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Lean manufacturing

Using technology to implement lean manufacturing

June 12, 2003

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Lean manufacturing is more than a buzzword. It is key to improving a company's floor performance, customer responsiveness, and, ultimately, its bottom line. Yet few manufacturers truly understand what it takes to implement the concept.

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What's that material?

June 12, 2003

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Many alloys—stainless steels, HASTELLOY®, INCONEL®, INCOLOY®, MONEL®, duplex and superduplex alloys—are similar in appearance and easily mixed up after mill test reports (MTRs) and heat stamps are removed in material processing. These mix-ups can have serious consequences to the end user, including product rework, factory downtime, or premature product failure. A single mistake may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in materials and labor to correct. In addition, any loss of consumer confidence resulting from shipping incorrect material carries incalculable costs.

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Batter up! Turning an aluminum tube into a baseball bat

May 29, 2003

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The roar of the crowd, the shouts of the umpire, the crack of the bat hitting the ball—these are the unmistakable sounds of a baseball game. Over the last few decades, however, one of those sounds has changed; now the bat tends to make a distinctive, resonating ping. It's the sound of aluminum rather than wood making contact with the ball.

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Making your own punch and dies

May 29, 2003

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How many times have you looked through huge piles of blueprints for a prototype part or short-run job and thought, "If only I had that tool, this job would be a piece of cake?"

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Defibrillators—Should you have one in your workplace?

May 29, 2003

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This article explores the facts about AEDs, the legalities surrounding their use by laypersons, and guidelines for implementing an AED program in the workplace.

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Art From the Forge

May 29, 2003

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Those of you who are busy fulfilling commissions for gates, fences, staircases, and the myriad items that keep food on the table might want to look at artwork created by people whose backgrounds are based in the arts. Metalworkers often are so tuned to traditional designs that they are unaware of a swelling modern movement that could generate new ideas, new visions, and new clients.

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Robots and dials and knobs—oh my!

May 29, 2003

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In the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy wanted to find a way to join heavy aluminum structural sections used to fabricate motor torpedo boat hulls.

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Spinning your wheels?

May 29, 2003

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Grinding wheels used in welding and fabrication are strong, tough tools, but many in the industry have called them "rocks" or "stones," implying that they're unbreakable.

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Handling the rush

May 29, 2003

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Think delicate: an antique vase, velvet gloves, the sweet sound of string music. Then imagine a typical stamping operation: bam-bam, metal on metal, all day long.

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Getting it Straight

May 29, 2003

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Before coiled material can pass through a die to produce an acceptable part, it must be straightened. Coil straightening is accomplished by bending a strip of material around sets of rollers that alternately stretch and compress the upper and lower surfaces so that the material's yield point is exceeded.

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Don't be a hot dog with heating heads

May 29, 2003

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Some call them rosebuds, others call them multiflame heating heads, and a few call them heat sticks. No matter what you call torch attachments, this article is a frank discussion about these tools that use oxygen and a fuel gas to make a lot of heat quickly. When used properly, they can make quick work of many heating jobs.

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Automotive motives - Tips for cutting per-piece prices for automotive customers

May 29, 2003

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Today's automotive industry is more competitive than ever. To compete with the European, Mexican, and Asian markets, the U.S. market must become more aggressive in finding ways to cut costs.

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10 questions to ask about equipment leasing

May 29, 2003

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Equipment leasing—an arrangement in which a business pays for the use of equipment but does not own it—is growing in popularity for many reasons. Benefits of leasing include flexibility, convenience, and protection from having to be responsible for equipment obsolescence.

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Predicting the service life of galvanized steel

May 29, 2003

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Zinc, which has been used to hot-dip-galvanize steel for 250 years, provides 50 to 75 years of corrosion protection in many environments. Empirical data collected about hot-dip galvanized (HDG) steel field performance from 1940 to 1980—in environments ranging from industrial to marine to suburban—indicates that zinc can prevent base steel corrosion more than other surface treatments. Because of zinc's long-lasting protection, projects require no maintenance and therefore no maintenance costs.

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Job shop reduces costs, improves laser's output

May 29, 2003

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Today's job shop market is characterized by unrelenting competitive pressure for laser processing services. Job shops are expanding into niche services such as multiaxis laser processing and thick plate applications to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Others are performing additional services such as forming, welding, painting, and assembly to add value.

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