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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Design evolution from invention to manufacturing

July 11, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers how designs evolve from invention to manufacturing and how various CAD techniques might best be used.

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Maximize your move

July 8, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Everyone knows that moving is not easy, especially when you are talking about moving a business. Dennis Donovan, a site selection consultant, provides an overview of the main considerations that a metal fabricator should keep in mind as it looks to make a major move.

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Metal fabrication and metrics: Measure what matters

July 8, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

An operation with poor or nonexistent performance metrics is a magnet for lots of confusion and disruption. Poor metrics often have a narrow focus that can negatively affect the whole organization. Conversely, good metrics support the business and its mission.

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5 ways that CAD/CAM nesting software impacts the bottom line

July 1, 2016 | By Alyson Schoenung

Modern CAD/CAM nesting software can assist metal fabricators looking to reduce costs related to raw material spending, production labor, parts programming, and work order creation.

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All you need to know about the heat-affected zone

June 28, 2016 | By Andrea Bustreo

Any thermal cutting or welding process changes the material makeup of the workpiece. This heat-affected zone can make downstream processing of the metal a bit more unpredictable.

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The 2016 FAB 40: Planning their next move

June 22, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It’s been quite a run. Over the past four years many FAB 40 companies have reported big revenue gains. In 2015, not so much, at least on average. Sales at some big companies either held steady or declined somewhat, mainly thanks to weak markets that by now every fabricator knows about: oil and...

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Modeling with surfaces, patterns, and configurations

June 20, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the use of equations, configurations, design tables, and specific modeling tools for creating 3-D models of paper and cake.

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Metal fabrication and the buying experience

June 17, 2016 | By Tim Heston

SixAxis, a fabricator of safety platforms, portable stairs, and other industrial products, developed its own software with quoting, customer relationship management, and product configuration features. According to sources, software changed the customer buying experience, which in turn helped the company quintuple in size over six years.

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A metal fabricator you can’t pigeonhole

June 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

IMS Engineered Products’ revenue has increased by 45 percent during the past five years. How? The fabricator is part of a larger organization, IMS Companies, with diverse revenue streams coming from gear manufacturing, stamping, electrical harness assembly, and more. But IMS’s story of growth really boils down to a straightforward strategy: quick response.

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Lean, large, and keeping pace

June 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Ironform Corp. formed in 2013 after Wynnchurch Capital purchased two large metal fabricators. But Ironform’s story is more about scaling up metal fabrication through acquisition. It’s about adapting the principles of lean manufacturing to custom metal fabrication—on a large scale.

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Scaling up metal fabrication: In support of the front line

June 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

General Sheet Metal Works has experienced double-digit growth in recent years. For a $70 million operation, that’s saying something. And yet, the company has few growing pains to speak of—thanks to a new business structure that has made scaling up much easier.

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How equipment can help relieve the skilled-worker shortage

June 9, 2016 | By Michelle Howell

If you need more workers and you’re having a difficult time finding them, perhaps you should explore equipment options that can mitigate the need for more help. For example, some welding tables can eliminate the need for extra hands.

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Engaging people on the shop floor: Turn underutilized employees loose

June 3, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

Keeping all employees engaged all the time isn’t easy, but the benefits are substantial. Ultimately, such engagement unleashes employee talent.

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One metal manufacturer, one name, many services

June 3, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Merrill Technologies Group, Saginaw, Mich., has implemented a strategy that managers hope will double the size of the company over the next five years.

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How to maximize rebates on lighting upgrades

June 2, 2016 | By Josh Kurtz

If you are considering a lighting retrofit, chances are you're already aware that tax incentives and rebates are available, and you're counting on them to shorten your ROI.

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