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12 tips to improve your value stream maps

October 20, 2014

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Value stream mapping can be a tool to help identify and eliminate waste, but it’s easy to get lost in the details. These tips will help you keep your eye on the big picture, to ensure your VSM remains an effective tool for continuous improvement.

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Fabricating the future, layer by layer

October 20, 2014

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Additive manufacturing is changing fundamental concepts of design, engineering, and production. As part of this, metal additive processes, including powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition, are allowing industry to fabricate metal products in entirely new ways.

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Keeping safe while bending parts fast on a press brake

October 20, 2014

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Customers want parts right away, and newer laser cutting technology is producing parts quicker than ever before. If a fabricator wants the bending department to keep up, it needs press brakes that can bend parts quickly. Even with the increased bending productivity, however, fabricators don’t have to sacrifice safety.

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Part-time job brings full-time satisfaction

October 17, 2014

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After a career in welding and fabricating, Charlie Wolfe is semi-retired and working 25 hours a week at the local community college. However, his network of friends is vast and his reputation as a go-to guy for one-off projects and repairs is sterling, so he’s actually busier now then he was back when he worked 40 hours a week

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In-die indeed

October 17, 2014

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Take stamping production to its limits—and beyond—by taking advantage of in-die and inline capabilities afforded by state-of-the-art servo technology that integrates additional operations into the stamping process.

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Metal fab fortifies TV treehouses

October 16, 2014

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Pete Nelson, show host and treehouse builder on Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters, sought help refurbishing and fortifying a bridge stairway, and support foundation of the first two treehouses he had built on his original property for his own children. Building the treehouses had launched his successful treehouse-building business, Nelson Treehouse and Supply, Fall City, Wash. Nelson’s creations—and their design and build—is the subject of the wildly popular show. How does a man fortify a weather-beaten treehouse? The answer, my friend, is fabbing in the wind. Metal fabricator Architectural Elements stepped up to help.

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Sales and operations planning meets contract fabrication

October 16, 2014

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O’Neal Manufacturing Services, one of the country’s largest contract fabricators, has implemented a strategy called sales and operations planning, or S&OP, a process designed to improve not just sales forecasting, but the entire enterprise.

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Putting the finish first

October 16, 2014

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R & B Wagner, Milwaukee, has had a primary role in the construction industry for more than 100 years. From its early days as a blacksmith shop, the company has grown to become a designer and manufacturer of handrail components and systems; a contract manufacturer for OEMs; and a first-rate finishing company, providing top-notch polishing services for other fabricators and manufacturers. Manufacturing Operations Manager Kane Behling and President Rick Kettler shared the company’s story with Editor Eric Lundin.

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Improving metal cutting productivity

October 15, 2014

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“Benchmark Survey of Industrial Metal-Cutting Organization,” by the LENOX® Institute of Technology, identified three areas that fabricators need to focus on to improve efficiency and productivity in sawing operations.

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Global shifts in economies make U.S. manufacturing significantly more cost-effective

October 13, 2014

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For decades U.S. manufacturers looking to increase profits and remain competitive have moved plants and jobs offshore. Changing global economics have made doing so much less attractive. The U.S. is gaining cost advantages as other regions lose theirs.

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Plasma and oxyfuel: A productive combination

October 13, 2014

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Gaining flexibility to match individual plate fabrication requirements using both mechanized oxyfuel and plasma cutting can make plate cutting far more efficient. As these technologies advance, fabricators can produce their parts smarter, faster, with the highest quality, and at lower cost. Regardless, the choice to use these technologies on separate machines or on one system is as individual as the application requirements.

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How 2 green lubricant-makers landed on auto OEMs’ A-lists

October 13, 2014

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Gain insight into the arduous process of getting the official stamp of approval as a supplier to the automakers by reading how two green lubricant suppliers landed on the A-list.

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Weld shop 101

October 13, 2014

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According to the American Welding Society (AWS), there will be a shortage of approximately 290,000 welders in the U.S. by 2020. Education doesn’t fall on the shoulders of just high schools, community colleges, and technical programs, it also rests with industry professionals who have the space, equipment, and the expertise on staff to demonstrate the best practices. Arming educators with this information will only help make the next generation of welders that much stronger. For those of you who are in areas where getting hands-on training for industry leaders isn’t possible, here are a few questions educators tend to ask.

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Arc Welding 101: Negatives to whipping and weaving

October 9, 2014

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Q: When using GMAW on carbon steel materials 1/8 inch thick or greater, we use a whipping technique that you have described as a bad work habit. What are the negative effects of whipping or weaving?John S. A: As with many welding techniques, there is a time and place for everything, even whipping...

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Arc Welding 101: Sorting out SAW

October 8, 2014

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Q: What is the procedure qualification test for manufacturing pipe using submerged arc welding?Sandesh P. A: Pipe is manufactured by one of these four methods: electric resistance welding (ERW)/high-frequency induction (HFI) welding, seamless (plug/mandrel mill and extrusion), spiral welding, and...

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