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Credit crunch not going away soon

July 10, 2009

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I had a conversation a couple of months ago with a friend who is a manufacturing representative for several metal fabricating companies. The guy is sharp and runs the business as a one-man operation. He's busy and invests in software tools that help him keep track of deliveries and expedite...

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Nowhere to hide

July 9, 2009

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Over the past 10 years or so, the big and growing fear among manufacturers has been the steady, unrelenting intrusion of globalization. One pundit described it as economic Darwinism, a nowhere-to-hide environment in which firms that are flexible, adaptable, and aggressive overtake those that...

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die speed limiting factors

Designing speed-friendly dies

July 9, 2009

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Usually the first place stampers look to reduce cost is the labor burden per part, which leads to the inevitable pursuit of producing parts faster. The speed capability of a stamping die is determined by how fast the part physically can be produced and at what speed the tooling fails. The strength of the carrier, how high the part must be lifted, and the mechanical limits of the springs and side action cams (mandrels) limit how fast the tool can run.

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roll forming multiple gauges

Roll forming multiple gauges with precision

July 8, 2009

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Compensating for gauge changes in precision roll forming doesn't necessarily require significant investment. Spaces, the use of gauge spacers, and other technique can help when roll forming parts of multiple gauges.

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A recession takes no prisoners

July 7, 2009

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It seems Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star hit a chord last week.Two metal fabricators in Morton, Ill., southeast of Peoria, changed ownership on the same day: Friday, June 26. Morton Welding, previously owned by Michigan-based BHM Technologies, was brought back under local ownership by a...

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welding shortage

Back to school with robotic welding

July 6, 2009

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Northwest Iowa Community College decided nine years ago that it would commit itself to leading the way in welding technology education. That commitment has not changed as the school recently replaced its 16-year-old robotic welding cell with a Robotic Education cell provided in conjunction by Lincoln Electric and FANUC Robotics.

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nesting software

Software evolves to take a humanlike approach

July 6, 2009

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Nesting software has evolved to the point where it can "see" shape contours and can determine how they best fit together.

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laser gas delivery system

The hidden costs of laser cutting gases

July 6, 2009

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Gases for laser operations can be a significant factor in keeping costs down.

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Beware the business books

July 2, 2009

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Got a note the other day that the FMA's Research Assistance Center acquired a new book that might be of interest. It's The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten. The book provides brief reviews of...

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The pressure is on

July 2, 2009

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The traditional method of measuring pressure distribution in stamping operations—the die spotting blue technique—reveals the pressure points without actual pressure readings, making it difficult to balance in relation to other die components. A thin, flexible, Mylar-based sensor film that instantly captures and permanently records pressure distribution and magnitude between any two mating or contacting surfaces has emerged as an alternative to traditional pressure testing.

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matrix metalcraft laser cutting

Nontraditional fabricator chasing nontraditional markets

July 2, 2009

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Matrix Metalcraft, Clinton Township, Mich.,has done plenty of prototype and production work for the automotive industry in the past, but with the downturn in the industry, it is targeting industries aligned with alternative power generation for new business. In doing so, it has found out that its laser cutting capabilities will serve those efforts well.

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bepeterson precision operation

Rolling it just so

July 2, 2009

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Contract manufacturer BEPeterson takes tight roll-bend tolerancing to the extreme: some cans are rolled to +/-1/32 inch on the circumference.

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SHRM: Though still weak, labor market may offer more opportunities for job seekers in July

July 2, 2009

Hiring expectations for July are still far behind the levels of one year ago, but compared with the first few months of 2009, a growing number of companies in the manufacturing and service sectors are...

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How 'green' is 'green'?

July 1, 2009

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This blog post is rooted in a discussion my husband and I had yesterday regarding a news item I ran across about a 'green' race car that runs on vegetable oil and waste chocolate. I get vegetable oil, but where on earth does waste chocolate come from? Godiva, Ghirardelli, Hershey, Fannie...

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gtaw poor gas coverage

The GTAW top 10

July 1, 2009

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Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) often is specified to meet strict aesthetic, structural, or code/standard requirements. The process is complex, and it is undisputedly the most difficult of all the welding processes to learn. The appearance of a GTAW bead can tell you a lot about what you're...

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