping the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigators out of business operations, metal fabricators should be aware of the areas where they can improve their own safety performance. OSHA’s citations provide a guide to where the focus should go.

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Holy fabrication work!

February 10, 2015

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Design Fugitives of Milwaukee tackled a project for a church that required as much creative muscle as it did fabricating power to bring the ideas to life.

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