Shop Management Articles


Filter Content

Fabricators and their power hammers

June 2, 2016 | By Jeffrey Dean

Power hammers are pieces of equipment that hark back to the earliest days of metal fabricating. Today’s power hammers allow fabricators to lean on the technology, not purely on brawn, to deliver the shaping blows. While power hammers are not found in many precision sheet metal shops, many operations do employ them. In fact, they are a key part of the operation.

Continue Reading


Growth strategies for fabricators

May 26, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

Many small businesses grow quickly in the early years, but eventually growth hits a plateau. Big gains in additional growth come from gaining new customers or acquiring another company. In Going to Market, a presentation at The FABRICATOR®’s Leadership Summit, Lisa Wertzbaugher, sales and marketing manager for fabricator Superior Tube Products, discussed a four-part strategy for expanding the company’s sales, revenue, and profitability.

Continue Reading


Don't lose track of the latest design updates

May 23, 2016 | By Dan Davis

The goal of forward-thinking fabrication shops is to be closely involved in a customer's supply chain, where perhaps it participates in part designs and design for manufacturability activities. If a shop is to be an active supply chain partner, it needs to be able to stay on top of engineering change orders and part design discussion. Cloud-based product life cycle management software can help.

Continue Reading

Continuous improvement: Do you have a handle on flow

May 23, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

Manufacturing is all about flow, both of physical products and information. You can plan for good flow. But if you let it evolve on its own, you will be dealing with the waste and efficiency that evolution creates.

Continue Reading


Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Comparison of two animation tools for creating walk-through tours

May 23, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reviews methods for creating walk-through animations. The use of a camera following a path is discussed.

Continue Reading


Moving beyond the traditional coordinate measuring machine

May 12, 2016 | By Dr. Jan Antonis

Coordinate measuring using robust camera technology means that fabricators may no longer have to construct jigs or learn programming software to conduct quality checks of parts.

Continue Reading


Metal fabrication on the move

May 9, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Koester Metals Inc. conquered its growing pains after the recession. It moved to a new facility to follow demand, improved and formalized training, and invested in new technology.

Continue Reading


Do you manage scrap properly?

May 2, 2016 | By Thom Romer

A metal fabricator checks incoming raw material before signing off on it. Doesn't it make sense to pay as much attention to the material leaving the facility? The potential return on the effort suggests "yes."

Continue Reading


Tennessee metal manufacturer ramps up research

April 27, 2016 | By Tim Heston

MECO, a metal manufacturer in east Tennessee, has a history both in product line and contract manufacturing. Moving forward, company leaders consider R&D the key to future growth.

Continue Reading


Shop technology and 3-D CAD: A review of animation tools to improve the work flow for moviemaking

April 18, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reviews methods for creating animations. The use of dedicated software is discussed.

Continue Reading


Saying “yes” to complex projects has benefits

April 14, 2016 | By Bryan Elmore, Edward Dunn Jr.

Fabricating operations interested in taking on more complex projects now have additional motivation: The R&D Tax Credit is permanent and could pay off for those companies involved in solving manufacturing problems.

Continue Reading


Big-league metal fabrication

April 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In September 2015 contract fabricator BTD expanded to the Southeast with its purchase of Impulse Manufacturing. The deal hints at just how scalable custom metal fabrication may be.

Continue Reading


FMA Annual Meeting: Navigating into metal fabricating’s future

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis, Tim Heston

This year’s FMA Annual Meeting, held in San Diego in February, celebrated the technology companies need to compete and the worker skill shops need to sustain that success through the generations.

Continue Reading

Demand variation: Challenge or opportunity in custom metal fabrication

April 4, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

For custom fabricators, demand variation is a fact of life, but this doesn’t mean that a shop can’t mitigate its effect. Lean consultant Jeff Sipes describes several options that can help make life easier, even for shops that deal with extreme shifts in demand.

Continue Reading


What brings youth to the sheet metal business?

March 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

How can a fab shop bring talented youth into the fold? Two members of FMA’s Young Professionals’ Council tell what sparked their interest--and it isn’t what you might expect.

Continue Reading