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Management matters

April 11, 2006

Creating a sound workplace is good not only for your business and your employees, but for society. When it comes to labor costs, the U.S. cannot compete with China and India. Our only chance of remaining competitive is to work more effectively and efficiently and to develop new innovations continually.

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Auto show lessons

April 11, 2006

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The North American International Auto Show held in Detroit is a stage for automakers to display their latest and greatest; it also serves as a harbinger of what's coming at suppliers over the next few years.

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Getting autobody welding down cold

April 11, 2006

Volkswagen's automobile manufacturing facility in Saxony, Germany, was spending more time and effort on post-weld finishing operations than it wanted to, but because of the requirements the company was dedicated to meeting, not much automation was possible. Through its research, Volkswagen decided to invest in cold metal transfer welding, which helped the company save time and effort while keeping up its product quality.

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Home-court advantage

April 11, 2006

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A company bid and won a contract from a company who was previously sending its work to Mexico. The company bought a computer-controlled pipe cutting machine to automate the process and cut lead times.

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Stamper, prototyper, assembler, or fabricator

April 11, 2006

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Newspapers and business magazines are filled with stories about offshoring, layoffs, and plant closings. Quasar Industries, a prototyping and low-volume production shop near Detroit, has bucked this trend and recently increased its manufacturing capability when it purchased a new building. A diverse fabricator, the company provides tooling development and also does stamping, laser cutting and welding, robotic welding, tube fabrication, and machining. The company's client base includes the automotive, appliance, and aerospace industries, among others. But all the equipment it has and processes it performs don't make it successful. Its success is a result of its employees' expertise and its corporate culture.

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Roll bending a wind tower with a three-roll bender

April 11, 2006

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Three-roll bending with a variable axis offers an advantage over four-roll bending for bending conical sections in that it allows for a good leading edge and rolling without having to lift the plate to pivot it with a bridge crant.

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Bernie and the jet

April 11, 2006

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Jay Leno's car collection, housed at the Big Dog Garage in Burbank, Calif., is not meant to collect dust. These cars are to be driven. Bernard Juchli is in charge of that, and now he has a waterjet to help him fabricate hard-to-find or non-existent parts and to keep the cars on the road.

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Metalfab: All that glitters is metal

April 11, 2006

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Lights. Camera. Fabricate?! You get home from work after fabricating all day, kick back with a cool one, and turn on the tube just to see more metal fabrication, on-screen, as entertainment. If it's not "American Chopper" or "Monster Garage," it's "Biker Build-Off," "Monster House" or "American Hot Rod." What's the fascination with fabrication? Do shows like these put a new spin on the image of metal forming and fabricating? Have they inspired younger generations to consider metal fabricating as a profession? Why have TV producers zoned in on these types of shows?

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American Fabricator

April 11, 2006

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How do you get to Hollywood? Ride a motorcycle when you're 3 years old, start welding at 8, and rebuild a car engine at 9—if you want to be the lead fabricator on American Chopper, that is, one of the most popular metal fabrication-as-entertainment reality cable TV shows airing on the Discovery Channel. Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. Teutul are the highly visible father-son pair usually featured in the media. But it is Vincent DiMartino who is the fabricator behind the bikes, the muscle behind the biceps, the grin behind the guns. Vinnie surmised that the automated waterjet from Flow Intl., Kent, Wash., is probably the most sophisticated equipment he uses, and that much of what he fabricates for the choppers is cut on OCC's waterjet.

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Fastener insertion technology moves ahead

April 11, 2006

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Technological advances have turned simple press brakes and punch presses into productivie systems, now accepted as the norm for keeping fabricators competitive. Fastener-insertion machines are now incorporating many of those same advances to provide better quality and productivity and to eliminate bottlenecks as they work with the other technologically advanced fabricating machines in the shop.

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Die Basics 101: Part VII

April 11, 2006

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Previous articles in this series focused on stamping dies and production methods. This article discusses stamping materials—both ferrous and nonferrous.To process, design, and build a successful stamping die, it is necessary to fully understand the behavioral characteristics of the specific...

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Magical, mystical metal

April 11, 2006

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Richard Wilson's metal art reflects his appreciation for metal's lesser-known intrinsic qualities. This article explains how Wilson became a welder and metal artist and describes the materials and processes he uses. It details one project from start to finish. It also offers insight into the future of the welding labor force from Wilson's perspective as a welding instructor and manufacturing consultant.

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How to perform tack welding successfully

April 11, 2006

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Tack welding, a necessary preliminary step in many welding projects, must be performed correctly to achieve optimal results from the final weld and to minimize part defects. Quality is as important in tack welding as it is in the final weld. This article describes proper tack welding conditions.

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What do you monitor to ensure quality?

April 11, 2006

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Most manufacturers measure or test parts to verify that the parts meet quality standards. This conventional approach is time-consuming because testing adds steps and time to the production process. Furthermore, it is only as good as the sample size. A different approach to quality is to use a strain monitor to measure strain on the machine's frame. Comparing the strain with a reference (measured when the machine was known to be producing good parts) is a way to monitor the production process, and it doesn't require extra time or steps.

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Processes for hydroforming sheet metal

April 11, 2006

Part three of a three-part series on sheet hydroforming, this article reviews the SHF-P and SHF-D processes.

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