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Roy Mackey

Art for art's sake

February 10, 2014

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Metal sculptor Roy Mackey took a long, circuitous route to become an artist, and occupies an unusual niche. With no specific art classes or vocational education in his background, he learned metalworking bit by bit, and spends quite a bit of his time making sculptures that are realistic, but too unusual to represent real objects.

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laser photonics

Laser photonics meets shop floor pragmatism

February 10, 2014

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Pragmatism rules the day at Directed Light, a job shop focusing on a wide range of industrial laser applications, from UV to far-infrared.

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stamping

How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014

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At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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small diameter tubing

Taking big strides with small-diameter tubing

February 3, 2014

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After 60 years in business, Superior Tube Co. Inc. found itself at a crossroads. The recession of the early 2000s had taken a toll on U.S. manufacturing, and many companies feared the growing threat from newly industrializing, low-wage countries. The company’s management came up with a strategy to update its manufacturing practices, upgrade its equipment, and prepare its workforce for the challenges associated with global competition. The result, compressing about 15 years’ worth of changes into just two years, has propelled the company forward and earned it the 2014 TPJ Industry Award.

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robotic welding

Robotic welding issues and challenges

February 3, 2014

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Thanks to intuitive teaching, which eliminates the need for highly skilled programmers and saves valuable job setup time, robots now are making inroads in small job shops.

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crimped wire

Creating art that inspires thought

February 3, 2014

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Las Vegas metal artist creates abstract contemporary pieces that make viewers think and let him sleep.

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precision sheet metal

Professionalism in precision sheet metal manufacturing

February 3, 2014

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How does a small western Michigan fabricating shop evolve into a key metal parts supplier to some of the most demanding OEM customers in the world? It is committed to lean manufacturing principles and has made strategic investments in new fabricating technology, but most of all, it has engaged employees that are comfortable with changes that come with continuous improvement efforts.

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Days in the lives

January 30, 2014

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To find time to dedicate to continuous improvement activities, a metal fabricator should have a good idea what employees do every day before assigning additional tasks.

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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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Charles Caristan

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014

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Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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step file

Your friend, the STEP file

January 30, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the STEP file and how it can be used to interact with customers in a more complete way.

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crimped wire

The basics of crimped wire

January 30, 2014

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Precrimped woven wire mesh is a smaller part of the metal fabrication world, but it does have a significant presence in some industrial applications. This overview explains just how the mesh is created and gives metal fabricators an idea of the basic crimp styles that are available.

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FABTECH 2013

FABTECH breaks records—again

January 28, 2014

The manufacturing sector appears strong for the near term. New technologies are emerging to help make fabricating a more productive exercise. Fabricators have positioned themselves to grow. All appears right in the metal fabricating world.

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Bending basics

Bending basics: Why profound-radius bending is a different animal

January 27, 2014

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Large or profound-radius bends are those in which the inside bend radius exceeds eight times the material thickness, but is still too small to move to the plate roll. At this point, a press brake operator has to change his mindset before proceeding. This is not a typical bending job.

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Digital GMAW

GMAW in the digital age

January 27, 2014

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Arc performance and electrical efficiency have driven various advances in inverter-based welding power sources. These improvements have led to present-day digital welding systems that allow for repeatable, high-precision, low-spatter welds on a variety of materials.

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