FMA Communications Inc.

Dan Davis

Editor in Chief
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107

MVEs: More valuable employees

April 18, 2014

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Drew Greenblatt firmly believes that Marlin Steel, Baltimore, is only as successful as the talented crew that works on the shop floor. That's why the company's management team has created a Skills Matrix, ensuring that the shop always has someone who can stand in and perform the job of someone else.

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Fabricating next-generation workers

April 11, 2014

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A lot has been made of the fact that manufacturers can’t find the right workers. The issue is explored nicely here. But what can’t be denied is that fewer manufacturing workers exist, from almost 14.3 million in 2004 to just over 12 million today. Two major recessions within a 10-year span and... Continue Reading

Life with a fiber laser

April 7, 2014

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Accrotool Inc., New Kensington, Pa., had a 1,500-W laser cutting machine from 2001 that needed to be replaced. A fiber laser was deemed the perfect choice for the shop’s cutting chores. However, to be successful, the company’s management discovered that a new mindset was needed to accompany the new technology.

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Political roadblocks

April 4, 2014

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The dysfunction that exists in Washington, D.C., is proving to be a real drag on the economy, and manufacturing leaders are starting to view it as a major impediment to successful economic expansion. In a recent survey of almost 500 CFOs of small and midsized industrial manufacturers, 83 percent... Continue Reading

The need for speed to market

March 28, 2014

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I’m not a big NASCAR fan. Cars were never a passion in my family. They were a tool for getting people from point A to point B. Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve gravitated to a couple of cable television shows that involved refurbishment of older cars. On “Wheeler Dealers” on... Continue Reading

Sacándole la vuelta 
al desbarbado de la parte punzonada

March 24, 2014

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El poner a alguien a desbarbar partes conforme salen de la punzonadora puede ser un esfuerzo costoso y tardado. Sin embargo, algunas sugerencias podrían ayudar a los fabricantes a reducir o eliminar este paso del todo.

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The benefits of off-site training

March 20, 2014

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When it comes to training events, many metal fabricators don’t think about seating assignments for trainees, but they might want to think about it. My brother works in the manufacturing industry. I won’t say exactly what he does to spare him a little embarrassment—if that’s even... Continue Reading

Paying a heavy price for purchasing only on price

March 13, 2014

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You don’t have to remind me just how difficult the metal fabricating business can be. I get reminded almost on a daily basis. On this particular day, I received an e-mail from a reader who works in the purchasing area for a large OEM. He was looking for a reference that would give him an idea... Continue Reading

Better organization of assembly templates

March 3, 2014

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KSM Industries Inc., Germantown, Wis., found success building rack mounts for power equipment, but as the business grew, the number of templates did as well. The company needed a better organization plan other than putting the templates on pallets, hoping to find them when they were needed again.

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As unionization shrinks, so does the pipeline for talent

February 21, 2014

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Last week autoworkers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., voted down a proposal to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Fifty-three percent said “no” to the idea, even though Volkswagen did not actively oppose or support the vote. While the automaker may have tried... Continue Reading

Not your typical supply chain assistance

February 14, 2014

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David Tilstone, president, National Tooling & Machining Association, is pretty certain precision metalworking shops across the U.S. need help. According to a 2013 NTMA survey of its membership, just over 70 percent have a job opening that they are having difficulty filling. At least a third have... Continue Reading

Realistic talk about jobs

February 6, 2014

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During President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in late January, he made a point to focus on the development of more advanced manufacturing institutes, also called “hubs.” The idea is that these hubs would focus on advanced manufacturing technologies and possible commercialization... Continue Reading

What gets you excited about metal fabricating

February 3, 2014

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As I was watching the weather last night, the meteorologist mentioned that Chicagoland had already experienced the third most subzero-degree days in one winter, according to records that go back more than 140 years. That’s pretty depressing, considering that it’s not even February. So as the... Continue Reading

precision sheet metal

Professionalism in precision sheet metal manufacturing

February 3, 2014

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How does a small western Michigan fabricating shop evolve into a key metal parts supplier to some of the most demanding OEM customers in the world? It is committed to lean manufacturing principles and has made strategic investments in new fabricating technology, but most of all, it has engaged employees that are comfortable with changes that come with continuous improvement efforts.

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Charles Caristan

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014

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Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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