August 16, 2013
Welcome to the wonderful world of stability. At least that’s how many metal fabricators see their business. In the inaugural Forming & Fabricating Job Shop Consumption Report from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, 43 percent of fab shops surveyed indicated that the business...
August 9, 2013
Metal fabricators don’t have a lot in common when trying to compare one job shop to another. The same goes for the customer segments they serve—with one major exception. Most don’t, and have no desire to, work with the automotive industry. That’s quite the statement given the desire of...
August 9, 2013
In the early 2000s, Innovated Machine & Tool Co., Newport News, Va., tried a robotic press brake for a bending job and found that it worked out well--for that job. Unfortunately, when the contract ended, so did the useful life of that robotic press brake. Since then, the shop hasn't had to worry about machine obsolescence because its panel bending technology is helping it stay on top of all sorts of bending work.
August 1, 2013
In the Japanese language, monozukuri means "the way something is manufactured." Japanese fabricators realize that it is the means by which they consistently make quality parts and keep ahead of international competitors.
July 25, 2013
“We don’t think one size fits all. It depends on the application,” said Al Bohlen, national sales manager, Mazak Optonics Corp., to a crowd of fabricators attending a seminar during the company’s Laser Technology Days event in late July. The days of a fabricating shop owner deciding he...
July 12, 2013
After multiple e-mails from readers over the past couple of months claiming that our constant referencing to the skilled-worker shortage is a disservice, I figured it’s best to come clean. They are right. It’s not a skilled-worker shortage; it’s a...
July 12, 2013
Any fabricator that has had to wrestle with large panels or thick plate in a press brake has to wonder if something can be done to make the job easier. In many instances, specialized tooling can help.
July 11, 2013
What happens when new owners of a metal fabricating business find out that they have to improve the shop's welding performance or risk losing its biggest customer—in the first week they take over the business? They have frank conversations with employees, find the root cause of the problems, install new processes to ensure quality, and ramp up training so that everyone can deliver acceptable welds on a consistent basis.
July 8, 2013
Artisan Industries Inc. began life as a metal former in Streetsboro, Ohio, but like other stamping houses, it recognized the need for diversification. Since jumping into the fabricating business, the company has found itself constantly evolving to become a one-stop shop for its customers.
June 21, 2013
The discussion moderator of Strengthening Manufacturing Education: An Experience Summit in late June posed a question that sums up the battle to replenish the ranks of retiring manufacturing workers: “How do we get young people interested in a career in welding?” The question was focused on...
June 13, 2013
Got a culture clash in your metal fabricating operation? That’s a terrible situation, because if the workforce is unsatisfied with their environment, their negative attitude is probably carrying over to their work. More than likely, that then affects the customers of that fabricating company....
June 3, 2013
When John Force Racing took most of its manufacturing operations in-house in the early 2000s, the focus was on controlling quality and lead time. However, it didn't have a quick-response fabricating tool for 2-D cutting. It has since found that tool with its new waterjet
May 31, 2013
As I was walking in from the parking lot this week after giving blood, the driver of the bus that is used as a mobile blood collection center asked if he could walk in with me so he could use the restroom. He knew he needed someone to buzz him into the building, and I did just that. As I showed...
May 23, 2013
With every conversation I have with a metal fabricator, I become more convinced that the companies left standing after two recessions within a 10-year span are primed to survive in this very competitive global economy. In essence, they have survived because they are the fittest. In the wake of the...