Articles


Filter Content

Poor inventory management: The hidden profitability killer in manufacturing

October 10, 2016

Perfectly accurate inventory records will help you improve turns, which frees up cash; improve customer service, because you know what you have when a customer calls; increase shop productivity, because material will be available when needed; and increase profitability, because you won’t be writing off inventory that isn’t there.

Continue Reading


Flow and the metal fabricator: Making it visual

October 10, 2016 | By Chad Vincent

When communication is visual, we see together, know together, and therefore act together.

Continue Reading


R&D Update: Evaluating lubricant using the cup drawing test

October 10, 2016 | By Cliff Hoschouer, David Diaz Infante, Frank Kenny, Jeff Jeffery, Taylan Altan, Ph.D.

Lubrication plays an important role in sheet metal forming by affecting metal flow and reducing the possibility of fracture during forming. A number of tests are used to evaluate lubricant performance, including the strip draw test, the twist compression test, and the cup drawing test.The cup...

Continue Reading


Die Science: The basics of troubleshooting die problems

October 10, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

In my career as a consultant, I have experienced numerous die-related problems. Some were complex, and some were easy to solve. But most were solved by following basic die design and troubleshooting guidelines. For a stamping die to function properly, you have to follow three basic die design...

Continue Reading


Marketing for metal fabricators: Don’t pitch, educate

October 10, 2016 | By Bruce McDuffee

A fabricator’s marketing function shouldn’t be about tradeshow booths, brochures, and websites. It’s not there simply to serve the sales function. Instead, marketing reinforces a fabricator’s value proposition and, ultimately, helps drive the direction of the business.

Continue Reading


Ask the Stamping Expert: The 10 laws of die design

October 10, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Q: Can you provide me with some guidelines for die design? A: When it comes to die design, I find there are two best practices to live by: Follow Tom Vacca’s 10 Die Design Laws. Use a die design continuous improvement check list. Following are my 10 Die Design Laws. Look to the...

Continue Reading

Hammering out the return on investment in safety

October 7, 2016 | By John Peabody

The first step in making the case for a return on investment on safety equipment and training is understanding the real costs associated with accidents and illnesses that occur as a result of the workplace environment.

Continue Reading


Uncover the hidden costs of roll forming

October 6, 2016 | By Patrick Kitchen

Tooling is of course a significant cost driver in roll forming. But reducing costs takes more than scrutinizing the number of passes a roll formed cross section requires. It also calls for looking at the big picture and questioning the status quo.

Continue Reading


5 factors driving the punch/laser cutting machine investment

October 5, 2016 | By Brian Welz

Does a punch/laser combination system make sense for your operation? For the answer, consider these five factors: part geometry; process throughput; lean manufacturing; process flexibility; and automation.

Continue Reading


Precision sawing: Mind the miter

October 5, 2016 | By Richard Klipp

Miter cutting tube and other workpieces can be extremely critical, especially when dealing with frameworks and other large assemblies. One seemingly small error in a miter cut can throw a large assembly significantly out of tolerance. This is where automation and precision control in sawing come into play.

Continue Reading


A look at laser hybrid welding in the automotive industry

October 5, 2016 | By Herbert Staufer 

Laser welding is a great process for delivering high-speed joints with a small heat-affected zone, but it requires consistency in gap size. Gas metal arc and tandem welding, on the other hand, handles those inconsistencies in gap size much more easily. Combining the processes has proven to be a manufacturing success for some automakers.

Continue Reading


Robotic welding in a small shop

October 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

TnL Welding, Sidney, Ohio, is a two-person operation with four robotic cells. Todd Whitt is the welder with the talent for getting automation to work smoothly. Kristen Whitt is getting her B.S. degree in welding technology by learning tips and tricks from her dad.

Continue Reading


7 tips for optimizing your fabricating operation

October 5, 2016 | By Shane Strowski

There’s always room for improvement in any operation. Following these seven steps can help you identify areas that need improving and put your shop on the path to optimal efficiency, increased productivity, and less waste.

Continue Reading


The evolving bending-to-blanking ratio in metal fabrication

October 4, 2016 | By Dustin Diehl, Scott Ottens

How many lasers and punch presses do you have? How many press brakes? Determining the best ratio isn’t as straightforward as it once was. It’s a puzzle that must be looked at holistically. The trick is discovering which pieces fit best for your operation.

Continue Reading


Sheet metal blanking milestone: Continuous-feed laser blanking launches into production

October 4, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Earlier this year Worthington Specialty Processing, a toll processor serving the automotive industry, among others, installed a continuous-feed, coil-fed laser blanking line. An idea with roots in the 1990s has finally become reality.

Continue Reading