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thefabricator.com is the digital home of The FABRICATOR magazine, the metal fabricating industry’s foremost authority on manufacturing technology. Technical articles, case studies, and company profiles from The FABRICATOR and its sister publications, Practical Welding Today, The Tube & Pipe Journal, and STAMPING Journal can be found on this site. Additionally, thefabricator.com has a team of subject matter experts that write exclusively for the website, covering topics such as welding skills and metal forming basics.

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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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Steel prices look to be creeping up in the near term

June 14, 2016 | By John Packard

The U.S. has placed duties on several types of steel imports, and the domestic steel companies have idled plants. That means supply sources are slowly tightening. Increased demand by the domestic industrial base could push steel prices higher.

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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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Die Science: Fundamentals of drawing

June 8, 2016 | By Art Hedrick

Columnist Art Hedrick goes back to basics about drawing, offering a comparison of drawing and casting, an explanation of flow and control.

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Ask the Stamping Expert: Five essential stamping rules for component designers

June 7, 2016 | By Thomas Vacca

Over the years I have received many requests from readers asking for suggestions and advice for particularly challenging stamping applications. Some of the issues can be addressed through creative tool design; some can’t. Some stampings by design make it virtually impossible to satisfy all the...

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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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A big leap into big tube cutting

June 2, 2016 | By Tim Heston

If Richards Sheet Metal Works had taken the conventional path, it would have invested in a new flat-sheet cutting laser, especially considering its 5-kW workhorse was more than a decade old. But Richards isn’t a conventional metal fabricator. Today it has one of the largest tube cutting lasers in the country.

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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.

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Staying safe during deburring and grinding

June 1, 2016 | By Ingo Heiland

Certain potentially dangerous situations can be avoided on the shop floor with automated deburring and grinding technology.

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No experience necessary

June 1, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

A fed-up masonry contractor from Scottsdale, Ariz., closed his business, taught himself how to weld, began sculpting in metal and bronze, and now happily makes a living as a metal artist.

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Drive systems, automation, and flow: a press brake evolution

June 1, 2016 | By Marcel Fiedler, Paul LeTang

Over the years press brake machines have undergone three big changes: how the machines are driven, how they are automated, and, finally, how parts flow through them.

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